Southern Baptists from across the United States gathered to participate in a Send Relief Serve Tour event in Memphis. Sixty-five churches and more than a thousand volunteers united to serve the city.
Through dozens of various projects, volunteers came together to beautify schools, pack food boxes for local food banks, encourage first responders and assist families with projects in and around their homes.
“When we are trying to minister to people, sometimes people cannot hear us because of the hurt that they are experiencing,” said Ross McGregor, project coordinator for Serve Tour Memphis and missions minister of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee. “Their hurt is so loud. But we are trying to help minister to those hurts.”
‘Beautiful picture of Christian unity’
Each Serve Tour stop is a cooperative effort between local churches, associations, state conventions and Send Relief.
“It was a beautiful picture of Christian unity,” said Danny Sinquefield, a harvest field team leader with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, of the February event. “Our churches were working together in a way that focused on Great Commission principles, and everybody was on the same page. The gospel was shared, but opportunities were also created for future presentations of the gospel.”
Volunteers from as far away as Oklahoma, Ohio and Florida traveled to participate.
“We had folks from eight different states show up,” said Mitch Martin, director of the Mid-South Baptist Association. “There were representatives from all of our churches in the Mid-South Baptist Association: urban churches, suburban churches, black churches, white churches.”
Jeremiah Herrian with Forgotten Ministries traveled from Enid, Oklahoma, and participated in a mobile grill outreach to a local community in Memphis. They led a project, cooking and distributing food to residents. As a team, they were able to connect and share the gospel through their conversations.
“When you knock on the door and say you have a free hamburger, the question that is always asked is ‘Why are you doing that?’” Herrian said. “And I get to say, ‘Man let me tell you about my best friend Jesus.’”
The Send Relief ministry center in Memphis served as a hub for the Serve Tour. Volunteers at the center packed more 125,000 meals that would be used either in and around Memphis or as meals to support Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts.
“It was a great sight to see so many folks at our Memphis ministry center packing food boxes for so many in need,” said Bryant Wright, president of Send Relief. “This was just one site of many around Memphis where churches were sharing the love of Jesus on our Memphis Serve Tour.”
A group provided landscaping work at Coleman Elementary School, located near the ministry center. Mary Abrams, who works at the ministry center, described the school and playground as needing attention. Along with the landscape work, volunteers placed mulch designed to make the playgrounds safer for children as they play.
Friday night, Feb. 25, included a worship rally for the volunteers who sang together and heard a message delivered by Wright.
The Memphis Serve Tour stop was the second Serve Tour event, with six more tour stops planned for the remainder of 2022 across the United States in cities like Meridian, Mississippi, Baltimore, Charleston, South Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida. To learn more about the Serve Tour and register for future events, visit ServeTour.org.
“It’s always good to get God’s people to take their eyes off themselves and start looking outwardly and serving in Jesus’s name,” Martin said.