How We Do Missions
“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 CEB
In the book of Acts, Luke records these words of Jesus.
At First Baptist Church, we believe that there is something to the ordering of Jesus’ words. Jerusalem, the city, comes first. Then the larger regions of Judea and Samaria. Then the ends of the earth. We are called to minister to all of these in some way, but first and foremost, to the city in which we find ourselves.
Missions in Middlesboro, Ky
First Baptist Church was founded in 1889—the same year as the City of Middlesboro. The congregation and the city grew up together, have seen some of the best of times and worst of times together, and continue to live together today in our mutual maturity.
At First Baptist, you will find a congregation that believes that a central part of the reason for our existence is service to the community of Middlesboro. Some of the ways in which we do this work are: We are a founding member and the largest financial supporter of the Cooperative Christian Ministry. We take our financial and volunteer partnership with CCM very seriously. With CCM, we do ministry work in Middlesboro in the following ways:
- Operate a food pantry for persons experiencing hunger
- Operate a low-cost clothing store for persons experiencing poverty
- Run a food program for low-income senior citizens
- Provide assistance into affordable housing to families experiencing homelessness
- Provide assistance to individuals seeking treatment and rehabilitation services for addiction
- Provide a weekly community dinner in the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall for persons experiencing hunger or poverty
Other local ministries supported by First Baptist Church include:
- A partnership with the Juvenile Justice Group Home in Middlesboro
- Clothing and school supplies drives for Middlesboro Elementary School
- Christmas Food Baskets for families experiencing poverty
- Anger management courses at the Bell County Detention Center
“In Judea and Samaria”
Missions in the Commonwealth of Kentucky
First Baptist Church proudly chooses to affiliate with the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky at Georgetown College and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Kentucky (CBFKY). These state-level Baptist associations do much meaningful work for which we provide financial and volunteer support in the following ways:
- We support financially the work of educating clergy for congregational ministry in the 21st century at the progressive Baptist Seminary of Kentucky.
- We support financially and with volunteer hours the work of building a home in one of Kentucky’s poorest counties (McCreary) each year through CBFKY’s Extreme Build ministry. Think Habitat for Humanity—it’s like that.
- We provide financial and volunteer support to associational missionaries and ministers like Rev. Scarlett Jasper, Rev. Karen Thomas Smith, and Rev. Bob Fox, who do ministry on behalf of persons experiencing poverty and racial injustice at home and abroad.
“And to the ends of the earth.”
Missions Around the World
Since 1981 when First Baptist Church did away with the practice of re-baptizing Christians of other denominations before admitting them as members, and 1986 when First Baptist Church ordained the first woman deacon in Bell County, the congregation has had little relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention. Since it was founded in 1990, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has been the denominational home of First Baptist Church. In the CBF, we find other “free and faithful” Baptists with whom we can partner to do global mission work without the constraints of hierarchically-driven polity or fundamentalist theologies.
First Baptist Church also supports financially the critically important and historic work of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C. As the BJC says it: “A threat to anyone’s religious liberty is a threat to everyone’s religious liberty” and “The separation of church and state is good for both.”