LEBANON– It is a common practice for Americans to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when the time changes each spring and fall. For one church, this has become a chance for them to share Christ’s love with the community.
For the third year in a row, members of Faith Baptist Church have taken part in their “Energize Your Community,” outreach on Nov. 6. The morning before Daylight Saving Time ends, the church canvasses Lebanon neighborhoods to give away a free 9-volt Energizer battery along with a magazine-style copy of the Gospel of John.
Faith Pastor Matthew Sheckles said the outreach began as an idea that emerged out of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) office.
“The battery outreach is one of those ideas that fit our community needs and our church DNA,” Sheckles said.
“Faith Baptist Church is a small congregation with a God-sized vision of loving God and loving each other. With that in mind, what better way to demonstrate that love principle in our community than to put feet and hands to Luke 10:27: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’”
Sheckles said many people see Christians as judgmental, which goes against what Scripture teaches.
“The world seems to know what we are against better than what we are for,” he said. “Offering a free battery to remind people of the importance of life energizes a conversation toward the ‘why am I here question’ and allows them to open themselves to the receiving of the Gospel of John and possible life change.”
The outreach has proven to be a popular event, both for church members and for the community.
“This is my favorite thing of the year,” said Cheryll Hart, a member of Faith. “People actually know we care. If they don’t know that we care, they are never going to believe that we love them and they are never going to understand the sacrifice that was made for them.”
After the first year, the church received a letter of thanks and a check from someone in the community who wanted to make sure the battery ministry continued.
“We knew from the start this was a God thing, and He was making sure we had enough money to continue for the next year,” Sheckles said.
Nearly 20 members of the church took part in the event, from small children up. Members of the church’s REFINED Student ministry also participated and some found the event to be good evangelism training.
Quinton Ashburn, 12, was at first hesitant about knocking on doors, but soon found the ministry opportunity exciting.
“I am learning to step outside of my comfort zone,” Ashburn said.
Sheckles said getting outside the four walls of the church is essential for the body of Christ.
“The Gospels teach us of a Savior who wasn’t afraid to interact with the world and show them the good news of salvation. You can’t do that if you’re always sitting in a cushioned chair,” Sheckles said. “To be the church, we must once again put feet to the church.”
Derek Gean/contributing writer