DRIPPING SPRINGS - To share the gospel overseas, churches do construction projects, prayer efforts and service initiatives.
First Baptist Church wondered: Can't it do something very similar in its own community?
Out that spirit, the congregation birthed Mission Drippin', a weeklong effort to invest in their community. This July 28-Aug. 4, mission teams met in homes across the area to pray for their neighbors and neighborhoods. The next day, they prayed specifically for the schools their children attend.
Then they took to the streets, cleaning up part of the Dripping Springs from which the city's name is derived. They cleaned up a ballpark. They did some extensive work on a person's house. Many members cooperated to put together more than 90 baskets for first responders such as firefighters, thanking them for their service.
The congregation held a family movie night, featuring a skit by the church's youth as the opening preview. A student dodgeball tournament was held as well in an effort to share the gospel and connect with the community.
Pastor Craig Curry said Mission Drippin' - now in its third year - continues to transform how church members view neighborhoods, schools and town.
"When you have a mission experience outside your community, people always come back different," he said. "When you have it within the community, they see their community differently, they see their relationships differently."
Ryan Jespersen, Texas Baptists' director of urban missions who spent part of the week in Dripping Springs, praised First Baptist Church in Dripping Springs for being deeply rooted in its community and in Scripture.
"We need to be on mission in our community," he said. "Churches need to be on mission in their own communities. We certainly want to do mission overseas and other places, but we need to begin doing missions in our own Jerusalem."
Through the efforts, church members come in contact with people they normally do not, Curry said. Local officials suggested cleaning up the dripping springs, creating a connection between city workers and the church. A family noticed a church team working on a house in their neighborhood and decided to come to worship the following Sunday.
"The stories that come out of this are powerful," he said. "It's everything we want to be about as a church."
First Baptist Church is energized by Mission Drippin', Cury said. Members are excited about the new relationships they've developed and are eager to see continued ministry opportunities arise.
"When you talk about Mission Drippin', people are excited about it," he said. "They're planning on participating.
Jespersen is currently working on a effort that encourages congregations to see themselves as missionaries in their communities and act accordingly. For more information, contact Jespersen at 888-244-9400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.