Lyons discuss missional living at ALWMU Connect conference
Published 7:33 pm Thursday, August 17, 2023
Davey and Amber Lyon are church planters serving Lowndes County through Imago Dei Church at the 45 since 2020. On July 21-22, the couple addressed over 300 Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (ALWMU) leaders at the group’s annual Connect conference and described a few of the many ways their family lives intentionally “on mission” to serve the community where they live.
The Lyons led a breakout session intended to help mission leaders understand the impact of Christmas backpack collections and distribution in Alabama. During the session, the couple highlighted how God enables them to use the gift-filled bags and other ministry opportunities to create relationships and ultimately pave the way for people to find hope in Jesus.
“I want to help you really understand the impact of backpacks in our community,” Davey Lyon told participants as he shared the background of the church’s startup and ministry.
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“Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are all created in God’s image,” Davey said. “Our heart is to see people as God sees them so that we can love them as God loves them. We want to do that through seeking the lost, through serving others, and making disciples who will do the same.”
In 2015, Alabama Baptist began collecting and filling Christmas backpacks and distributing them to ministries in the Mississippi River Delta region. The backpacks were meant to address poverty by supplying gifts at Christmas time while also opening open to gospel conversations, allowing missionaries like the Lyons to connect with and serve their communities. Over the last two years, Imago Dei’s congregation reached a total of 419 school-aged children with a backpack.The backpacks had the message, “God loves you and we do too.”
Pat Ingram is missions and ministry consultant with ALWMU and coordinates the annual conference along with the Alabama effort toward Christmas backpacks. Ingram said the Lyons were a perfect fit for receiving the backpacks because they care so much for the community they serve.
“The reason they request backpacks, and the reason we get them the bags is because they care so much for the people in the community, for the children in that community, and they want to help meet physical as well as spiritual needs there,” Ingram said. “They do such a good job of getting out into their community, of being involved. And this is just one more way that they are able to share God’s love with the community to which God has called them. The church is doing a great job, and we are just thrilled to be a part of that through Christmas backpacks.”
During the conference, the Lyons described the needs of Lowndes County to participants, telling them of the deep poverty and the need for believers to love people in Jesus’ name.
“We are in the Bible Belt where there’s a church on every corner,” Davey said. “But not every church building with a steeple contains a church. The church is the people. We’ve seen a lot the last few years. Churches have done a great job of going to the nations, but I think we have neglected going to our neighbor.”
Lyon described an encounter with a local woman the couple met early in their ministry. They met her at their monthly food giveaway and later visited her at her home. The young woman, just 27-years-old, described how she attended church with her grandmother but stopped going, then later visited a church where she learned the pastor was having an affair.
“She said, ‘If you’re telling me the gospel is about Jesus, that’s not being taught everywhere,” Davey said. “That’s just one example of what we have come to see as a great void of the message and modeling of the gospel. This isn’t 36 hours away in another country. This is right across the road, in your neighborhood and in your community.”
To date, Alabama churches have donated 73,000 Christmas backpacks. The fruit of those efforts is 414 known professions of faith in Christ as savior.
The Lyons and other volunteers minister to Lowndes County communities through backpack distribution, food giveaways, vacation bible school events, volunteering in local schools, mentoring students and helping in tangible and intangible ways so that people can see Christ’s love through their actions.
To learn more about the ministry, visit the Imago Dei Church at the 45 social media pages.