They’re open to hearing the Gospel. They’re willing to hear the Gospel. And there’s a great need for the Gospel to be shared.
Those are the words of Tracy King, lead pastor at Truth Fellowship Church, a church plant in downtown Roanoke. On May 3, this plant had the help of dozens of SBC of Virginia Executive Board members and staff to love on its community.
“Our convention is about connecting churches and connecting churches with people and sharing the Gospel,” said Pastor Tim Hight, chairman of the board. “It’s wonderful that we can do this for Tracy.”
This outreach event featured feeding units set up to provide food for nearly 400 people, as well as inflatable rides and games for children. The best thing that came out of the event was having 20 people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior after hearing the Gospel preached.
“We’re just seeing God do some great things in people’s lives,” shared Pastor Tracy. “People getting saved, getting baptized, becoming a part of church, lives changing.”
Ministry work is nothing new to the pastors who volunteered to help, but this event was the first of its kind for the SBC of Virginia Executive Board members as they gathered for a couple of days of meetings at First Baptist Church in Roanoke.
“It’s the power of partnership,” said Dr. Brian Autry, SBCV’s executive director. “It’s churches working together…to proclaim the Gospel, make disciples, and reach out to this community like all communities that near to hear about Jesus. Often an open door will come when we share the love of Christ by doing something fun like this and meeting some needs.”
The Executive Board meeting, held May 2–3, highlighted stories of how God is working through His people in ministries like church planting, Disaster Relief, and international outreach. Places like Nepal, Greece, and Barcelona are familiar places to SBC of Virginia churches. Over the last year, hundreds of volunteers have followed God’s calling to serve in these locations to help and share the Good News.
At the board meeting, a new initiative called Virginia Global Response (VGR) was introduced. Through VGR, the SBC of Virginia will connect churches with the SBC and other Gospel partners to streamline relief efforts. For the last few months, churches have been serving refugees from the Middle East and North Africa along the Greece-Macedonia border by providing hot tea, food, clothing, and a chance to hear that God loves them. (Learn more about this new ministry on page 35.)
The Executive Board also received some encouraging data at its May meeting:
- Since the 2015 Annual Homecoming in November, 12 churches have requested partnership and affiliation with the SBC of Virginia.
- Annual Church Profile data from 2015 reveals an increase in the following areas since 2014: baptisms up by 3.3% to 6,896, memberships by 2.0% to 227,134, and weekly worship attendance by 3.4% to 125,010.
- Since October 2015, 8 new church plants have launched, 6 new small groups have begun, 13 church planters have been approved, and 6 church planter apprentices have been approved.
- For the first time, SBCV churches in 2015 gave above and beyond the Vision Virginia Missions Offering goal:
Churches gave $274,225 to surpass the 2015 goal of $250,000 by $24,225.
The board unanimously approved the 2017 Vision Virginia goal to be set at $350,000. This is a $75,000 increase over the 2016 goal of $275.000. The increase will help support additional ministry work like Virginia Global Response and church planting efforts. The board also approved a $3.5 million goal for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.