CHATTANOOGA — The Tennessee Baptist Mission Board’s mobile dental clinic will soon be ready to roll across the state.
The mobile clinic, a gift to the TBMB from Brentwood Baptist Church, Brentwood, is a fully equipped dental office on wheels, said Garry Maddox, a member of Brentwood who participated in the church’s dental ministry for many years.
“It basically houses two fully functioning dentist offices,” Maddox said. “It can be used for X-rays, fillings, cleanings and extractions.”
The clinic was displayed at The Summit: A Gathering of Tennessee Baptists in Chattanooga, Nov. 13-15. TBMB anticipates it will be ready to launch in June 2024.
As part of a partnership agreement with TBMB, Brentwood donated the clinic and sufficient operating funds for one year. TBMB is developing a process for churches and associations to request the clinic, said Beth Moore, TBMB’s director of compassion ministries.
“Brentwood realized that the clinic could benefit churches across the state,” Moore said. “We see it as a catalyst for churches and associations to enhance compassion and outreach ministries in their communities.”
Churches and associations must provide their own dentists, hygienists and other volunteers, Moore explained.
“The clinic is not a ministry of TBMB,” Moore said. “The clinic is a ministry of Tennessee Baptist churches. TBMB will come alongside churches and associations to facilitate its use.”
John and Kaye Thomas, long-term Tennessee disaster relief volunteers and members of First Baptist Church, Sevierville, toured the clinic during the Summit. They were encouraged by the possibilities the clinic provides.
“We could do this!” Kaye said. “There is a need for dental care in our area.”
Kaye explained that most of the growth in Sevier County is in the service industry, where the work is done by minimum wage workers. Many can’t afford dental.
“We have the space,” Kaye said. “We could set this up in our parking lot.”
With the ink barely dry on the partnership agreement with Brentwood and title to the clinic transferred in early Nov. 2023, TBMB anticipates that the clinic will be ready to launch in June 2024, Moore said.
If you are interested in staying up to date on news, volunteering or hosting an event at your church or association, please visit tnbaptist.org/dental and complete the appropriate form. B&R — Lovell has written about Baptist work for more than 25 years. She and her husband, Joe, live in Columbia and are members of the Church at Station Hill.