Many individuals have discovered that living generously simply means using who you are and what you have — talents, skills and money — to serve the Lord and others.
Bob Hall, a member of Memorial Baptist Church, Columbia, found his niche at Shepherd’s Basket food ministry.
Fourteen churches in Little Bonne Femme Baptist Association joined forces in 1998 to expand the food pantry Calvary Baptist Church, Columbia, had operated for many years.
They adopted the motto “Pointing People to Christ Through Prayer and Provision” when they formed Shepherd’s Basket to “convey our objective of demonstrating Jesus’ love by addressing both the spiritual and physical needs of the hungry in Columbia and beyond,” Hall explained.
More than 70 volunteers serve an average of 200 families each month through the ministry based at Calvary Baptist. People in area churches have the opportunity to give food or to donate money to help purchase it.
“We get food from the Central Missouri Food Bank..., from churches that conduct food drives, and purchase about 60 percent of our food with donations from individuals from the 14 participating churches,” Hall explained.
In addition to food, Shepherd’s Basket prayer partners offer everyone a Bible, pray with those who seek their services and witness whenever God opens an opportunity. Hall coordinates the prayer partners. In the past three years, 75 individuals have made a profession of faith.
“We try hard to create an environment where the love of Jesus is demonstrated, and a refuge is provided where for an hour or so clients can escape from their difficult circumstances,” he said.
Dan Bench puts in an untold number of hours at Windermere Baptist Conference Center’s president and chief operating officer — for free.
Former Windermere chief Frank Shock recruited Bench in 2005 when he decided to leave the center. Bench had been the center’s volunteer coordinator for several years. “He knew Sandra [Bench’s wife] and I had a very long history of being interested in Windermere,” Bench said.
“We retired from Principal Financial Group of Des Moines, Iowa, in February of 1998 and moved to the Lake area in April of that year. We quickly became involved and I soon became the volunteer coordinator.”
Bench said he is grateful that God provided a good pension to enable him to volunteer at Windermere.
“We consider it a great privilege to be here, and it is exciting to watch God’s Spirit work in the lives of staff and volunteers,” he said. “God is good.”