KANSAS CITY – As the school year approached, River’s Edge Fellowship here reached out to their community with a “Back to School Bash,” Aug. 4.
During the event, the congregation – which is a Missouri Baptist church plant near Raytown – provided food for participants and gave them school supplies and backpacks, as well as hosting an open-air movie night for children in the area.
“We’re always looking for ways to engage (the community),” Travis Yeargans, pastor of River’s Edge Fellowship, told The Pathway. In fact, not only did the church host this “Back to School Bash,” but it also partners with local schools for their “Watch D.O.G.S.” program (D.O.G.S. is an acronym for “Dads of Great Students”). Through this partnership, men from the church help at the school throughout the day and provide role models for the students – many of whom don’t have godly men to provide leadership in their own families. During the “meet the teacher night” at the school, they also hold a tailgate party to bless the community and the teachers. Additionally, the church’s youth minister oversees an after-school Bible study at the local middle school.
But River’s Edge Fellowship’s efforts to engage their community go beyond the schoolyard. The church also provides a successful Vacation Bible School program each summer, organizes community block parties throughout the year, and ministers in low-income apartment complexes in the area.
Yeargans testified that, especially during their early years as a church plant, River’s Edge Fellowship was able to grow and make a difference in the community because of the generosity of Missouri Baptists giving to the Cooperative Program. But the blessing of Missouri Baptist cooperation didn’t only involve funds, he added. The cooperative nature of Missouri Baptist mission efforts also give a young church plant partners in ministry – people that a church planter can call for advice, help in garnering resources, support. And, of course, prayer.
Yeargans asked Missouri Baptists to pray that God will send experienced leaders to their church who are ready to “hit the ground running” in the ministry, as well as to raise up new leaders among those whose lives are being transformed through the church’s ministry.