It seems like a lot of churches these days emphasize the truth of Scripture to “love your neighbor”, yet have a difficulty living that out where it matters most – right around the corner. At Ridgecrest Baptist Church (Madison, MS), like many other large churches, there is an emphasis on reaching out, “even to the ends of the earth.” Although foreign missions is an integral part of their work in the kingdom, Ridgecrest and their Crest High School Ministry are determined to not to forget the people of their city, outlying area, or within their very own state.
For the second year, the Crest High School Ministry made the short hour-long journey south on Highway 49 to Mount Olive, MS to assist their fellow workers Tony and Shannon Duckworth with a week of tutoring, VBS, and community outreach from June 8 -12. Because of proximity, Wes Tankersley (Crest High School Minister) was able to take advantage of his available youth and leadership, who couldn’t invest an entire week, by transporting them to the location for VBS each day. This allowed the students to connect with the children of Mount Olive Ministries on a more individual basis and also give the Duckworth’s and their volunteers the rest and ability to focus on other tasks as needed.
In many ways, this is exactly what Tankersley believes they were sent there for. He noted, “The Holy Spirit led us to be involved with MOM over a year ago and we just want to serve in whatever way pleases Him.” Throughout the course of the week, the children seemed to be receptive and it was evident that God was working in several hearts. In fact, the presence of this group from Ridgecrest allowed Pastor Tony the time to invest in some of his young men, several of which gave their hearts to the Lord. On Thursday night, during the Second Annual Summer Picnic led by the Crest, several adults were led to the Lord as a result of children being drawn to the evening of food, music, and games.
“Mt. Olive is a consistent reminder that God is at work everywhere and that we cannot forget our neighbors, even if there is a great need overseas. If we neglect to minister to our very own, I believe it may be suspect if we truly love God and believe what He says,” Tankersley shared. Let us also be reminded that we have neighbors and that no matter what their social status, reputation, or religious background we have a privilege as children of God to demonstrate the love of Jesus to them.