Looking around their community, Pastor Tim Crosby and his wife Suzanne noticed that there was at least 30% of the population they had absolutely no plan to reach – Spanish speakers. The desire was to change this, but the questions quickly followed, “How can we even introduce ourselves to this community?” and “How can we get to know them and serve them?”
Like many communities across South Carolina, non-English speakers make up a significant portion of the population in the Hardeeville area. First Baptist Church, Hardeeville was committed to finding opportunities to serve the whole community, even if it was going to take some additional training and education.
Pastor Tim reached out to the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and he and several members attended a Basic ‘English As a Second Language Workshop’. With fresh training and resources in hand (and shaky confidence), First Baptist Church, Hardeeville opened its doors to this new community. To their surprise, 12 people walked through their doors to learn English. Even more surprising, the following week, 11 additional students were added to their ministry!
Obviously, not every ESL ministry starts with 23 students, but it is encouraging to think about how many in our communities are open to friendship and are willing to connect with a local church. Perhaps they just need the opportunity. The church now has a growing relationship with many in the community who they previously did not know. Friendships are forming, English is being learned and Christ is being proclaimed. This type of ministry would not exist without the Janie Chapman Offering. This offering assists churches with training, materials, and ongoing support.
Pray for Pastor Tim and First Baptist Church, Hardeeville. Pray also for the other 50 ESL ministries across South Carolina who are so beautifully loving their communities.
Thank God for the Janie Chapman Offering and how it enables South Carolina Baptists to SERVE their communities.