Churches deliver important message

Published 9:58 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2016


In Luke’s account of Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven, he tells of the last words Christ spoke to his disciples, when He told them “… you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

That passage, known among Christians as The Great Commission, is one that many churches refer to when they are commissioning missionaries to live among unchurched people groups in remote parts of the world. But sometimes overlooked is the command to witness to and serve people at home, as well.

A couple of Suffolk churches have taken the local message of The Great Commission to heart this summer, putting more than 150 volunteers to work serving the needs of people in their own city.

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The Serve Suffolk program was started three years ago by Southside Baptist Church, and this year that church was joined in the effort by Open Door Church.

In the past, volunteers have provided meals to members of the fire and police departments, they have cleaned up parking lots around the city and they have prayed with residents throughout the city.

This year, many of them have moved into schools around Suffolk to help with various light repair and renovation projects those schools might not otherwise have been able to afford to do, given the tight budgets the under which school system operates.

Throughout the week, volunteers have been working at Forest Glen Middle, Lakeland High, Booker T. Washington Elementary, Kilby Shores Elementary and Nansemond Parkway Elementary. Duties include landscaping, painting, cleaning classrooms and organizing libraries.

The days conclude at Planters Park, where the group holds a Vacation Bible School with activities and Bible lessons for dozens of youngsters who attend. A picnic at the park today will help participants celebrate what they’ve done this week.

At a time when the nation is desperate for people to show love for one another, these churches are exhibiting a most Christ-like characteristic: service. The message they deliver by doing so is just as important here in Suffolk as it is in any other part of the world.