By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — Roughly 16 months since its launch, the City Reach initiative continues to meet its objectives: Creating gospel conversations and spreading the love of Christ through work projects, community outreach and, most importantly, prayer.
City Reach is a five-city missions ministry designed and implemented by the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. First envisioned by TBMB executive director and president Randy C. Davis, the ministry involves a partnership with the five metro associations in Tennessee — Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Clarksville — and was created as a means of reaching Tennessee for Christ by concentrating on those five major cities.
The City Reach initiative was launched in January of 2017, with Knoxville being the first “stop.” The focus then shifted to Nashville in 2018-19 and Memphis for 2019-20, followed by Chattanooga in 2020-21, and Clarksville in 2021-22.
City Reach Memphis Coordinator Shun Abram said he has seen God’s hand at work during this time.
“I see His glory,” said Abram. “The Lord has unified — and is unifying — approximately 180 churches within our association, and churches all across our state, to work together to reach every home in Memphis,” he said.
“Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation through prayer, evangelism, discipleship, preaching, teaching, training, and serving. May God, through City Reach, turn our city upside down for Christ.”
Although City Reach does include service projects — such as church restoration and other such manual assignments — the initiative is certainly not limited to those duties. In fact, those who aren’t proficient with a hammer or paint brush can still be effective in helping City Reach make an impact. Helping with Backyard Bible Clubs and other community outreach are vital parts of the mission.
“Some of the most important projects are prayerwalking, engaging each home with the gospel and discipleship, and construction projects,” Abram said.
“A heart of humility and dependence on God through prayer is the only way to plow up concreted hearts in our community: so that the seed of the gospel may transform their hearts and minds in Christ. Generations will be changed through sowing the seed of the word of the gospel from house to house,” he said.
These two photos show some of the work that is being done, and will be done, at First Baptist Church in Madison. The church is in the early stages of renovation of the sanctuary, and is seeking some assistance with drywall/plaster repair and painting. For further information, please call Mark Harvey, 615-987-5076.
What’s being said about City Reach Nashville
City Reach Nashville has made a major impact on Music City, and the initiative continues to build momentum as it heads toward its final stages this summer.
Below are just a handful of examples of how the ministry has made a difference in the lives of those who live in the Nashville community:
James Dean, Pastor, New Day Church, Nashville: “(Last summer), I was contacted by Mark Harvey with Nashville City Reach. Mark put us in contact with Sanford Hill Baptist Church in Henderson. They came to Nashville in June and prayerwalked in our community, wrote cards to families in a targeted neighborhood and printed materials for the church. Since that time, Sanford Hill Baptist Church — with leadership from Pastor Shane Connor and Scott Dunaway — have returned to help with a Saturday outreach project and provided some financial support. The state WMU meeting collected items for backpacks to be given out in elementary schools. Through the Nashville Baptist Association we received 50 of the backpacks. We shared 15 of these with another church plant and took the remainder to three elementary schools.”
John Wallan, Blazing Trees Ministry at The Flats on Nolensville: “(Last summer), we held our Mission VBS at The Flats. We were set up and ministering from around 4 p.m. until just after 8 p.m. The response from the community was fantastic and despite the heat of the day, 36 youth and children registered for the event. … We had almost our entire youth group from Bell Road Baptist Church on hand to help out with the event as well as over a dozen church members. James and Aiden Harvey came representing Blazing Trees and Covenant Baptist Church. We met many families from the Vistas and now have a list of names to pray over! We also recorded as many apartment numbers as possible to be able to follow up with these families.
James Harvey, Blazing Tree: (NOTE: James Harvey from Blazing Trees and Tim from One Life, two organizations partnered with the NBA’s City Reach mission, went prayerwalking on Tennessee State University’s campus). “We spent an hour walking around the campus praying for the students, faculty, and staff. We visited Greek row and learned about the history of the university and her African fraternities and sorority. We shared lunch in the student cafeteria and discussed next steps for this campus ministry. The Lord was clearly present and speaking during this prayer time, showing us His abundant love for all His children from all nations. He gave us a deeper love for this university and the students. We spent time at the outdoor amphitheater praying for spiritual awakening and revival on campus, and for future student worship services. We have some clear next steps from the Lord on who to follow up with to begin a companionship with people of peace.”
Mitch Mullenax, Pastor, Northwood Baptist Church: Southwood Baptist Church from Tulsa, Oklahoma spent the day with Northwood Baptist Church going through the community. There were 42 volunteers from Tulsa. They went door-to-door in the neighborhood, inviting people to church and prayerwalking. This then led to the Northwood BC WMU backpack event on July 29, when Northwood BC sponsored a community party. They had 30 new families from the community come into their church. Northwood ministered to them, passed out children’s school backpacks and blessed their neighbors. Pastor Mitch said our respect in the community has really grown because of this!
The City Reach teams in Memphis and Nashville have a long list of potential projects that are in need of volunteers (both individuals and teams) during the upcoming months. Those who are available to help with any of the projects below should contact Mark Harvey (at 615-987-5076) for more information.
DAY CAMP: Miracle of Redemption Baptist Church, Memphis, has a day camp for eight weeks over the summer. The camps will minister to children in the inner city from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. The kids will learn about Jesus, have tutoring, and many other various activities. Teams will also assist Miracle Redemption to engage their community with the gospel. They saw approximately 350 salvations and 47 baptisms in 2018.
JUDGMENT HOUSE IN JULY: Leawood Baptist Church, Memphis, is doing something unique this summer. The church will put on a Judgment House event in July. They will need actors, set constructors, and disciple-makers to assist with thousands of people who will hear the gospel and need follow-up.
PAINTING, REPAIRS, OUTREACH: Antioch First Baptist Church, Antioch, needs help with painting, cleaning, and repairs of an older building. The church would also like to do some block parties and evangelism in their neighborhood.
CHILD CARE: Begin Anew Baptist, Nasvhille, is looking for help with its children’s ministry and tutoring adults in high school equivalency. The church also needs help with some administration work, especially in the summer.
SUMMER OUTREACH: Bell Road Baptist Church, Nashville, needs help with international evangelism projects and children’s ministry. The church is trying to reach the international community at a nearby apartment complex. Help is needed with block parties, crafts, drama, revival teams, sports, student ministries, music, VBS, etc. to help reach their neighborhood with the gospel.
CLEANING, PAINTING: Berryville Baptist Church, Old Hickory is requesting a team to help the church of senior citizens with general cleaning, maintenance, and some painting. This could be a great Saturday trip for volunteer youth or men’s team.
VBS ASSISTANCE: Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church (Russian), Nashville, at Grace Baptist Church is requesting a volunteer team to come this summer to lead a children’s VBS.
SUMMER OUTREACH: Faith Madison Baptist Church, Madison, is seeking volunteer teams to help with church revitalization. The church is requesting volunteers to come to Faith Madison Baptist Church and help with block parties, crafts, drama, revival teams, sports, student ministries, music, VBS, etc. to help reach their neighborhood with the gospel.
RENOVATION: First Baptist Church, Donelson, is requesting a volunteer team to help renovate the garage that is used to store the Nashville Baptist Association Disaster Relief equipment.
RENOVATION: First Baptist Church, Madison, is beginning to renovate its sanctuary. The church is looking for assistance with drywall/plaster repair and painting.
CLEANING, PAINTING: Korean Unity Baptist Church, Antioch is seeking volunteer teams to help with summer cleaning, painting and organizing, help with a scholarship banquet, VBS and other evangelism projects.
SUMMER OUTREACH: Liberty Baptist Church, Nashville, is requesting volunteers help with church revitalization. Also, help is needed with block parties, crafts, drama, revival teams, sports, student ministries, music, VBS, etc. to help reach their neighborhood with the gospel.
CONSTRUCTION: Liberty Baptist Church, Nashville, is requesting volunteers to help with construction projects.
PAINTING, CLEANING: The Nashville Baptist Association building needs to be repainted, yard cleaning, rooms cleaned out and organized, etc.
PRAYERWALKING, EVANGELISM: The Nashville Baptist Association needs mission teams to visit 30 south Nashville markets with a strategy of prayerwalking and engaging locals with friendly conversations that may lead to new friendships and an opportunity to share a Bible story or personal testimony and prayer.
VBS ASSISTANCE: Neeley’s Bend Baptist Church, Madison, is requesting a volunteer team to come on a Saturday in June or July for a one-day VBS with the children from their neighborhood.
PAINTING: Neeley’s Bend Baptist Church, Madison, is requesting a volunteer team to paint the preschool rooms. The church has the paint ready. This would be a Saturday project.
CHURCH PLANTING: New Day Church, Harpeth Valley Elementary, Nashville, is asking volunteers to help with church planting. The church needs help canvassing the neighborhood and prayerwalking.
SUMMER OUTREACH: New Season Church, Nashville, is requesting volunteer teams to come and help with Evangelism projects. The church wants to reach out to the community with outreach surveys, hand out flyers, Back Yard Bible Clubs, VBS, prayerwalking and more.
SUMMER OUTREACH: Northwood Baptist Church, Nashville, is requesting volunteers to come to Northwood Baptist Church and help with block parties, crafts, drama, revival teams, sports, student ministries, music, VBS, etc. to help reach their neighborhood with the gospel.
REPAIRS, CLEAN-UP: Smith Springs Baptist Church, Nashville, is requesting volunteers to come to Smith Springs Baptist Church to help with some basic repairs and clean-up of an older building.
SUMMER OUTREACH: Smith Springs Baptist Church, Nashville, is requesting volunteers to come to Smith Springs Baptist Church to help with block parties, crafts, drama, revival teams, sports, students, music, VBS, etc. to help reach their neighborhood with the gospel.
HELP WITH VBS: Walker Memorial Baptist Church, Franklin, is requesting a volunteer team to work with their members to lead a one-week VBS in June.
CHILDREN MINISTRY: United Zomi Baptist Church (Nepalese) needs 6-12 youth and adults to minister to the roughly 30 children who are coming to church. The church wants to have an evangelistic party for these children and their families on a Saturday in June or July. This would be a one-day evangelistic event. These are children of Burmese immigrants. The children speak English.
CHILDCARE: Zomi Baptist Church (Nepalese) will have its annual national gathering of Nepalese pastors and families June 25-28. The church needs volunteers to care for children in the evenings with VBS type ministry.
REPAIRS, CLEAN-UP: Restoration Corner Ministry, Nashville, has moved to a new location on 511 Spruce Street, Nashville. The church needs help with all kinds of clean-up inside and out as well as general repairs to the house. The building will also need new doors and windows.