By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
MOUNT JULIET — When an unknown driver ran off the road earlier this year and crashed into the side of the mission house on the property of the Missions Mobilization Center (no one was hurt), Mark LeMay didn’t have to look far to find a repair team.
LeMay, properties management specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, called John Coleman, pastor of New Bethlehem Baptist Church in Dyer.
“I contacted John because he led the group that bricked the MMC mission house when the house was remodeled several years ago,” LeMay said. “John graciously agreed to put a team together to do the work,” he added. While there, the team also constructed brick columns for a new security gate to the MMC.
“When Mark told me about the damage to the mission house we were glad to come and help out,” Coleman told the Baptist and Reflector.
“Folks from New Bethlehem Baptist and other churches are part of the Baptist Bricklayers for Christ,” Coleman related. “This group has bricked churches all over the United States and we bricked the mission house (at the MMC, not the WMU mission house),” Coleman added.
The pastor noted that the team no longer bricks churches because so many of the members are now in their 70s and 80s. “We do, however, take on small jobs and try to share the love of Christ through this ministry,” he said.
The team that came to the MMC in June included church member Glynn Reynolds who has been involved in the bricklayer team since its inception.
Coleman said church members are eager to serve others, whether it is laying brick or serving in disaster relief.
“When I became pastor at New Bethlehem in 2000, I encouraged our people to become involved in disaster relief. We started a chain saw team and off we went,” he recalled.
Coleman said the team has been all over the South responding to hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms. In addition, the pastor has taught chain saw certification in many churches throughout West Tennessee.
“Because of our love for disaster relief we were quick to accept the job of building and stoning the columns at the MMC,” he said.
“Our people have servant hearts and we believe in missions. We believe in giving (through the Cooperative Program, the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, plus local missions as well) and we believe in going.
“Sometimes that is just going down the road to build a handicap ramp or maybe going to Africa to help build a water source or going to Jamaica to teach VBS or going to Brazil to evangelize and make disciples,” Coleman continued.
“We are all called to use our gifts and talents to advance the Kingdom and to bring glory to the Father. We just want to help and do our part,” the pastor said.
LeMay is grateful for New Bethlehem’s efforts at the MMC. “The team saved the TBMB thousands of dollars in labor costs,” he estimated.
LeMay said volunteers are often needed either at the MMC or the Tennessee Baptist Conference Centers.
Teams looking for missions projects can contact LeMay at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what projects may be available.