By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
BYRDSTOWN — Many members of Etter Baptist Church in Byrdstown will be doing some legwork in their efforts to increase the church’s giving through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions.
Acting on the priorities of its missions-minded congregation, the church will host its third annual “Golden 5K” race at the Obey River Campgrounds at the Sunset Marina on Nov. 4. All of the proceeds from the race go to the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions.
Brandie Storie, the WMU director at Etter Baptist and the event coordinator for the race, said the annual 5K is an opportunity to raise both awareness and money for the GOTM.
“This is a great way to get people involved in something fun, and also to inform them about the work that is being done by Baptist missionaries,” said Storie. “Our primary goal for this event is to show there are ways that you can assist the Golden Offering and support our missions programs in Tennessee.”
Participants can pre-register online for $25 or can register on the day of the race for $35. Those who pre-register will receive a T-shirt. More information on the race can be found on Etter Baptist’s Facebook page.
The event had 44 participants last fall, which was a sizable increase from the previous year. Storie is anticipating the field will include well over 50 runners and walkers this year.
Storie hopes the event will have the two-fold purpose of serving as a fellowship for believers and also an outreach to the unchurched in the Byrdstown community and beyond.
“Everyone is invited,” said Storie. “We’d love to have other churches, and really, just anybody who’d like to participate or be involved.”
Many of the race-related needs and necessities are provided or donated by members of the church or the community, thereby keeping the cost down for the church and allowing for more money to be given to the GOTM. The race-day T-shirts, for instance, are provided by a local sponsor.
Storie said giving to missions is simply a part of the fabric at Etter Baptist.
“We have a church that really has a heart for missions,” said Storie. “As long as I’ve been attending Etter Baptist — and that’s been 16 years — we’ve always given to the Golden Offering. We also give to Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong and the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes. And we have our Father’s Day offering that goes to the Tennessee Baptist Adult Homes.”
Etter Baptist puts a special focus on the GOTM during the month of September, educating its members on the offering’s importance and how the money is used.
The concept of having a 5K run to support GOTM came about during a brainstorming session in which several church leaders were trying to come up with creative ways to raise missions awareness.
Though they originally thought about a Mud Run, which is a 5K race with obstacles, they decided on a regular 5K run, Storie said.
Storie said the 5K event is a great bonding opportunity for the church — and not just the running enthusiasts in the congregation.
“We have several church members who don’t run or walk in the race, but they volunteer for other things, like working the water stations or things like that,” she said. “It’s just a great way for our entire church to come together and help our missionaries.”
Storie said those involved with the race come away with far more than just a T-shirt.
“The location that we have is such a beautiful place, and it’s just a great time to be outside and to see what God has created,” said Storie.