Posted in Missions | By Tim Wheat | Posted on Wed Apr 21, 2021
It was a phenomenal week of GIC!
We welcomed 37 missionaries to Birmingham, ministry partners from local contexts, church planters from across North America, and missionaries from three continents. We embraced church members who have been called through GIC as they returned to help us celebrate 20 years of a global legacy at Shades.
Posted in Missions | By Tim Wheat | Posted on Fri Mar 26, 2021
Update: 12 p.m., Tuesday, March 30
Birmingham Metro Command Centers:
- Indian Springs -- email@example.com; (334) 261-8620
- Huffman -- firstname.lastname@example.org; (334) 261-8616
- Bibb County -- email@example.com; (334) 261-8648
Samaritan’s Purse has their command center set up at FBC Pelham and is allowing volunteers to work with them this week. Anyone wanting to help with cleanup efforts can work a morning or afternoon shift. Those wanting to help in the mornings need to be at the FBC Pelham Annex at 7:30 am for training. Those who want to work the afternoon shift will need to be there at 12:30 pm for training. You can find more information at (205) 410-7311.
In Columbiana, for those that are uninsured, the Shelby Baptist Association is collecting furniture, clothing, and household items. Contact Keith Brown, the Ministry Center Director, or Rebekah Parr with the Shelby Association at (205) 669-7858
Update: 8 a.m., Saturday, March 27
The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and Birmingham Metro Baptist Association have set up a volunteer center at Huffman Baptist Church. You can visit 700 Huffman Road, Birmingham, to assist needs in that area. Also, Oak Mountain High School is no longer accepting donations due to the response already received. Distribution of items is today until 5 p.m. Finally, to learn more about additional service opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in Missions | By Tim Wheat | Posted on Thu Dec 10, 2020
No doubt that 2020 is a year that will long be remembered! For many, those memories will undoubtedly include the challenges from the political and social unrest as well as the impact of COVID-19. Yet, even in the midst of all that has happened, hope is alive! Christmas brings us the message of hope and because of that, this Christmas could be one that is long remembered. You could very well be a part of not only changing someone’s Christmas but also changing their eternity. Listed below are several ways that you make this a Christmas to remember for someone who needs the Gospel.
- While we’re socially distanced, give even more time to praying by name for folks to turn to Christ. The apostle Paul said his heart’s desire and prayer for Israel was that they be saved (Rom 10:1). As God breaks our heart over particular people, that ought to be our prayer as well.
- Put a reminder ornament in honor of someone on the tree. This can be a fun project with kids or a special ornament you purchase. Each time you see it, it is to be a reminder to pray for that someone. Hopefully later, when they receive Christ you can give it to them as a way to remember their decision and your prayers.
- Practice telling the Gospel. If you aren’t able to socialize with others as much as you would like, use the time to practice telling the Gospel. One of the most effective tools for sharing the Gospel is called Three Circles. Here is a video showing the presentation and a number of different people sharing it.
- Meet someone new. One of the reasons some people don’t share the Gospel with people they know is that are afraid of rejection from someone they know. Look for an opportunity this Christmas to meet someone new and in so doing simply ask them, “Do you know the real meaning of Christmas?” Use this question to then share with them about Jesus.
- Use your Christmas letter to tell the story of Jesus. Many of us receive numbers of holiday letters, and we learn what people have been doing through the last year. This year, focus your Christmas letter on Christ and His blessings more than on yourself.
- Put an “invite” card in the gift you exchange. We have prepared some cards that can be picked up at the Connection Desk. (Or just make your own.) This can be simple way to invite people to join us online or in-person for our services. These cards are small to keep in your wallet or purse to use anytime.
- Be up front about offering the greatest gift ever given. Contact a loved one or friend, and say up front: “This Christmas I’d love to take ten minutes to tell you what Jesus, the greatest gift ever given, means to me. Would you allow me that privilege?” Somebody might give you that opportunity.
- Give simple gospel gifts to your unchurched family members or neighbors. Even while maintaining social distancing, give a filled stocking to your neighbors, and include a simple book or tract about the truth of Christmas. Don’t overwhelm your unchurched neighbors, but get the gospel in their hands.
- Do servant evangelism during this season. Servant evangelism is doing good deeds in Jesus’ name, with the hope of gaining an opportunity to share the gospel. Shovel a friend’s driveway for no charge. Scrape the ice from a car windshield. Offer to shop for a non-believing elderly friend or family member. In so doing, have a conversation with them about Jesus and leave an invite card.
- Work with your church, local social services, or schools to assist an impoverished family. Meet some needs, especially for families who’ve lost employment this year. Show them the love of God through your actions, and ask permission to explain why you’re doing what you do: because Jesus came to earth and died on our behalf.
- Use social media to do more than wish others a Merry Christmas. The greeting is fine, but do more than that: talk about how much your relationship with the Son of God born in Bethlehem means to you. Do it briefly but clearly.
- Focus on sharing the gospel with non-believing family members. When it’s tougher these days to invite co-workers, neighbors, and friends into our homes, give attention to those closest to you—whether they live with you or elsewhere. You may find that the stress of 2020 makes somebody you love more open to the gospel.
Merry Christmas and let’s make this Christmas one that will always be remembered!
Posted in Missions | By Tim Wheat | Posted on Sun Aug 23, 2020
What moment has changed your life? For some the first thing that comes to mind is your wedding day or the birth of a child. For others, it might be a loss of some sort or an unexpected incident. Our lives are a series of moments that influence and shape who we are. As we continue our evangelistic emphasis of ONE Month, we have the opportunity to create a moment that could not only change a life, it could literally change their eternity. Just as Philip stepped into a moment with the Ethiopian eunuch which changed his life (Acts 8:26-38), you have that opportunity as well. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a moment like that!
This week, would you step into a moment for the sake of the gospel? Many of you share the gospel on a regular basis, so this is second nature to you. However, others will feel a little awkward and uncomfortable and will avoid these moments. Don’t let those feelings prevent you from a special moment. ONE moment is about being a blessing to someone that can then lead to the gospel. To help you make the most of ONE moment, please consider the suggestions below:
- Prepare by picking up a card or writing a note of encouragement to be able to hand to someone. A suggested script could be:
- My name is “first name.” Everyone could use a blessing these days, and I just wanted to pass along a little blessing to you. Your life matters. You were created by a loving God for a purpose. Not sure what kind of day you are having, but I am praying for you. I would love to encourage you in a relationship with Jesus by inviting you to join me at my church, Shades Mountain Baptist Church. www.shades.org.
- If possible, consider picking up a gift card for $5-10 to a coffee shop or sandwich place and include it in the card.
- Ask God to give you courage and sensitivity to create a conversation at some point this week.
- Determine a place and time where you will be intentional in starting a conversation. For example, this may be when you go to the grocery store. Instead of going through the self-check-out lane, go through a lane with workers. It could be a gas station and instead pay-at-the-pump, go inside to pay to interact with the person working. Or, it could be at your ONE Place.
- Step into the moment by introducing yourself and move the conversation to the point of saying, “I just want to pass along a little encouragement” and give them the note. If they ask what this is for, then simply say what is in the card but see this as opportunity to talk more about the ONE by saying something like, “I am so thankful for my relationship with Jesus and I am wanting others to know him as well. If you have a moment, I would love to share with you about what Jesus means to me.”
- If they say they don’t have time, then say, “No problem, nice to meet you, and may God bless you.” Say a prayer for them. Write their name down. Go back another time and look for them again to have more conversations.
- If they say, “sure” then briefly share when you asked you Jesus into your life and what he has provided for you (i.e. hope, guidance, love, eternal life, etc).
- Then ask if they would like to have Jesus in their life? If they say, “not now”, go back to #5.
- If they say, “yes” then lead them through a prayer of forgiveness of sins, surrender to Jesus, and guidance for their life. Be sure and celebrate them and invite them to church.
- Then go back to #5.
- We would love to know if you had a “ONE moment” this week, so please text “one moment” to (205) 749-7244 and follow the prompt.
Posted in Missions | By Tim Wheat | Posted on Tue May 12, 2020
This past weekend, we participated in a Food Drive-Thru to help restock the food supply for Christian Service Mission. What an incredible experience! Not only was it such a blessing to see some 350 cars of smiling, waving people, it was an even greater blessing to see the amount of food you provided.
All in all, you gave 12,561 pounds of food. That's more than six tons of food which will go to feed thousands of individuals in the greater Birmingham area. The food drive is an expression of what it means to live sent. Through the simple act of buying and bringing food, you all showed the love of Christ in a real and tangible way.
Posted in Missions | By Tim Wheat | Posted on Wed Apr 29, 2020
On Saturday, May 9, we're holding a food drive-thru in partnership with Christian Service Mission.
Church, you've done such a phenomenal job finding ways to live sent during COVID-19, but this is an opportunity for the everyone. And you'll get to see our staff team! We'll have familiar faces at each drop-off location waving to you and unloading your groceries.
The team at CSM is running low on food to distribute to the needy, so we're encouraging every family to go to the store and purchase groceries (canned and boxed grocery items are acceptable). They've met food needs for approximately 5,000 people to date during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to honor and support their efforts in loving our city!
There's no limit to the amount each person can bring, so let's join together to support this wonderful ministry!
- Any canned or boxed food that is non-perishable … baby food, children, adults is accepted. Specific items are: canned beans, canned vegetables, canned salmon, tuna, chicken, canned soups, chili’s, stews, fruits, canned ravioli, spaghetti, rice, oatmeal, grits, peanut butter, jelly, cereal bars, pop tarts, protein bars, snack items, coffee, and tea. However, any food will be accepted as long as it is contained and sealed. Items in jars are least preferred because of potential breakage.
- Please have items boxed or sacked in a trunk or tailgate for easy unload.
- You can drop off your items from 10 a.m. to noon on May 9th at the two following locations at Shades!
Two locations to receive food:
- North Entrance
- Preschool Drive-Thru
Posted in Missions | By Tim Wheat | Posted on Wed Apr 8, 2020
What an incredible season we are in! How history records these days can be largely shaped by how the church responds in both faith and action. God is using you to advance the mission in amazing and powerful ways as you live sent in your neighborhoods -- keep it up!
In addition to your stories, below are a few simple ways to engage in the mission of God beyond the neighborhood in these days of social distancing and restrictions.
Even with the recent “Shelter-in-Place” guidelines, we have the ability to continue to serve in specific ways. Religious and non-profit organizations that are serving the essential needs of the community are permitted to carry on those functions as long as they don’t violate the state mandate of no more than 10 in a gathering and six feet of separation when you do gather. We, along with our partners, are adhering to those guidelines. Our services of providing food and other essential items to our mission partners who are serving the physical and emotional needs of the community allow us to continue to serve them in the ways we list on our website.
Our greatest response during COVID-19 may actually be the hundreds of stories of how individuals and families are living sent. Whether it be chalk drawings to pray, making cookies for health care workers with notes of encouragement, or prayer walking your street to meet neighbors to invite to join you in one of the three online services … you are living sent and the mission of God is advancing.
We are partnering with a number of local mission groups to serve the greater Birmingham area. Here is a sampling of what Shades members have done, and are doing, as a church family:
- Each Friday 75-125, “weekend sack lunches” are prepared and delivered to Green Valley Elementary School to provide meals for children through the weekend.
- Three times a week (M,W,F), at least 50 individual sack lunches are prepared by Shades members and dropped off that goes to feed the homeless population in Birmingham through Urban Purpose.
- Twice a week (T,Th), sacks of groceries are bought by Shades members and being dropped off, repackaged, and boxed up with enough food for four to five individuals. These are then distributed to churches and groups who are serving families in lower income areas and the elderly through Christian Service Mission.
- Working alongside our church plant, Antioch Community Church, we've begun intentional efforts to serve and care for the health care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19. A number of ideas are being organized such as encouragement notes, providing for childcare needs, prayer teams focused on different specialties, goodies like cookies delivered to the offices, maybe even “favorites” given out, etc.
- Additional opportunities each week are also available in partnership with Serving You Ministry.
- Finally, each week for Shades supported missionaries and church planters are contacted for updates and prayer needs. Join others who are praying for them on a regular basis through their updates found here!
These serving opportunities are updated on a weekly basis on the Volunteer site of our web page. Would you pray and ask God what you can do? Then check out the page and select a time and way to serve our community through one of our partners.
Personally, I am thankful to be a part of such a wonderful family of believers who have been led well "for such a time as this!" Our world has changed, but His mission hasn’t. This season of crisis is to be the church's finest hour. May we embrace this opportunity … may we be the church … may we live sent!
Posted in Missions | By Tim Wheat | Posted on Thu Mar 19, 2020
Although the world of personal connection and ministry seems to be literally changing every day, our mission as followers of Jesus is still the same. “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you…” are words that have relevance across time, culture, and place. This pandemic did not catch the Father off guard so we can trust that He has a plan and desire to use it for His Glory and our good. So how are we to live as “sent” people in a world that is shutting down, quarantined, and becoming more isolated? Below are suggestions intended to provide some initial thoughts. These suggestions are not to contradict the wisdom of officials and leaders in regards to gathering in groups but simple ways of how best to live our lives while still loving our neighbor in the midst of these days.
Posted in Missions | By Kevin Naylor | Posted on Wed May 22, 2019
“Plant a church at UAB.”
Those were not words I ever expected to hear from God.
Yet here we are four months in to watching God do something amazing. The call came in March 2018 followed by months of prayerful consideration and assessment. In October 2018 we shared publicly with the Shades family the vision and invited you to pray about joining us. And on January 20, 2019 we held our first Core Team Gathering.
What We've Been Up To
Over these past few months God has assembled a Core Team of 41 adults and 10 children. All life stages are represented in this team which was a major answer to prayer. Our desire is to be a multi-generational church focused on reaching the next generation.
Continuing to meet every Sunday afternoon for worship and missional training we moved into our initial outreach phase in March. We launched Antioch Families. These are our vehicle for missional engagement. One of the convictions God has given us is the importance of attractional communities not simply attractional events. Jesus said, “ By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) So, we want to give those far from God the opportunity to see the gospel through the body of Christ in a non-threatening atmosphere.
An Antioch Family is a co-ed group of 10-20 people that meets in a home and includes two things: dinner and conversation. It provides a welcoming atmosphere for those far from God to belong and it provides an easy ask for us with our lost friends: “Want to come to a dinner party?”
As people are invited to belong we invite them to believe through reading the Bible together and hearing the gospel.
Since we launched our first three Antioch Families in March we have seen 20 unchurched or de-churched people visit a Family. Of those 20 people include students from India, Nepal, and Taiwan. By God’s grace we are even beginning to see lost people bring other lost people. And God has led one lost student to begin reading the Bible with one of our students.
God is also beginning to answer our prayer for a cultural diverse church. We recently just had a student from Ghana join our church!
How to Get Involved
- Join our Prayer Team. There are 60+ people praying for Antioch everyday. We know that church planting and making disciples is not suited for human wisdom. We need God’s presence, leadership, and wisdom. Would you consider praying for us on a daily basis?
- Volunteer. Throughout the year there will be opportunities to serve with us through set up and tear down as well as helping with events.
Let us know here if you are interested in supporting us in either of these ways.
How to Pray
- Meeting space. We are on the hunt for God’s place for us to gather for worship this fall. Pray for God to provide the right place.
- Relationships with the lost. Pray for God to continue grow our heart for the lost. Pray for opportunities to build new friendships and deepen current ones. Pray that we’d see many students far from Jesus come to know and love him.
Shades Family, thank you for your prayer, encouragement, and support. I am grateful for you.
Posted in Missions | By Shades Staff | Posted on Wed Mar 14, 2018
Global Impact Celebration is a week of connection, encouragement, learning, and renewal for all of us. But sometimes, there are God-ordained moments that make the week a memory for both missionary guests and church members. Below, you'll read recollections from Ed Traverse, pastor of Lifepoint Church in Westerville, Ohio and Greg Ott, a member here at Shades, about a unique connection between them.