Two Kansas City churches — Grace Point Baptist Church and Winnwood Baptist Church — recently teamed up for a joint mission trip to St. Louis.
According to Chad Cooper, associate pastor of student ministries and church discipleship, this was the fourth collaborative mission trip the two youth groups have taken.
“As smaller churches, our inter-church trips allow us to bring more students and sponsors because of lower costs, help students to get to know others from different schools, backgrounds and parts of the city, and allows the leaders to share in the trip planning, preparation and cost,” he said.
The team was housed at Delmar Baptist Church and worked at a variety of locations in St. Louis.
On Friday, they spent the day at the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis. Students spent time with the children by playing basketball, coloring pictures, playing board games, talking and having fun.
On Saturday, the team worked at Habitat for Humanity’s Restore. The Restore is a place where the public can purchase donated and recycled building supplies. Students cleaned, organized the donations and helped customers with their purchases.
That afternoon, the students assisted at Father Dempsey’s Charities, a Catholic transitional housing ministry. Students prepared a meal for the residents, many of whom are veterans, Cooper said.
On Sunday, the group worshiped at Third Baptist Church, St. Louis, and spent the afternoon working in the food pantry and clothes closet. “It was a great opportunity to help sort donations, organize clothes in the ‘store’ according to gender and size, as well as clean out some rooms to provide more store space,” Cooper said.
The two churches have been traveling together since 2005. Their first trip was to M-Fuge, a mission camp, in St. Louis. The churches then decided to try planning their own trip. That year — 2006 — the churches traveled to Dallas, Texas, to work with an inner-city congregation.
“These collaborating trips have always been interesting as well as meaningful,” Cooper said. “One thing that struck me was that our group did a great job being accepting of one another, even though our group consisted of people of very different backgrounds.”
Cooper described friendships forming across socio-economic and racial lines. “The inclusive nature of our team provided me with hope for the church’s ability to have inclusive love,” he said.
“I truly felt as I led worship that we were accomplishing something with our mission team which so many churches as failing to do — namely providing the opportunity for a group of diverse individuals to be brought together as one body under the unifying nature of Christ.”
Jennifer Harris is the news writer for Word&Way.