The effects of COVID-19 have heightened the need for South Carolina Baptist churches to come together, to both share and serve the needs of their communities. The “COVID-19 Serve Community Aid” has been established to make $250,000 available to aid churches in meeting the specific needs of their communities.
“Our purpose statement is clear: ‘We exist to help churches fulfill the Great Commission.’ The current COVID-19 pandemic is opening doors to share the gospel in historic proportions,” said South Carolina Baptist Convention Executive Director-Treasurer Gary Hollingsworth.
“Setting aside funds from the Cooperative Program and the Janie Chapman State Missions Offering to help churches better serve needs in their community is a perfect example of the importance of our cooperative way of doing ministry as South Carolina Baptists,” Hollingsworth said. “Our prayer is that these funds will help churches find new and creative ways to connect with hurting people in their communities, which, in turn, will provide opportunities to share the love of Jesus in tangible ways.”
Social distancing and the Governor’s Stay at Home order have greatly affected many of the training and ministry events offered by the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Because of these changes, Cooperative Program and Janie Chapman funds are now available to further support churches in their community ministry efforts during these challenging times.
South Carolina Woman’s Missionary Union Executive Director-Treasurer Laurie Register shared, “South Carolina Baptists have long been known for their cooperative giving spirit, particularly through the Cooperative Program and the Janie Chapman Offering for State Missions. Because of their generosity, through the COVID-19 Serve Community Aid, we have the opportunity to show the world what it means to be the Church — to work together to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a tangible way in our local communities. At a time in our country’s history when divisiveness is the norm, let us be united in our efforts to share and show the love of Jesus Christ to those who do not yet know Him.”
The SCBC recognizes that $250,000 will not address every need and ministry opportunity across the state. In addition to the COVID-19 Serve Community Aid, the SCBC is issuing a “Serve Community Challenge” to SCBC staff and churches across South Carolina. South Carolinians will be receiving a government stimulus check. The convention’s challenge is that South Carolina Baptists would commit a portion of these resources, over and above their regular tithes and offerings, to make an impact in their communities.
The SCBC leaders challenge: “What if we saw a wave of South Carolina Baptists ‘advancing’ into their communities with resources intended to make a practical and gospel impact? We could easily double, triple or quadruple the resources that are being offered by the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s COVID-19 Serve Community Aid.”
“$250,000 is a lot of money,” Jon Jamison, SCBC Serve Team leader, said. “Imagine if thousands of South Carolina Baptists committed a portion of their stimulus checks with a focused effort of serving their neighbors during this crisis? South Carolina Baptists could potentially leverage millions of dollars into our communities with long-term gospel impact. That is exciting.”
The dollars that churches commit to the COVID-19 Serve Community challenge will not be received by the convention, however. Contributions will stay with the churches as Baptists serve their neighbors.
To begin the application process for the COVID-19 Serve Community Aid, or to commit to the Serve Challenge, visit www.scbaptist.org/serve-community-aid.
— Lara Gopp is director of SCBC Communications.