In a recent informal email and social media survey, church members repeatedly said “the people” as the reason they feel First Baptist Church of Eupora is a great place to worship God and live in mission together.
“FBC Eupora is a GREAT church because of its people,” said Charles McClellan, member and deacon at FBC Eupora. “The people here care about each other. I am always proud to answer when someone asks me where do I attend church…Eupora FBC.”
FBC member and Sunday School teacher, Joyce Yates said she has attended First Baptist Church since her marriage to Bill in 1976.
“My three children accepted Christ within this church,” Yates said. “At First Baptist Church, I love being with God’s people who worship, love, fellowship, pray and strengthen one another. I have been present at this church for regular Sunday and Wednesday activities, weddings, funerals, cantatas, revivals, baptisms, Vacation Bible School and so many other Christian events. Belonging to FBC is an integral part of my belief in the fellowship of Christ, serving Him in celebration of His love, mercy and grace.”
For many in attendance at First Baptist Church of Eupora, Sunday morning is their “favorite time of the week” to come together with their small groups. As part of their Sunday School experience, they share what God is doing in their lives and the lives of their family, study and discuss the Bible, pray for one another and find ways to make an impact in the community – sometimes in a big way, but many times, in small meaningful ways.
It is impactful for everyone in the church to watch a Sunday School class help a family whose house recently burned, adopt an “Angel” from the tree or bring casseroles for supper every night to a family recovering from an automobile accident. Church members will say it is the smaller “mission” projects that have the biggest impact, on the giver as well as the recipient.
But working as a group to make a difference on the community also has its rewards. Giving away the fixings for a Thanksgiving Dinner brings one Men’s Sunday School class together to see the needs of the poor and elderly in our community. Another class is heavily involved in The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event and works together year-round to raise funds and make an impact for the greater good.
“Since the 1960’s, First Baptist Church of Eupora has been a spiritual haven for our families,” FBC Eupora church members, Clayton and Linda Allen agreed. “All of our children were baptized here and through the years, it has been a great church family for us. It has been a place to worship and to spread the good news of our Lord.”
The entire church participates in collecting “Items of the Month” for Operation Christmas Child, which provides shoe box gifts and the love of Jesus Christ to needy children around the world. While church members have always been very generous in participating in the project on an individual basis, this year, everyone is contributing in a wide variety of ways to have enough gifts for an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party set for Nov. 6. The packing party goal is year is 100 boy shoe boxes, 100 girl shoe boxes and 100 baby shoe boxes. Church members have been sharing their crafts and shopping talents to contribute to the goal. Beginning in January, the Prayer Shawl Ministry began making scarves and knit hats for the boxes, several older members are also knitting scarves, crafters are making wooden puzzles and many, many church members are sharing the great deals they are finding on toothpaste, toothbrushes, children’s clothing, soap and holiday toys. The response has been amazing. And as church members bring by plastic boxes and stuffed animals, they are filling up a special storage area and may have to carve out a little more space to house the generous contributions. Church leaders feel that is a great problem to have. Members are having a great time contributing to a great ministry, without having to think about it “right at holiday time.”
A new Wednesday night program is bringing the church together in a whole new way. Just launched in September, MISSION: WEDNESDAY, is designed to “reach the mission field in our own backyard.”
Wednesday nights have always been a popular night for children and youth at FBC Eupora, but it had become very apparent this past year that many children and youth attending the missions programming knew very little about God. Leaders felt many children didn’t understand the point of local and foreign missions because of a lack of basic understanding of the Bible and the Christian faith. They realized the children were not all on the same level of understanding about faith and the love of God.
After Vacation Bible School, church leadership began creating a program that will provide an introduction to the Bible, the basics of the Christian faith and give children a better understanding of why missions at home and around the world are important. It is an opportunity to reinforce some of the basics for the children who had more understanding, while serving as an introduction for other children in the group.
The pastor invited adults to be part of the new program, and the response has been overwhelming. While it is still a very new program, church leaders are encouraged by the church members who are excited to impact the lives of children and youth in our community.
Church leaders say the level of excitement and willingness to volunteer is a prime example of why the people of First Baptist Church of Eupora are some of the best people in the community.
“(Our daughter) Holly said recently, ‘I’m so glad my roots were in the First Baptist Church.’ She feels as all four of us do that it is a caring, loving church that has blessed our family in so many ways for 42 years,” said FBC Eupora church member Susan Edwards.
Yvonne Hitt summed up the general consensus of members and regular attenders at First Baptist Church of Eupora, by saying, “I love to worship here.”
Join the family at First Baptist Church of Eupora this week. Everyone agrees Sunday School is where “the good stuff happens,” and it begins at 9:45 a.m. on Sundays. Morning worship begins at 11 a.m. and evening worship at 6 p.m. Sundays. MISSION: WEDNESDAY begins at 4:45 p.m. with supper at 5 p.m. at $2 per plate for children and adults. There are many opportunities for Bible Study, mission studies, handbells, student praise band, worship choir as well as special events throughout the year. For more information about the ministries of First Baptist Church of Eupora and to find ways to make an impact in our community, go to www.fbceupora.com, follow us on Twitter or join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/group/FirstBaptistEupora.
~ published in At Home Webster County, October 2013 FBC Eupora