Thursday for Jesus service targets people who can’t make Sunday service

Published 8:13 am Friday, March 20, 2020

By Rozella Hardin
Editorial Director
When Jamie Schaff worked as a secretary at Harold McCormick School, she saw a disproportionate number of students, who were often “out of the loop” because of a number of factors – they lived in the projects, they came from broken homes, they lacked opportunity, and many were unchurched.
“After I left my school job to stay at home and take care of my grandson, these children stayed on my mind as well as others. I realized that God had placed me at Harold McCormick for a purpose. He opened my eyes to the needs of others and how He wanted me to serve Him in a different capacity. So, I took my idea and desires to my pastor at First Baptist Church, and thus, Thursdays with Jesus was born,” Jamie shared.
It seems that a lot of other people had been burdened in much the same say that Jamie had. At the first meeting to talk and promote the Thursday night service, 65 people showed up willing to help and serve.
Thursday, March 26, was the date chosen for the initial first Thursday for Jesus service at First Baptist Church, but that has all changed with the coronavirus and the recommendation to “social distance” as a way to contain the disease. That first service is now planned for April.
“Once we get started, we plan to have a meal for those who attend, and immediately after to have church – a worship service, complete with children’s church and a nursery. We have no idea how many will be there, but we are ready,” said an excited Schaff.
She and her helpers have been out advertising the service and passing our circulars at the housing project, at the hospital, in the business district, and other places inviting people to church.
“There are a number of people who do not have the opportunity to attend church for various reasons. Some work on Sundays, some do not have transportation, some just feel discouraged and left out. Whatever reason, this Thursday evening church service is just for them. We will provide transportation for them if they have no way to get there. Our van will pick them up and take them home after the service,” Schaff shared.
“Also, you may have had a rough week and need a pick-me-up and some encouragement. You may be looking for a church, or you may be looking for friendship. If so, we invite you to Thursday night church at First Baptist,” Schaff said.
Helping her get the word out by distributing fliers is Donna Whittemore, one of many volunteers, who also has a vision to work to get more families and children involved in church. “There are so many people out there who need Jesus, who need encouragement, and who need a spiritual lift, and we want to help,” said Whittemore.
She pointed especially to single mothers, who maybe don’t feel comfortable in a conventional church setting, who need mentoring and support. “This Thursday service is for them and they will be made welcome,” Whittemore added.
Another targeted group is young people, many of whom opt to miss church altogether on Sunday. “We have a lot of college age students, who like to sleep in on Sunday. Everyone needs Jesus and church and we want these students to be a part of us,” said Schaff.
The Thursday for Jesus service is planned the fourth Thursday of each month.
“Just as soon as we can, we are going to have the service, and the dates and times will be announced,” said Schaff. “We’re eager and ready when Jesus says to go with it.”

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