By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
CHATTANOOGA — Thanks to a unique form of outreach, Spring Creek Road Baptist Church in Chattanooga is experiencing new growth — in more ways than one.
With hopes of reaching the local area for Christ, the church created the “Community Garden of Life” last year by transforming a vacant lot into a vegetable garden. Over the past two summers, the garden has produced cucumbers, squash, corn, peppers, okra, zucchini, and other food.
The vegetables are distributed for free to members of the community, with special priority given to the underprivileged and those in difficult situations.
Some who have been reached by the ministry have now joined Spring Creek Road Baptist. More importantly, the garden has enabled the church to demonstrate the love of Jesus.
“The main reason (for this ministry) is that it opens the door to share the gospel, and it opens the door to giving eternal life to those in our community,” said Spring Creek Road pastor James Julian. “We knew that was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.”
The development and upkeep of the garden has been the joint effort of three churches, with members of Spring Creek Road joining together with members from Oasis Baptist and the Hispanic-speaking Por La Fe Baptist.
The churches have also gathered for baptisms and other services.
“To see these really diverse churches coming together, all three of them, to do this work is pretty incredible,” said Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. “They are doing it cooperatively. As Tennessee Baptists give through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, as well as through the Cooperative Program, we’re seeing some great work done for the kingdom.”
The unified efforts of the three churches has made an impact in the area, with Julian estimating that the garden ministry has reached roughly 100 homes and families.
“We realized that the three churches could come together,” said Julian, who has been at Spring Creek Road since 2005. “And together, we can do so much more for the kingdom than we were doing separately. We are having baptisms on a more regular basis because of the ministry opportunities that have opened up.”
Tony Anderson, the pastor of Oasis Baptist Church, said the ministry “has opened the eyes of the community” and has “shown that the churches are here to help.”
He said the ministry has provided an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ.
The garden continues to be an effective outreach, Jillian said.
“It’s been a tremendous blessing,” he said.
More information on the “Community Garden of Life at Spring Creek” can be found on the Spring Creek Baptist Church website at http://www.scrbc.com/community-garden-of-life-@-scrbc/index.html