By Sharon Mager, BCMD Correspondent
OCEAN CITY, Md.—Ocean City Baptist Church (OCBC) doesn’t have to cross oceans to reach the world for Christ. The world is at their doorstep.
In early July, Sean Davis, pastor, reported at his last Sunday services having representation from four different countries in the morning service and eight additional countries at their evening service. They’re international students who flood the resort town to work every summer then return to their native lands.
“We had students from Ukraine, China, Africa, Moldova and Macedonia. We had several Turkish girls who had never been in church before. There are students from Russia and Poland asking questions,” Davis said.
Working in partnership with Central Atlantic Leisure Ministries, OCBC members are immersing themselves in international ministry. For years they have helped with breakfasts, dinners and coffeehouses to meet and minister to the students. The church opens its doors to house the mission teams each year. Several church members also teach conversational English classes.
“We fed them and they would come to the coffeehouses on Friday nights, but we were lucky to see them on Sundays,” Davis said. “Now they’re coming because they’re interested and they’re comfortable at the church.”
To meet those unique needs, Davis offers a time of questions and answers after the church services. Afterwards, summer missionaries, members and staff play volleyball on the beach with the students.
“We’re reaching a lot of people, but it is kingdom growth,” Davis said. Most churches have a lull in the summer. OCBC has a big growth spurt, but they are truly “gathering and scattering.” Many of those they reach are going back to their countries to share the Good News with their families and friends.
Davis said he’s especially excited that missionaries in countries unfriendly to Christians have learned about the ministry in Ocean City and have contacted Davis about students who plan to work in town.
“They have been telling the students about Jesus and they are asking us to continue to minister to them. Through email and Facebook we have been working with students before they even come.”
Davis said members of OCBC also went to Ukraine with Campus Crusade for Christ and taught English classes in the winter. That opportunity was a result of the relationships made with students in Ocean City.
The church has adapted the “Simple Church” mission. Simple Church says, “Love God, love people, serve the world.” Davis said their mission statement is “Love God, love people, serve the beach.”
“To us, the Ocean City beach is the world.”