By Shannon Baker
After completing the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware’s Transformational Church process, Friendship Baptist Church in Sykesville, Md., decided to hire an outreach pastor.
“The fact that the church created this position shows the church has such a big heart for their community,” said newly hired Mark Klimovitz, associate pastor of outreach and Christian education.
The church also recognized and ordained Blair Radney, a church member, to the role of evangelist last fall.
Right away, the church developed a LoveLoud ministry modeled after the North American Mission Board’s evangelism program, which focuses on servant evangelism as a way to gain hearers of the Gospel.
“For our outreach to be effective, we need to speak louder than the other voices that are piercing the ears and hearts of our family, friends and neighbors,” explained Klimovitz.
In addition to adding people resources, church members have put up significant financial resources into reaching their community.
In particular, members have supported ministry at Cooper Park, where they have developed a strategic partnership with the town of Sykesville.
There, members replaced the entire roof of a park pavilion, and students in the student ministry paid for and replaced the mulch in three separate play areas. Later, the church hosted “Cowboy Christmas,” complete with a Gospel puppet ministry, free petting zoo, pony rides and games.
All along, Friendship invited local businesses to join in the effort, to help them gain exposure and more business.
Upcoming plans include a “Countdown to Easter” family event, featuring a classic car show, family games and activities on Palm Sunday, and a community Sports Camp in June.
“We just want to love people in a way they can’t understand,” shared Klimovitz, noting they are also ministering to Sykesville’s public servants. To date, the men’s group adopted a nearby firehouse, seeking to serve these first responders, and others have been developing ways to connect with the town’s police chief and other officials.
In addition, the church hosted a Teacher Appreciation luncheon at five local elementary schools, providing free Chick-fil-A lunches to over 500 teachers.
And the excitement and energy is building. This year, Senior Pastor Mark Massey has challenged the congregation toward 50 baptisms.
Each month, two members of the church share their personal testimonies during their two worship services.
In addition, every semester, the church offers a 13-week evangelism Sunday school class, which is used to help members grow in their understanding and passion to share the Gospel in a relevant, engaging and loving way.