Rooted in Evansville; Blooming Everywhere
Last week, we had a press release video on our Facebook page describing our new initiative: “Rooted in Evansville; Blooming Everywhere.” We were overwhelmed by the positive encouragement we received from viewers from all throughout our denomination and outsiders. We are honored to have the opportunity to serve our Lord in this capacity.
In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells His disciples about the importance of witnessing on His behalf to those geographically surrounding them and far away. That same mandate is still true today. At Garvinwood Church, we do not take that mandate lightly. As a result, we recently increased our focus on those in our geographical area and throughout the United States and across the world. We have named this initiative: “Rooted in Evansville; Blooming Everywhere”. There are multiple elements for this initiative. To find out more about this, visit facebook.com/Garvinwoodchurch or on a Sunday at 10:30. Our messages are initially designed to preach the Word of God and relate to ourselves, our families, our community, and our country and world.
We know there needs to be a focus on both insiders and outsiders. The first part of this new initiative is: “Rooted in Evansville”. We celebrated our 104th birthday as a church last weekend. We have been in Evansville, serving the Garvinwood neighborhood for a long time. In the very beginning, the church building was literally built around a tree. The words “Rooted in Evansville” mean a lot to this congregation. It means that we focus on our heritage, those roots of that tree from many years ago. This slogan means that we get life, a vision and purpose, from those around us. Being rooted somewhere means the things occurring around you truly matter. This is an accurate depiction of our congregation. Here is how this initiate changes things or brings things to a more accurate depiction of who we are. We have many plans for the next couple of years of how we can do our part to work with families within the neighborhood and help them grow. These families will grow by being more established within themselves, their family unit, and their community. This initiative will include a van to help build more community within our neighborhood. Service and reward trips for the youth within our congregation will allow us to do our part in helping them grow. We also plan to build a covered court within the community for church and community use.
Those projects may be further down the timeline, but there are two parts of this initiative that are happening immediately. This Christmas we are prayerfully preparing a service on December 18th to show our community God’s love in a practical way. We are preparing over 150 age-appropriate Christmas gifts. Each Christmas box will have multiple items, including The Story, which is the Bible in novel format. With over 1 million sold, this book is very applicable for those with limited knowledge on the subject of Christ. This is our immediate project of how we will be “Rooted in Evansville”. Through mailings, doorhangers, and personal invitations, we will invite our area to show the people living here God’s love.
This Christmas outreach is how we will reach those relationally and geographically close to our congregation. We will truly be rooted in Evansville by doing our part to work across denomination lines within the city to be Christians in the community. Through public trainings hosted at our facility, personally helping projects at other churches, among other things, we will be doing together what could never be done alone. Not only will we bring families in the neighborhood together, part of this initiative is also to bring our congregation together. The year 2017 will represent the first year we have had a photo church directory in 20 years. This will allow us to know others better and welcome newcomers into our family by allowing them to know who everyone is.
The next portion of the initiative, “Blooming Everywhere” also has many different parts. It starts where the last portion ended. We will work to build connections with pastors and congregations in the areas surrounding Evansville to do what we can to work together. Along with working together with other churches, we plan to open different “campuses” (different facilities within driving distance that have the same mission, vision, and values as the original site) in surrounding areas within the next five years. As Jesus mentioned to His disciples, we need to start where we are, then move slightly out. Our church connections and future church campuses will exist in the counties that immediately touch Vanderburgh County. We will also mix our “Rooted in Evansville” and “Blooming Everywhere” initiatives by hosting missions events. We are in an association of churches in Evansville that host a large missions event in March that attracts individuals from churches all across the tri-state. We, as an individual church, had our first annual missions event this year over the summer. We too had several individuals from four three different states that raised a large amount of money and support for four missionaries.
The next way we are “Blooming Everywhere” is by our newly established annual trips to help new and recently opened General Baptist Church plants across the U.S. Our most recent mission trip to help Refuge Church in Cookeville, TN consisted of 13 students from the youth group and four adult leaders from our church. Along with serving our neighborhood and our country, I will be taking trips with General Baptist International Ministries once a year to do evangelical trips to one of our foreign fields. I will be taking other leaders from across the country to experience these life changing adventures. This is another way how we will connect both of these parts together. These trips will eventually, in the next five-seven years will lead to us planting our first international campus with the help of our General Baptist missionaries. We will provide all financial elements to help start a new church. This church will be a part of us and use expertise and cultural experience of nationals. It will function at a higher level because we will be doing together what could never be done alone.
Similar to our “Rooted in Evansville” portion, the aforementioned items will exist at a later date. We do have an element that will take place immediately. For every new page “Like” we receive for our Facebook page from Thanksgiving 2016 to Christmas 2016 we will donate $2.16 to our “Blooming Everywhere” campaign. This has great potential to help many people all across the world. Our hope is to build an infrastructure of individuals within our area to truly be “Rooted in Evansville” while we also financially donate to the “Blooming Everywhere” portion of the campaign.
So that’s it. The big things ahead. We would love for you to join the conversation and help us promote this new initiative on Facebook. Please share our posts and invite friends to “Like” our page. Remember, for every new “Like” our page receives from Thanksgiving to Christmas, we will donate $2.16. We look forward to doing together what could never be done alone.