Mike is the Director of Missions for the Richmond Baptist Association. I wanted to tell him about our mission to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, and to ask for his partnership.
It was a good lunch, at a great little place called Garnett’s, but as we talked I surprised myself with my passion. “A church has to have a clear understanding of its mission,” I said, banging the table for emphasis, “and its mission can’t be its own survival.” I told him I believe that attendance and giving are a by-product of doing what Jesus has asked us to do and cited several examples.
One of those was Tabernacle Baptist Church, right here in the Fan, where my friend Sterling Severns is pastor. When Sterling came church attendance was under 100 people on Sunday mornings. Now it’s double that. Why? He says it’s because they embraced Burmese refugees who were moving to Richmond, helped them get established here, and invited them to church. Thanks to Baptist missionary efforts in that part of the world years ago, many of those refugees were already Christian, and eager to find a church home. By showing radical hospitality to these Burmese brothers and sisters (remember they didn’t have much of anything and didn’t speak English), Tabernacle has been transformed into a vibrant, mission-centered, community of Christ. Attendance and giving are on the rise, but only because attendance and giving are not the point.
I told Mike that I had invited Sterling and Tabernacle to partner with us on our mission trip, and wanted to ask RBA to do the same. Mike was happy to say yes. The Richmond Baptist Association is already deeply involved in bringing heaven to earth in Richmond. There are three community ministry centers in the city and every summer hundreds of kids leave the city to spend a week breathing the fresh air and enjoying the great outdoors at Camp Alkulana.
I’ve listed the community ministries of the Richmond Baptist Association below. I welcome the RBA as a partner in our mission of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia.
CHURCH HILL CHRISTIAN WELLNESS CENTER
(located in Mount Tabor Baptist Church)
2011 Fairmount Avenue, Richmond, VA 23223
Rev. Glinda Ford, Community Missionary
OREGON HILL BAPTIST CENTER
(located in Pine Street Baptist Church)
400 South Pine Street, Richmond, VA 23220
Rev. Jennifer M. Turner, Community Missionary
SOUTH RICHMOND BAPTIST CENTER
(located in The Saint Paul’s Baptist Church South)
700 East Belt Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23224
Rev. Wesley R. Garrett, Community Missionary
111 Camp Alkulana Road, Millboro, VA 24460
Mrs. Beth Reddish Wright, Camp Director
RBA Office: 804-329-1701 ext. 206; firstname.lastname@example.org
Camp Phone: 540-997-9444 (June-August)