Posted on : Thursday August 15, 2019

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11

“Love Week”
Rather than having Vacation Bible School this year, Bethany Church Columbia, in Columbia, Maryland, decided to do something a bit different. Pastor C.J. Matthews and his wife, Katie Matthews, who is also the children’s ministry director, said the church’s VBS was drawing their church kids, but wasn’t reaching the community. As an alternative, they designated July 22-Aug 2 as “Love Week,” and about 80 people spread out to show Jesus’ love to their community.

Bethany Church Columbia served their community as part of their “Love Week.”

They kicked off the initiative with an hour of prayer and a car wash, and members shared the love of Jesus with their community throughout the week. They registered online to participate in their preferred projects.

Working in groups, they painted at the local elementary school, sang for shut-ins,  gave away cold waters in a park, hosted a community birthday party in a nearby apartment complex, and took baked goods to a neighborhood police station.

Katie organized the outreach with Associate Pastor Dennis Allen.  She said people were surprised that the services and gifts were free. “At the car wash, people asked, ‘Can I tip you, or give you money to put in the offering plate?’ We said, ‘No, we are trying to demonstrate that Jesus’ love is a free gift that can receive.'”

Financial Education Conference 

Towne Baptist Church in Joppa, Maryland, will host a Financial Education Conference on Oct. 25-26. The event begins on Friday night and continues on Saturday. The conference will offer a variety of topics, including how to fully honor God with your resources, social security, teaching children about money, and retirement/estate strategies. The presenters include Kellan Caldwell of Thrivent Financial services. The event is free, but reservations are required.

ONE HOPE Conference

The Garden Church in Baltimore will host their biennial “ONE HOPE Conference” on Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Booker T. Washington Middle School. Joel Kurz, the pastor of The Garden Church, explained that every two years, urban theologians and practitioners tackle one of the five “Solas,” the foundational truths which came out of the Protestant Reformation, and they explore its meaning and relevance for Baltimore. The inaugural conference in 2017 focused on “Sola Scripture.” Kurz said the 2019 conference will focus on grace.

Keynote speakers include Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor of Anacostia River Church in Southwest Washington, D.C., and a council member of The Gospel Coalition; Brian Davis, pastor of Risen Fellowship Church in Philadelphia; and Kurz. Anyabwile will answer the question “What Makes ‘Grace’ Grace?,” Davis will explore the theme “The Need for Grace,” and Kurz will share on “Future Grace.”

In addition, there will be several discussions in a “TED Talk” format. Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware Executive Director Kevin Smith will explore the topic of “Do We Still Need Sola Gratia?” Montrel Haygood, an assistant pastor at The Garden Church, will address “Christless Christianity,” and Dawn Sessions, a member of The Garden Church, will discuss “From Works to Grace?” Johnson Pang, a member of Jesus Our Redeemer Church, in Baltimore, will share “When Healing Doesn’t Come, Grace is Enough.”  

The conference is free and includes lunch. Registration is required.