Posted: 4/29/20 at 12:40pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:37-40 NIV)
I gave my life to Christ when I was 15. My pastor encouraged me to read the Bible from cover to cover each year. I took his request very seriously. Each year I found myself drawn to this passage in Matthew 25. Since our family had economic challenges, perhaps that is why.
For three weeks now, I have pondered what I can do beyond helping my pastors and churches through phone calls, email, and social media to keep them connected to ways we can serve each other and the community. I would love to be out sharing food with the Red Truck Ministry in Lynchburg four days a week or in Prospect one day a week. Due to health concerns during this pandemic for my wife and me, I cannot.
Thankfully, the BGAV responded with $100,000 in grant money for churches to help feed people. I got the word out quickly. Sixteen churches in Southside received money from this $100,000 grant to help people in need during this pandemic. I called Dean Miller on April 15 to get an update on the funds and discovered the grant money was all allocated, but he wanted churches to continue to send requests as we figure out where to get the money. Katrina (my wife) and I prayed and felt led to put out a challenge: the #FeedingChallenge.
On the morning of April 17, Katrina and I created a video with our challenge to raise $300 towards grant money through the BGAV. We set a goal of $300 and said that when we reached it, Katrina would shave my head on Facebook Live. I also challenged my pastors and friends to develop their own challenge towards churches helping to feed people. We posted it on Facebook along with a giving link, and many people shared it.
By April 22, we’d not only reached, but exceeded our goal! Katrina shaved my head on Facebook Live on April 25.
The evening of April 17, one of my pastors, Rev. Jeffrey Withers from Boydton Baptist, accepted the challenge and started his own. He posted a video with his wife, Caitlin. They had a $400 goal by April 25 for the Clarksville Food Pantry. They met their goal, and Caitlin shaved Jeffrey’s head on April 28.
On April 19, Rev. James Schwerdtfeger, Pastor of Glenn Memorial Baptist in Prospect, posted his video challenge on Facebook with a follow-up post the next day:
Yesterday I issued a challenge to help me raise money to support the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) in their effort to assist churches reach those in their community who are in need. The BGAV has supported our food ministry in the past and I want to give back. The funds raised do not go to me, my church or any particular ministry at my church, but will be used to help other ministries throughout the state. My challenge ends on the 4th of May at 11am, and whatever amount that has been donated at that time will determine my “fate.”$250-$349 Becky will shave my head on facebook live; $350-$499 I will dye my hair UVA Orange; $500-$599 I will dye my hair VT Maroon and $600+ I will dye my hair VT Maroon and complete whatever task the Glenn Memorial Baptist Women assign. Thanks in advance.
Jim surpassed his original goal and now has asked to try to reach $1,000 to give back the money granted by the BGAV. If so, his wife will color her hair to compliment his VA Tech color.
On the evening of April 19, Reverend Chad Harris, Pastor of Calvary Baptist in Concord, accepted the challenge! They will work towards raising $300. If $100 is reached for feeding children, then one child will color their hair (pic will be posted), the next $100 will be to feed the elderly, and another child will color their hair with a pic, and at the next $100 the pastor will color his hair Carolina Blue! #FeedingChallenge
Another Southside pastor working out a goal and a challenge right now.
I would love for every church in Virginia and beyond to see this as an opportunity. I realize each could go about feeding others without this kind of promotion. But in a crisis like this one, perhaps others in the community need to see what the church is doing. They need good news! If you are already feeding people in your community, post about it with the hashtag: #FeedingChallenge. We want to hear from you! You can always tag me as well at: https://www.facebook.com/btsrdoc. I would love to share it with friends all over the world. Let’s keep the movement going!