Extreme Build is Kentucky Baptist Fellowship’s annual summer mission project in McCreary County that brings together churches, individuals, and local agencies to build a new home in 10 days for a low-income family.
Ministering to our Community
Ministering to our community is important to the FBC communitty. Every month we enjoy leading a bible study at the nursing home. We love getting together to do service projects whether it is ringing the bell for the Salvation Army or collecting clothes for local school children.
During the Christmas season some of our favorite experiences are of putting Christmas baskets together for families in need, and putting on a live nativity scene and passing out apple cider to the community.
Whatever the need, we come together to help our community as God would call us to do.
A stereotype is a powerful thing. A stereotype does more than describe a reality; it prescribes one. It comes prepackaged with assumptions about power, worth, intelligence—even dignity—and because there is a lining of truth to just about every stereotype, it’s easy to embrace the assumptions along with the truth and move on. In fact, we human beings seem to learn to do so almost effortlessly.
I do ministry alongside a great group of people in the heart of one of the most stereotyped regions in the country. Best I can tell, the stereotyping of Appalachia began slightly before and around the so-called War on Poverty initiative signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s. Appalachia had always been a rural, low-income, familial society. In the ensuing years, it also became known outside and in as uneducated, socially-backward, and poor.
In response to the power of this pervasive and debilitating stereotype, First Baptist Church of Middlesboro has dreamed of an Appalachian Immersion Experience. The details are coming together, and we already have three groups booked to come in the summer of 2016. The idea is simple: to offer a one-part service, one-part learning “mission trip” opportunity in eastern Kentucky for youth and adults. We’ve repurposed the second floor of our education building into a mission wing to house groups and group leaders. We’ve partnered with the Appalachian Ministries Education Resource Center in Berea, KY, to ensure the integrity of the learning experiences. And we’ve reached out to our community here in Middlesboro in search of service projects that will help our neighbors. Last summer, we hosted three groups: one from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, one from First Baptist Church of Richlands, NC, and one from First Baptist Church of Morehead, KY. During their time here, they served in a food pantry, worked in a clothing closet, worked on a mountain farm, toured a coal mine, and learned about ecology and art at a settlement school.
Perhaps most importantly, while doing all of that and more, they worked on growing themselves and their perspectives beyond of the stereotypes of Appalachia they brought with them. They learned to see a place in the world in all of its richness—challenges and blessings. Whatever else that might look like, to me it looks like redemption. To me, it looks like learning to love the world that God so loves.
First Baptist Church is thankful for forty-four years of the God’s Angels Sunday school class. The class began when Opal Blackard’s son, Mitchell, needed a Sunday School class suited to his needs. This ecumenical class picks up its members from their homes and after Sunday School, has been known to deliver them to their families at different churches throughout Middlesboro. The class was rightly named God’s Angels and if you come in contact with these adults in our church, you know that they are not disabled, but love-abled.