Boonville’s Solid Rock church rises to meet Acts 1:8 Challenge
By Brian Koonce
September 6, 2005
BOONVILLE – Children crowd around a man twisting balloon animals; a girl giggles as a face painter draws a heart, a boy peers with wide eyes and a watering mouth as cotton candy spins around its stick. Sure, they’re the hallmarks of any block party, but it’s also a sign of a church focusing on its community.
Solid Rock Baptist Church hosted a “Back to School Bash” Aug. 27, but it wasn’t just an excuse to hand out 375 snow cones with an invitation to visit Sunday morning, it was one part of a comprehensive strategy to dramatically increase the church’s involvement with the Boonville community.
“We want to be the poster child for Acts 1:8, being out in the community,” Chris Brant, church secretary and organizer of the block party.
The Acts 1:8 Challenge is an effort to reach the local community, region, continent and the world fulfilling Christ’s call to take the Gospel to their “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.”
“We keep asking ourselves, what are the community’s needs?” Brant said. “What can we offer?”
They started with two successful back yard Bible clubs and moved to prayer walking the streets and then the block party.
And although the block party was hosted by Solid Rock, the church included the local fire and police departments to add to the community atmosphere. Volunteers from local Lutheran and Methodist churches even pitched in. Culligan Water donated more than 40 gallons of drinking water and cups while the public schools helped pass out 500 flyers. The church took advantage of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) evangelism trailer, invited a local Christian radio station to participate and gave out free hotdogs and water from a disaster relief trailer provided by Lamine Baptist Association. Before things were over they’d given out 480 cups of lemonade, 323 bags of popcorn, 384 hot dogs, 415 cones of cotton candy, 375 snow cones. Add an evening worship service and an invitation to receive Christ and it is just the start, Brant said.
They’re taking the nearly 200 names and addresses collected and are preparing to canvas the surrounding neighborhoods to further assess the needs of the people.
“If we wanted to draw just other Baptists in, we could do that,” Brant said, “but we want to reach the unchurched.”
Their immediate plans include helping low-income families buy school supplies, using mechanics in the church helping with minor car maintenance, and starting a family movie night and devotion once a month. Immediate results included seven new visitors to the next morning’s worship service.
Solid Rock began July 4, 2004 in Boonville’s YMCA as a church plant partnership with several churches and the MBC. The 25 regular attendees now meet in a storefront downtown.
“God uses the Cooperative Program for things exactly like this,” Brant said. “When people wonder what their offerings go to, this is it.”
She said the church has an even wider vision: they hope to start seven churches within the life of their church.
“We’re realizing that missions is Boonville,” Brant said. “It’s in Cooper County. It’s here.”