Summer ministry efforts bloom in the 45

Published 4:52 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2023

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Summertime represents a break for some schools and other organizations which take advantage of time for employee vacations, planning, and regrouping during the “dog days” of June and July. But for ministries and congregations like Imago Dei, Church at the 45 summer months provide the perfect time to reach into their communities to serve residents and share the love of Christ.

The Southern Baptist church plant which meets in Hayneville on U.S. Highway 80 broke ground June 9 on a building project which will eventually house meeting space and educational classrooms.

“We will build a pole barn and wall in space for classrooms, a kitchen, and worship space,” said Imago Dei pastor Davey Lyon. “We’re going to have a pavilion and we plan to do worship under that as much as possible.”

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The idea, Lyon explained, is to provide the community with a view of the actual church – its people – outside of the building used for worship.

“We want to be outside,” Lyon said. “I want the community to ride by and see the church, not the building. The church is the people. We’ve got people who tell us they don’t have ‘church clothes’ but that doesn’t matter. My prayer is that this will break down some barriers between the Lord and people who want to have a relationship with Him.”

Once complete, the new structure will include a rolling stage which can be used inside when needed and shifted outdoors when weather permits. A future playground area and space for programs and activities will help the young church become the heartbeat of its community, Lyon said.

“We want to give kids and older people a place for food, fun, and fellowship,” Lyon said. “But above all, we want every opportunity to meet people, to share the gospel, and to disciple [them].”

Community Vacation Bible School (VBS) programs, which the congregation takes out into communities by way of a mobile classroom, are helping the church create those opportunities. Lyon said the church hosted VBS in White Hall on June 26-28 and in Collirene on July 10-12, teaching Bible lessons, playing games, and sharing the message of God’s love with an average of 80 children and adults each evening.

The congregation is growing, Lyon said, and leaders are focusing on discipleship, hosting women’s and men’s group meetings and building relationships in the community.

As part of those efforts, the church employed two Central High School seniors, Demarcus McCord and Miles Gary, to help with VBS events and provide community service at nearby Jackson-Steele Elementary School.

“They’re helping us with VBS and spending the rest of their time at Jackson-Steele Elementary, helping Mr. [Willie] Williams with whatever he needs,” Lyon said.

Williams, who is the school’s custodian, said the young men are working to clean floors. Like most teenagers, Williams said McCord and Gary require direction, but are helping him with much-needed projects over the summer break.

“We are working on the floors right now,” Williams said. “They are coming every day and helping us get some things cleaned.”

“Most days we get together and do a devotional,” Lyon added. “It’s a good opportunity for me to pour into these guys as well.”

Lyon said the congregation continues to work in the community, with the goal of loving their neighbors and sharing God’s message of salvation.

“When we get the building in place we will be in a position to invite in kids we are building relationships with,” Lyon said. “We don’t have the space or people right now, but we are continuing to work in the community. It’s our prayer that once we get the building, that will open a door to create many more opportunities to meet and love on our neighbors.” 

The church will host another VBS event at the Mosses Housing Authority July 17-19. Community members are invited to join them each evening starting at 5 p.m.