Bismarck – The congregation of First Baptist Church here has been keeping busy. For the second year in a row, they participated in EPIC Outreach, a four-day community-wide ministry project.
As part of Epic Outreach, there were multiple yard projects completed throughout Bismarck, including tree removal, raking leaves and clearing brush. Homes were given face-lifts, with windows washed, gutters cleaned, power-washing performed, steps and hand-rails built. Two families were provided with roof repairs and another with a completely new roof.
There were blessings for people of all ages, from a hayride and Bible story for the community kids to visits to the elderly in homes and nursing homes, said Pastor Matthew Sheckles.
Approximately 75 workers ages four to 84 were involved in projects around the town. Some volunteers from other local churches participated, as well. The church was grateful for the helping hand that local businesses provided, he said. Materials were donated by ABC Supply Company, paint by Sherwin Williams and two days of labor provided by Gibson Quality Roofing.
The church got its inspiration for the project from a sermon Sheckles recently preached.
“Epic Outreach is based on the idea of mobilizing us for ministry. It’s about community over isolation; ministry over selfishness; people over possessions,” he said.
The church followed up Epic Outreach with its annual Battery Outreach program Nov. 2. The congregation canvassed the entire town, providing 500 replacement batteries for smoke detectors in conjunction with the time change. The Bismarck Fire Department helped with the distribution and provided assistance with installation upon request. To end it all, the entire community was invited to a free fish fry at the church that evening!
Those involved with the mission project shared their experiences from the previous day with the congregation during the Nov. 3 Sunday morning service.
“Outreach is for everybody,” said member Hank Gibson. “Everyone can do something, whether you work, give money, pray or visit someone. I guarantee, you’ll get back more than you give.”
“Our time is not our own – it’s God’s,” said Joe Jackson, another member of the church. “Every minute we have He gave to us, so we need to use each minute the way He would have us to.”