First Baptist Church of Sherman extended support in mid July to Legacy Stone Church in Westfield, Indiana, a growing church with Texas connections. For the past five summers, FBC Sherman has sent a team to share in ministry with the young church.
Stepping out in faith in June of 2014, the Rev. Joe Lightner and his family moved from Fort Worth to Westfield to start the new church just outside Indianapolis. Lightner would serve as lead pastor.
“We immediately conducted several kids camps which enabled us to recruit several local families to help start the church,” Lightner said in an email interview. “We began offering Sunday morning worship gatherings at a local movie theater until God provided us a next step building. Recently, God has provided nine acres of land which includes a worship center that was built in 2009 that will become the future home of this new church.”
During Legacy’s beginnings, FBC Sherman has served as a partner by sending groups of volunteers as part of an annual summer mission to Indiana. The groups, consisting of 20 or more youth and adults, traveled in vans. They were there five days each year and volunteers paid for their own expenses.
“We lead an event called ‘Kids Rock the Summer,’” FBC trip leader Bootie Terrell said in an email interview. “It is basically Vacation Bible School for preschool through 6th grade. We also canvas neighborhoods, do yardwork, help people move and clean.”
Each year, the volunteers have carried a sense of purpose in their outreach to the fledgling church.
“There are multiple reasons we do this, but the most basic is to follow Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19 to ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,’” Terrell said. “In the past, our church completed mission trips in Mexico and India, and our thinking was that it would be good to have one in the USA where more of our members could go.”
She added that while sharing God’s love with others, the group from Sherman has benefited as well.
“Our goal is to use the gifts and talents God has given us to help people know Jesus,” Terrell said. “These five trips have brought us closer to God and closer to each other. It has been a perfect way for our youth and adults to mix and learn from each other.”
Echoing those insights is FBC Student Minister Austin Lambert.
“This trip demonstrates for our youth the positive impact of transgenerational ministry,” Lambert said in an email interview. “The youth enjoyed the experience of working alongside the adults who genuinely display the love of Christ in everything they do.”
“FBC Sherman’s commitment to Indiana has involved time, resources, energy and passion,” he added. “I believe our experiences in Indiana have reminded us of the importance of living on mission where God has placed us.”
For Children’s Ministries Director Michann Heath, having the opportunity to serve God by helping others, with her three children was appealing.
“Our family has always viewed the role of service as being important,” she said in an email. “We serve together in other ministries here at FBC.”
Heath spoke favorably of her family’s experiences.
“This trip has stretched us in many ways,” she said in an email interview. “We have been stretched by being on someone else’s time and territory; learning to get along with others while serving together; doing things that pull us out of our comfort zone; and having to wait to see the results of seeds we have planted.”
Heath said that she has seen a new level of faith and maturity in her children.
“I have been blessed to see all the work God has done in them while they have been serving him. This is what I am most proud of as I have watched my children grow and serve together,” she said. “They are realizing that someone has to go and tell others about Jesus, and if we don’t, then who will?