With so many tragic changes in society, such as job loss, disability and mental illness, more and more Americans are finding themselves to be residents of the streets. While there are countless agencies servicing the needs of the homeless, there is always room for one more to step up to the plate. On Sunday, July 31st, Pastor Terry Brooks and his congregation at Bayview Baptist Church took ministry to the streets, calling it “Servicing Outside of the Sanctuary.” S.O.S. is a mission service of the church, which is fueled by the belief that the church must respond to the needs of God’s children beyond the sanctuary. On Sunday morning, members who attend the 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services gathered at the church, at the respective service times, and joined their Senior Pastor and other congregants in prayer and worship. Immediately following intercession, all headed downtown in their personal vehicles, or by caravan to service the needs of those less fortunate.

Near the Neil Good Day Center on 17th Street, Brooks and congregants distributed nutritional snacks, water, tents, sleeping bags, clean underwear, socks, and sanitary products in the form of aid packages. Having spent part of the previous evening on site, and the entire day Sunday, downtown, Pastor Brooks was pleased to be able to help afford so many the simple necessities most take for granted. “It’s been amazing and eye opening. It’s been heartbreaking, and frustrating. It’s been a lot of things,” he shared. “Here you see the real plight and things you take for granted, like maybe young people complaining about making their beds, but then here you see young people that don’t have beds – but have a smile on their face,” he added. “It’s been great for the church to actually get out and be the church, because communication without demonstration is dead. This is my attempt to give people hope and prayerfully others will join us next time.” Initially when God placed the concept on Pastor Brooks’ heart, he assumed his congregants wouldn’t be interested, but they proved him wrong. “They made a fool out of me,” he laughed. “They came, and they came in big numbers. We’ve had over 500 volunteers.”

That day, Bayview had prepared to meet the aid of 500 people, all without the assistance of government funds or programs. Herman Collins, an active congregant at the ministry shared “Bayview is doing this because God saved us to serve.” For more information on this ministry making a difference, visit www.bayviewbc.org