By Ashley Perham
Baptist & Reflector intern
MEMPHIS — City Reach provides an opportunity for churches to partner with each other no matter their size. Last month in City Reach Memphis, a 60-attendee church plant from Murfreesboro helped a 60-year-old church in the heart of Memphis. That same week, a large missions-minded church from Franklin helped a tiny church plant in a seemingly hopeless Memphis neighborhood.
Living Water Church, a six-year-old church in Murfreesboro, spent half of the week working at Leawood Baptist’s Judgement House. The Judgement House is an evangelistic tool to reach teenagers in the area. This was the church’s first mission trip, said Micah Creekmore, pastor.
Even though only about 60 people attend Living Water, 11 people were able to come on the mission trip, including some that had been baptized in the last six weeks.
Annette Humphrey, who was saved the weekend after Mothers’ Day, came with her grandson, brother and mother.
“What I’ve seen here so far, there’s just a lot of love coming out of this whole thing,” she said.
Rick Morris, Humphrey’s brother, said that one of his goals on the trip was to see someone fully embrace Christ. It was also his first mission trip.
“When Brother Micah first mentioned the possibility of a mission trip, it was just immediately God put something on my heart that said I needed to go,” he said.
Along with helping in the Judgement House, the team was also set to evangelize the area and perform random acts of kindness.
“Mission trips are a part of what we ought to be doing, so hopefully this will inspire them to … continue to do more mission trips, not just at home, but [to] get a taste of what the gospel is all about: going and sharing,” Creekmore said.
Meanwhile, in another part of the city, Oak Valley Baptist Church from Franklin, had a team of 34 people working at Binghampton Community Church.
“Our church is very mission-minded, misson-involved,” said Jerry Winfield, pastor. “This is a tradition that they’ve had for a number of years to do a domestic mission trip.”
The church was involved in City Reach Knoxville a few years ago.
This trip, the team was involved in remodeling a building on the church’s property to be used as a community gathering space.
Shun Abram, pastor of Binghampton Community Church and director of City Reach Memphis, said that he wants to use the space as a coffee shop where the community can feel welcome and where people who have been involved in trauma can work it out “at the feet of Jesus.” One example he gave was using the shop as a meeting place for a group of mothers who had lost sons to gun violence.
Along with the service team, there was another group of adults and youth working at a Christian Community Center day camp in a nearby apartment complex.
Winfield pointed out the benefits of City Reach for his church, including that the trip was not too far for a lot of people and that the community was still out of people’s comfort zones. He also pointed out that mission trips are an opportunity to work across generational lines.
“This is just a way that they can get away from our community and go someplace that has different circumstances, a different way of life. It broadens their understanding of what it means to be on mission,” said Winfield.
Abram asked for prayer for workers to come to Memphis. “We’ve had some people decide not to come to Memphis because of what you see in Memphis. They see the news. People say, ‘You know what, not going to make that one’,” he said. “You need to pray about that one, and if God calls you, you need to go. If God tells you to stay, do not come to Memphis, man, do not come.”
Abram also asked for prayers of encouragement for those working in the area who are around discouragement all the time.
He pointed out that the projects in Memphis were not just for the summer, but year-round.
“There may be so many churches that may not understand the amount of work that really needs to be done to impact a community, and we’re here to help those churches to understand,” he said. B&R