Kirkwood Baptist Church takes hands-on approach to ministry - Word&Way

Kirkwood Baptist Church takes hands-on approach to ministry

For Bill Crouch, it was one of the greatest outreach moments he has seen in almost 50 years of membership at KirkwoodHands on Kirkwood Baptist Church.

The Saturday event, called Hands On Kirkwood, mobilized nearly 300 church members (82 percent of the church’s average attendance) in active service to the Kirkwood community this fall.

Service teams conducted a variety of projects utilizing the gifts and skills of church members and meeting specific needs of the community.

Activities, both at the church and in the community, included:

Kids’ Safety and Activity Day
Working with the Kirkwood Police Department, the team provided Child ID Packages that can be used in case of emergency. Fun activities in­cluded face painting, crafts, a vehicle fair and a bounce house.

Winter Car Check
The Winter Car Check team gave while-you-wait service to cars, checking tire pressure, visually checking the belts and hoses, testing battery and antifreeze levels and filling windshield wiper fluid.

Recycling Drop Off
Working through local agencies, the team accepted computers, printers, cables, home electronics, VCRs and most other kinds of electric devices.

By helping to properly dispose of and recycle these items, the church demonstrated its commitment to stewardship of the environment.

One Day Dog Park
Dog lovers abound in Kirkwood, so this team created a dog park by fencing off a corner of the church property where dogs could safely romp, roam and run off-leash. More than 65 people enjoyed using the dog park.

Pet Blessing
Recognizing that animals and pets are important members of our world and that many consider them extended members of the family, the church offered a pet blessing by Senior Pastor Scott Stearman. More than 40 families brought their pets to be blessed.

House to House
This team did yard work and provided minor home repairs and even went door-to-door offering to perform basic household chores such as changing light bulbs, providing batteries for smoke detectors, and simple yard work.

Helping Hands
The team went to retail stores in the area to help customers with their purchases and also assisted at the Kirkwood Public Library, organizing, classifying and shelving books.

Nursing Home
A team of 35 children — dressed in costumes — and 21 adult chaperones visited the St. Agnes Senior Living Center to share some songs and a loving presence to the residence.

Community Gospel Choir in Kirkwood Concert
Hands on Kirkwood ended with a free gospel concert by a newly-formed intergeneration­al and interdenominational choir. Susan Slaughter, principal trumpet for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the KBC Brass ensemble also participated.

Free snacks and goodies were served as well.

Kirkwood’s House to House project produced one of the more interesting stories of the day. As their team was moving door-to-door through a neighborhood, they were flagged down by a woman needing their help.

She had light bulbs burned out and was unable to change them due to a slight disability. They took care of it for her and replaced the batteries in her smoke alarms. When she asked if they could also clean her yard, they happily took that on, too.
They encountered a teenager when they knocked on his door and learned his mother was in the hospital.

When he learned they were not there to sell him something but to help him, he gladly received their help and encouragement.

He came to the church the following day to express his gratitude for the church’s help.

The leaders of Hands On Kirkwood summarized his sharing this way: “He was totally impressed with our team’s attitude and smiles. He said having that spirit around him was exactly what he needed that day. It wasn’t the light bulbs or the offer to rake his yard — it was the feeling that someone cared.”

Hands On Kirkwood was based on a ministry model called Operation Inasmuch, which encourages churches to engage in one-day, local, hands-on, compassionate ministries in their communities.

“I think our Hands On Kirkwood mission day was a huge success and although it was a lot of work…it was worth the effort,” said Brenda Williams, who coordinated the recycling efforts with her husband Dermott.

“I think we have started a mission we need to continue annually and have shown the community what ‘being a Baptist’ is really about.”