When the JBA #LOVEjax emphasis launched, members of Fruit Cove Baptist Church were ready to spring into action. Several Adult Connect Groups had already been serving with a local food distribution ministry, so they decided to invite others in the church to join them. The timing of the emphasis also coincided with many of the local schools reopening to volunteers so there were opportunities to show appreciation for faculty and staff members by providing meals, coffee, or ice cream.
The Christmas season provided new ways to love on the community. The church’s Fostering Hope ministry delivered gifts cards to 120 local caseworkers. Church member and Fostering Hope leader Karen Roy said, “We were praying that these cards would bring encouragement and hope to a group of people on the front lines of the foster care crisis.”
The week before Christmas members of Fruit Cove visited neighboring businesses to distribute cards to the 144 people who work in those businesses. The card itself had a message that expressed thanks for helping to make the community what it is and let them know that they were valued and appreciated. Each card also contained a gift of a $50 bill. That act of kindness has generated some great conversations among the business owners, employees and church members.
This month the church is focusing on ministering to single moms in the community by offering free car care. A partnership with a local automotive shop has been created to allow single moms to get an oil change, tire rotation and overall vehicle check at no cost to them. The process for single moms is simple. They complete an online application found at the church website, then they are notified of next steps related to setting an appointment with the shop.
Just one week into the initiative the church received this message from one of the single moms: “I have tears flowing down my cheeks. I am feeling so overwhelmed, and my heart is filled with so much gratitude. When I picked up my car this afternoon, it was such a surprise to find out what was done to my car. What an amazing blessing! I can’t find the right words to tell you how much this means to me and the perfect timing it was for this to happen.”
Life as a single mom can be very challenging and car care may be one of the last things on their to-do list. This ministry initiative is a way for the church to show that single moms are known, loved and appreciated. And the church gets to share the powerful message that “We love because He first loved us!”
The church is rallying around a theme of “A Gospel Flood” with the desire that God would use them to flood their neighborhoods, community and county with the good news of Jesus Christ. LOVEjax has provided a natural conduit for activating and mobilizing people to be part of that flood.
LOVEjax is a mission initiative designed to enable Jacksonville Baptist Association churches to love and serve the city. It is an effort to encourage churches to get off of campuses and focus externally on needs within local communities. Members of Fruit Cove are working hard to do just that. What can you and your church do to LOVEjax in the name of Jesus?