Thursday for Jesus service targets community and people who need a ‘lift’
BY ROZELLA HARDIN
First Baptist Church, Elizabethton, will begin its Thursday with Jesus services Thursday at 6 p.m. with dinner and a worship service. The service, which will include a children’s ministry, is open to the community and those who need a “lift” spiritually or who are looking for a church.
The Thursday with Jesus service for the time being will be held the last Thursday of each month from 6 to 7:15 p.m. and transportation will be provided. “If you need a ride to and from the service, all you need to do is call the church office at 543-1931,” said Jamie Schaff, one of the organizers of the service.
The Thursday with Jesus service was initially planned to begin in March, 2020, but was cancelled when the pandemic hit. “Things are looking better now, and we are doing the Thursday service as part of the church’s outreach. We plan to have a meal for those who attend, and immediately after to have church — a worship service, complete with a nursery and children’s ministry. We have no idea how many will be there, but we are ready,” said an excited Schaff.
“In doing outreach in our church, and visiting the projects, I have found so many people who tell me they are looking for a church. This is so hard to believe when there is a church on almost every corner in Elizabethton. There are many people in need in our community, and First Baptist wants to meet those needs,” said Schaff.
She said in prior years when she 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.
“I no longer have my school job, but the same needs are there. Many of the same children are there. Everywhere you go in Elizabethton, people have needs, and we as Christians and the church have a calling to reach out to these people, to minister to them,” Schaff explained.
“We need to be like Jesus, not like other Christians. As a church, Jesus calls us to minister to a hurting and needy people, and they’re all around us,” Schaff said.
She and her helpers have been out advertising the service in the projects, the business community, 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 feel discouraged and left out. Others may have had a rough week or day and need a pick-me-up and some encouragement. They may be looking for a church or friendship. Whatever the need we invite them to Thursday night church at First Baptist,” Schaff said.
Schaff said organizers of the service are also targeting those people, who have chosen to watch services online during the pandemic and have not returned to corporate worship. “We want them to know it is safe at First Baptist, and that nothing takes the place of corporate worship,” she shared.
The speaker for Thursday’s service will be Lisa Bunn, who has a business downtown, and has been involved in Christian ministry for a long time. Her most recent ministry has been at the Carter County Jail.
In September, the group has scheduled Loretta Bowers to sing, and her sister, Teresa, to bring a message.
“We’re preparing and looking for wonderful things to happen in this Thursday night service,” said Schaff.