Sep 30, 2008

Liberty students serve the local community from the Inside Out

by Emily DeFosse and Amanda Baker

Liberty students are working together with Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) to reach the local community with the gospel one service project at a time. The effort to impact the community for Christ occurs through the Inside Out program, which has developed out of Pastor Jonathan Falwell’s 12-week sermon series on the heart.

One of TRBC’s mission pastors, Tim Grandstaff, is heading up the initiative that focuses on giving TRBC members and Liberty students the opportunity to serve within the community in practical ways.

“Instead of thinking about what we thought our community needs, we sat down with our mayor, had meetings with city council people, school board members and parks and recreation,” Grandstaff said. “We asked them what the needs of our community were and how we as a ministry could help meet those needs.”

According to Grandstaff a large list of projects was compiled that has the potential to keep the church busy for years. The wide variety of projects gives everyone the opportunity to get involved in something.

Projects include a seven-week food drive, supplying school bus drivers with coffee, and teachers and school administrators with doughnuts and thank you cards, making college care packages for local students, renovating playgrounds, gas buy-downs and home repairs.

“We work with CampusServe and the block party, so there have been between 200-250 Liberty students who have been involved weekly in some type of ministry,” Grandstaff said.

CampusServe is a campus ministry that meets every Saturday in DeMoss 1114 at 10 a.m. to go out into the community and serve in various ways. It has been actively helping with the Inside Out project.

“We’ve been operating on an on-call agreement with Tim and the different crews with the Inside Out project,” Director of

CampusServe Kevin Mahan said. “When they need people in an emergency or in a tight spot, we’ve been able to help them out.”

Dr. David Wheeler is a professor of evangelism, the associate director of the Christian Ministry Training and Church Planting Centers and the director of all the applied ministries for the seminary. He leads a team from the seminary that has been involved with the Inside Out project through the gas buy-downs and block parties.

“People have to realize that we really do care for them and that we are not just trying to get notches in our Bibles or get people to church,” Wheeler said. “This whole movement has been about us going out into the community and being the church out there with them so that the church is the organism rather than just an organization.”

According to Wheeler, there are around 850 undergraduate students and between 70 and 80 seminary students who have been involved with the block party ministries. In fact, so many students are involved that they have more volunteers than they can physically take each week.

The Inside Out project’s vision is greater than a 12-week program for students to get involved with the church and reach out into the community. The intent behind the project is to act as a springboard that will provide students and church members more opportunities to serve throughout the year. For more information on how to get involved with the Inside Out project, e-mail Tim Grandstaff at tim@trbc.org.

 


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