Serve Tour projects demonstrate Christ’s love for Lowndes County

Published 4:39 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Nearly 50 volunteers from 79 churches and organizations from across twelve states partnered with Imago Dei Church at the 45 to accomplish projects in Lowndes County communities on March 10-11. The projects were part of the Southern Baptist ministry Send Relief, a missional experience designed to provide volunteers with opportunities to serve local  communities in Jesus’s name.

Imago Dei Pastor Davey Lyon said the effort helped the church reach out in love to surrounding communities, letting local residents see believers coming out to show they care by stepping outside the church walls.

“Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that we will be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth,” Lyon said. “Our Jerusalem is our local community. Judea could be a state or city over and Samaria is a people group who are not like us. For us to have mission teams come and do projects that we just don’t have the resources or manpower to do on our own helps us serve our Jerusalem. People [who came to help] wanted to serve in communities that are not their own, so they wanted to come serve alongside local churches and help equip them to serve their communities.”

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Over the course of two days, Serve Tour volunteers worked alongside community member to install new playground equipment at Jackson-Steele Elementary and Mosses Community Housing, to paint and hang sheetrock at Central High School’s fieldhouse, to build a pole barn for Imago Dei’s future site, and host a block party in Mosses.

Central Coach Corvin Johnson said the school’s student athletes helped with the work, an effort he noted helped to bring home concepts he and Lyon had worked to teach the youths.

“It kind of just really put things into perspective, like what life is all about,” Johnson said. “It’s all about giving back and helping even when there is no reward or anything to gain out of it. We were complete strangers to [volunteers] who traveled a good distance to serve and help us. Our players were there, shoulder to shoulder with them working. The students were amazed that strangers would come all that way just to help us.”

According to Montgomery Baptist Association of Churches Director of Mission Operations Robin Crowe, Serve Tour is a ministry of Send Relief, a collaboration of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) which provides a way for believers to respond to the needs of people in local communities and around the world.

“The Serve Tour, a ministry of NAMB, partners with state conventions, associations, and local churches to serve as catalysts for local missions within specifically selected cities and their surrounding neighbors,” Crowe said. “This is accomplished through compassion-based ministry projects that the local church identifies and supports within its community. Their works demonstrate the love of Christ.”

Throughout the year, Send Relief identifies communities with pressing needs and coordinates opportunities for volunteers to serve those cities in Jesus’ name. Montgomery and the surrounding area was chosen for a Serve Tour this year and five Lowndes County projects were selected as part of the effort.

“Churches and ministries throughout the River Region were asked to submit projects that they saw a need for in their community,” Crowe said. “The projects had to be accomplished within two days. Davey Lyon of Imago Dei Church at the 45 submitted five projects that were all approved.”

Pastor Steven Wright traveled with a group from Central Baptist Church in Americus, Georgia to participate in the Serve Tour.

“[Mission projects] are opportunities to literally be the hands and feet of Jesus,” Wright said. “As we look to serve potentially physical needs, we have an opportunity to share the gospel to ultimately touch the spiritual needs of those people. We enjoyed meeting new people, sharing a smile and a hamburger and telling them that Jesus loves them. We may have been planting a seed or watering [one already planted] but ultimately we know that Jesus is the one that changes lives. We just want to be part of sharing the gospel message.”