SHOREWOOD, IL – A staggering 2 million lost people live in the Three Rivers Baptist Association (TRBA) area of the Chicago suburbs. And Dan Eddington, director of missions for TRBA, cares deeply for all 2 million of them.
He cares about their lives, their families, their spiritual and physical needs and especially their eternal destinations. His concerns led Eddington to develop the “We Care Campaign,” a ministry effort he hopes will demonstrate to nearby communities how much he, the association and God, cares for them. He said the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) current partnership with Northern Illinois will likely be much of the driving force behind it.
“It’s a church-starting campaign,” Eddington said. “We are asking our partnered churches to go into unreached communities, say for example, one week out of the summer for two years, and do community projects and random acts of kindness, the specifics depending on the actual needs of the community.”
Eddington said the key purpose of “We Care” is to reach out and connect with a community on a personal level long before a church planter ever steps onto the field.
“All the work a partnership mission team would be doing, whether it’s cleaning a park or washing windows for the elderly, all of it would be under the ‘We Care Campaign’ premise, hopefully even done while wearing ‘We Care’ T-shirts,” Eddington said. “If a team were to come two years in a row, it would show the community that we are a people of peace and promise and we would have good rapport with them so that, when a church planter comes in later with the same ‘We Care’ foundation, he would be able to build on what the mission teams have already done.”
The campaign stems from the overall goal to revolve new church plants within a 10-mile radius of the association’s established, healthy churches. TRBA has identified its healthy churches and the communities that are in need of churches; sending intentional mission teams to these areas is the next step.
“Missouri Baptists are instrumental in helping us connect the dots and reach the 102 communities that are in need of churches,” Eddington said.
For more information on how to partner with Three Rivers Baptist Association in Northern Illinois, contact Rick Hedger at 573-636-0400 ext. 620 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KAYLA RINKER / contributing writer