Santa Fe River Baptist Association
Santa Fe River Baptist Association   Helping churches become effective partners with God for his Kingdom
Serving North Central Florida Since 1857
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Interesting and Unusal Ministries Being Done by Our Churches What's So "Interesting and Unusual" about Some Ministries? You might wonder what's so special about a crafts class, yard work, playing basketball, or a group of amateur musicians. What's special about these ministries and others on this list of "Interesting and Unusual Ministries" is that they are out of the ordinary, in some cases unique, and give churches opportunities to minister to people they probably wouldn't otherwise be able to reach. What may seem ordinary or even bland can give a church a means of building relationships with people who might never visit that church. Addicts Fellowship: "Fellowship Recovery": Using "Celebrate Recovery" material, the church offers weekly group sessions for people with alcohol and drug addictions and who suffer from other "hurts, habits, and hang-ups" (e.g., codependency, caregivers, people who have been emotionally hurt). Grace: The church allows Gamblers Anonymous to use their building weekly. Parkview: The church provides meeting space for these organizations weekly: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Alanon, Girl Scouts, Neighborhood association Apartments Alachua First: The church invited residents of Alachua Apartments to a cookout on the apartment grounds. Antioch: Church members bring children and parents from the Merrillwood apartment complex in Alachua to worship each Sunday and ministers among them. North Central: The church held a block party at Santa Fe Oaks Apts., near Santa Fe College. Oak Park: The church has a cookout and baptismal service (in the swimming pool) in the Madison Cove Apartments once or twice per year, to which all the residents are invited and many attend. Before the baptism is a time of praise, worship, and preaching. Blind Pleasant Hill: The church serves as the host church for VIP (Visually Impaired Persons) ministry in which other churches in our association participate. Building Construction and Repair Fellowship: "Big Serve": Twice a year, teams of church members serve schools and non-profit organizations in the community, e.g., they repaired the roof of one person's house, painted the High Springs Community School and Irby Elementary, High Springs Police Dept., Hospice, and constructed wheel chair ramps. The church also does "Little Serves," doing occasional smaller projects. High Springs First: The "100 Club," a group of men in the church, does construction work on the homes of poor people in the community. Living Covenant: Some men build wheelchair ramps. Parkview: The pastor participated in a group of Christians, Jews, and Muslims who helped build a house through the Habitat for Humanity organization. Sardis: Some church members build wheel-chair ramps, about one per quarter. Westside: The church conducts quarterly I-Serve projects, usually about 25 at a time, e.g., painting school classrooms. Children Northwest: A member of the church is involved in the PURE ministry to special-needs children in the church and community. Waldo: Church members made “Moses” baskets for infants going into foster care and gave them to law enforcement and childcare workers. The baskets have all the items an infant would need when removed from a home. (The basket doubles as a bed or bassinet.) Church members have also crocheted dozens of baby bonnets and made quilted baby blankets for the Shands pediatrics unit. Christian Schools Forest Grove: The church operates a Christian school for students in grades pre-K through twelfth grade. High Springs First: The church operates a Christian school for students in preschool through eighth grade. Westside: The church provides Sonshine Day School for preschoolers. Citizenship Evangelica: The church hosted consuls from Mexico and Colombia. About 400 people from those two countries received identification documents. Westside: The church conducts voter registration, distributes voter guides, conducts a candidate forum for local candidates, and participates in the "I Plege" simulcast, encouraging people to vote in the fall election. Crafts Eden: Some church members teach a quilting class. Deaf Northwest and Gainesville First provide sign language for the deaf in worship and Bible study.   Developmentally Disabled Northwest: A member of the church is involved in the PURE ministry to special-needs children in the church and community. Divorce Recovery Westside: A former pastor and his wife teach a thirteen-week course for divorced persons, using curriculum from a national divorce care organization ( Drama Centerpoint: Drama Gators, a drama and puppet troupe, performs for the homeless in downtown Gainesville, tour Florida and the Southeast and go on foreign mission trips. Education Hispana Alachua: The church provided a scholarship for a young girl to attend SFC's College for Kids for ten days, where she studied computers, science, and geography. Mt. Carmel: The church provides tutoring each Saturday during the school year for K-5th grade in its "Saturday School." Oak Park: The pastor edits UF doctoral students' dissertations. Pine Grove: The church has an unusually large library that many homeschooled children use. Family Hispana Gainesville: “Family Day” provides recreation, fun, and food for students and other people in the community whose family members are in other countries. Festivals Eliam: The church participates in city festivals twice a year, at one of which the church erected a colorful, cardboard cutout image of Goliath, allowing people to throw beanbags at a hole in its head as a target to capture people's attention and to allow church members to discuss the Bible with them and share the gospel. Hawthorne First: The church put a float in the city parade and had a booth, allowing church members to tell people about their church and present the gospel. Hispana Gainesville: "Espirtu Latino":  The church provides music and testimonies in downtown Gainesville in this festival. Films Hispana Alachua: A group of UF students is making a film, interviewing immigrants who have had difficulties while in the U.S., telling how the church has helped them. The pastor plans to show the film to churches to make them aware of this situation. Parkview: The church has summer movie nights that people from the community enjoy. Financial Counseling Mt. Carmel: Training is provided for church leaders who will teach others how to handle their personal finances, using the Crown Ministries curriculum. Food Evangelica: (1) The church makes free food available to anyone each Saturday morning. Church members get bread and pastries from twelve Publix supermarkets each Friday morning. They also get food from First Church, Gainesville, UF, and the Shands clinic. The church sells discounted canned food at cost. (2) The church provides food for eight other local churches to distribute. (3) Each Sunday night the church serves hot meals, cooked at Evangelica, to 40-60 homeless people in downtown Gainesville at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. They feed more than a thousand people every weekend through their food ministry! Forest Grove: At the end of some worship services, worshipers can get grocery sacks that hey are asked to bring back full of non- perishable food. Food is given to families needing help. La Crosse: The church invited the La Crosse community to a free meal where the pastor preached and men gave testimonies about their Christian faith. They also gave away non-food items for the home. Lake Butler First: Men in the church have cleared a lot on which church members will plant a garden. Experienced gardeners will teach less experienced ones how to garden and people who know how to can food will teach those who don't. Ultimately, all the food will be given to the poor. River Cross: Church members take empty grocery sacks to homes in the community with instructions enclosed, asking residents to fill the sack with non-perishable food. Then, two weeks later, church members return for the filled sacks and give the food to families who need it. Sardis: The church provides a free meal on Wednesday evenings for children in Awana who cannot afford to pay. Westside: Provides bags of non-perishable food and utensils for people who have no means to cook. Friends Hispana Gainesville: "Friend Day": The church creates joyful, surprise reunions by bringing longtime friends together who have not seen each other in many years. Garden Journey of the Word: The church has an organic garden that members tend. The garden has provided opportunities for the pastor and church members to build relationships with organic gardeners in the community. Parkview: The church continues to provide a community garden on church property, available to people who live in the neighborhood. Grief Recovery Westside: The church plans to provide a course for people experiencing grief, using a curriculum from the same organization that provides divorce care material. Health Cristiana Misionera: A doctor from Gainesville has provided free medical care for church members and people referred by them once each month for the past six years. Faith Tabernacle: The church provides substance abuse education and rehabilitation to people using drugs. In addition, a trained and certified team tests people for HIV. They test hundreds of people annually and share the gospel with all. Waldo First: The Women on Mission organization (1) made special pillowcases and "pillowcase" dresses for cancer patients whose skin is especially tender and (2) made heart-shaped pillows for heart patients. Westside: The Westside Samaritans Clinic provides free medical and dental care for anyone who is uninsured and financially qualified. Holidays Eden: Church members perform Easter and Christmas plays annually. Fellowship: The church conducts Bethlehem Walk, simulating a small town in Jesus' day, before Christmas. Several thousand people visit each year. Living Covenant: The church conducts an Angel Tree at Christmas, providing gifts and evangelism material for children in poor families. Ridgeview: On Christmas Day, the church provides a free meal to people without friends or family nearby. Sardis:  (1) The church gives food baskets to poor people and leads a community Thanksgiving service in Lake Butler. (2) The church gives Christmas presents each year to families referred by church members. Internationals North Central: A group of church members meets each Wednesday evening at the church to help adult internationals practice their English conversational skills while their children attend Awana meetings. Parkview: The church conducts a conversational English ministry to internationals through the International Learning Center that is open twice weekly and also provides English teaching in a Wednesday night program. Westside: Church members find and deliver furniture to international college students. Job Preparation Mt. Carmel: A computer is available in the church office for anyone to use in seeking employment from the Florida Works web site. An assistant is available to help anyone who needs help browsing the web site. Language Training for English Speakers Eliam and Hispana Gainesville: The pastor of Hispana Gainesville teaches Spanish classes to Eliam church members to help them minister more effectively while on foreign mission trips and locally. Men Living Covenant: The men meet regularly for Bible study, prayer, and spiritual and moral encouragement, using Man in the Mirror Ministries curriculum. About forty men are involved, including many from outside the church. Mentoring Faith Tabernacle: The church uses Boys to Men and Sister to Sister programs to mentor about 30-40 teenagers. Mt. Carmel: The church provides weekly "God's Girls" and "Imanni," "rites of passage" programs for girls and boys respectively. Ministerial Training Pleasanthill: The pastor operates the North Florida Theological Seminary for African-American pastors and laypeople weekly. Westside: By fall of 2013, the church expects to initiate an intern program for Baptist College of Florida and Northeast Baptist College (in Vermont) students who will work full-time with an assigned church staff member for one semester and receive school credit. Mobile Home Park Waldo: The church leads a Bible study in a mobile home park weekly. Music Eden: The church offers church-wide "sings" for the community. Filipino: The pastor teaches guitar lessons. Hispana Alachua: The pastor provided recorder lessons for five children during the summer. New Hope: The church plans to create a band, giving musicians an opportunity to play with others. Oak Park: The pastor provides piano lessons for about twenty UF students at Maguire Village International Student Housing at UF.   New Churches Gainesville First: The church serves as a partner church with Greater Faith Church in downtown Gainesville. Oak Park: The churches serves as a partner church with Vintage Faith Church, Chiefland. River Cross: The pastor and a team lead the new River Cross Church at Jonesville, meeting on Sunday afternoons. Westside: The church plans to create satellite churches in the church's recreation center, in Newberry, and at the Paramount Hotel on south 13th Street in Gainesville. Picnic Summit: The church conducts an annual picnic in which people from the community eat and mingle with church members. Prisoners and/or Their Families Eden: A church member preaches each Sunday night at a juvenile detention center. Faith Tabernacle: The pastor teaches a Bible study in the Lawtey prison each Saturday in which 200 men participate. Pine Grove: The pastor regularly visits the North Florida Treatment Center to counsel prisoners with psychiatric problems. Recreation Eliam: Men from the church and community play basketball weekly and provide a Bible study for participants. Filipino: (1) The pastor teaches a Japanese/Filipino (singkaw) style Aikido to international adults and children.  (2) The pastor also plays in a Filipino basketball league with men from his church. (3) The pastor rides mountain bikes with other riders from the community along bicycle trails in Gainesville, Alachua, and Ocala. Hispana Gainesville: Young men play in a Hispanic basketball league. Living Covenant: Men play in a community softball league (not a church league) and ask players on opposing team to pray with them after games. Mt Carmel: A deacon and swimming coach provides a swimming camp for two weeks for children during the summer. Oak Park: The church organized and enlisted six churches to participate in the Pray Then Play sports league for children and teenagers. Parkview: A church staff member is an instructor in an archery club for teenagers. Westside: (1) The church's recreation program and facilities are available for anyone in the community for $65 for individuals and $85 per family for a year. (2) People outside the church can also join Upward sports programs (basketball, flag football, soccer, and cheerleading) for a nominal fee. (3) The church is in an Upward league with North Central Church and Trinity UMC. (4) The church offers an adult league offering basketball and indoor soccer. Most participants are non-members. Schools Forest Grove and Summit: The churches worked together to conduct a back-to-school event in a High Springs park for about 125 children. Lake Butler First: (1) The church recognized the local high school baseball team's state championship by giving them a 4x8-foot congratulatory banner for their field. (2) The church hosted school staff at a luncheon. (3) Church staff are chaplains with school sports teams. Living Covenant: Church youth take gifts and meals to three local public schools. Mt. Carmel: At Duval Elementary School, the church will provide a beginning-of-the-year lunch for teachers and administrators. North Central: A team of church members refurbished the teachers' lounge in the Hidden Oaks Elem. School. River Cross: Several church members have been ministering at the Lake Forest Elementary School in east Gainesville for seven years, providing snacks during FCAT week, gifts to teachers and administrators, and Christmas gifts for children to give their parents. The church also conducts a Christmas food drive, has paid for field trips for several classes, tutors 3rd-5th graders weekly, and has renovated the teachers' lounge. Results: Some teachers have come to the pastor with personal problems, asking for his advice and the pastor was asked to pray at a teachers' meeting. One black teacher told the pastor that seeing white people helping them is very important to black children, many of whom never see white people besides police officers or someone who turns off the electrical power to their houses. Sardis: The church collects and provides student supplies at the Lake Butler Elementary School. The pastor and church staff present devotions and a prayer breakfast at middle and high schools in Union County as well as a prayer luncheon for school board members. Summit: At the High Springs Community School (K through eighth grade), the church: (1) Provides money for miscellaneous school needs. (2) Gave about $1000 for special needs, such as a child's glasses and a washing machine to a family. (3) Helped with awards ceremonies and activities about three times a year. (4) Has given gifts to teachers and administrators twice a year. (5) Helped with the Christmas store at a school. (6) Provides mentoring for students by two members of the church. Westside: The church has adopted Idylwild School in east Gainesville, providing food for students during school breaks, painting classrooms, and providing backpacks for students. They plan to offer a basketball clinic in the fall of 2012. Shut-ins Hispana Gainesville: "Grandpa Day": Church members take senior adult men on fun outings, such as movies, meals, and recreation. Pleasanthill: The church hosts outings and other events for elderly shut-ins. Teenagers Ridgeview: Several church members visit Interface weekly, a home for children and teenagers who have been abused by adults. They use object lessons and participatory music to involve the youth in their program and they pray for them. Veterans Korean: The church conducts an annual Korean War Veterans' recognition service, providing a program and a meal for veterans and their families. Yard work Eliam: The church youth group cleans homes and yards of senior adults in the community. High Springs First: The church youth group does yard work occasionally during the summer for people who cannot do the work themselves.
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Interesting and Unusual Ministries