Illinois Church’s Saturday Outreach Leads Many to Christ

Daryl Vermillion’s church knew God was working in their community when an evangelistic event last spring at the high school drew 50 students to make professions of faith in Christ.

“We spent two hours ministering to sobbing, heartbroken children who had every kind of social and family crisis happening in their lives that you could think of,” Vermillion told a Beardstown, Ill., civic organization this month. The outreach, planned by a national ministry organization, “really opened our eyes to the need in our community.”

Vermillion has pastored First Southern Baptist Church in Beardstown officially for one month, although he has served in an interim capacity since January and has been a member of the church for more than two decades. His recent presentation to his town’s Kiwanis Club followed his pastorate’s first major outreach — a community block party and back-to-school celebration in July that combined the efforts of more than 20 churches.

Ahead of the block party, 17 people in the community trusted Christ after door-to-door evangelism teams visited their homes. And at the event itself, 36 more made professions of faith.

The July 27 event was part of Missions Spectacular, an annual focus on hands-on missions projects across Illinois. Increasingly over the last few years, Missions Spectacular projects have been planned and led by local churches and associations. The emphasis is made possible in part by the annual Mission Illinois Offering, which supports missionaries and ministries across the state.

The Beardstown outreach started as the brainchild of Illinois Baptist State Association’s Carmen Halsey, who envisioned an outreach to the community’s multicultural population. She began to gather churches interested in an Illinois mission project around the idea of an outreach in Beardstown. The result was a multi-faceted party that included free haircuts, back-to-school physicals, backpacks, music, games, food, and the gospel.

Working together, the churches made “the impossible possible,” said Halsey, director of women’s ministry and church missions. “The work always offers opportunities to connect and build relationships and visualize that the church is bigger than them.

“Several of the churches are already planning other ways they can partner with each other to help with future ministry opportunities.”

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Source: Baptist Press