STANTON — The volunteers at the recent BlueOval City luncheon in Stanton were not all Tennesseans.
Texas and Illinois were also represented at the event, which served lunch to 1,100 workers at the Ford plant on April 14.
Dan Tice, associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Palestine, Texas, was among those who made the trip to Stanton for the luncheon. The journey was one of the initial steps in what he believes will be an on-going partnership with Tennessee Baptists for the BlueOval initiative.
More than a dozen Baptist churches — along with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board and Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief — served at the event.
Tice said his church has just finished a partnership with First Baptist Church in Orion, Ill., and they are now looking to become a part of a new “project.” Tice found out about the BlueOval opportunity on the TBMB website.
“I started exploring it and got in touch with Danny Sinquefield, and he put me in touch with some of the local pastors (in the Stanton area),” said Tice.
“From there, we really liked what we saw and we started moving in the direction of joining in and doing our part. There are two other churches around Palestine that want to come and partner with this, too, and I think there will be more to follow after that.”
Jerry Higdon — associate pastor of FBC, Orion, Ill., (the church that recently partnered with Tice’s church) — also made the long trek to Stanton.
Higdon came by himself, but said, “Next time, I hope to have about a dozen others with me. Under the partnership with Palestine, we hope to help out some of the little churches here in this community.
“We’re not ready to plant a church, necessarily, but we will certainly get behind that and also try to strengthen the churches that are here,” said Higdon. “We are really looking forward to being a part of this great endeavor.”
Higdon said he is looking forward to being able to offer assistance to other churches after being on the receiving end of similar support over the past three years.
“When I started the re-plant church in Orion, about five years ago, I put a message on the SBC pastors page that we were looking for some used Bibles,” he said. “And from that, the church in Palestine connected with us — and they ended up partnering with us and helping us out for next three years. Now, we have committed to continue their mission of helping other churches.
“So, basically, what this amounts to is churches helping other churches,” he said, and then added with a laugh, “What a crazy idea, right? I think I read someplace that maybe this is how it is supposed to work.” B&R