By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
LAKE CHARLES, La. (LBM) – Each Saturday morning, Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Fellowship Church’s parking lot is transformed into a massive feeding operation where up to 150 Lake Charles area motorists line up to receive a boxed meal, some as early as three hours before the official start.
Since opening the parking lot ministry in September to serve individuals impacted by Hurricane Laura, the church whose worship attendance averages 15 members, has seen God move mightily, according to church pastor. Their efforts to show Christ’s love has encouraged many food recipients and even has led to 20 professions of faith.
“The church is in worship on Sunday but on Saturday the church is working,” Pastor Clyde Lewis told the Baptist Message. “You see the cars line up around the building and block and it just fires me up.
“The thing I keep pushing to my members is this is our assignment,” he continued. “We are called to the people’s business. People matter to God so people have to matter to us. You can’t do it unless they are your passion. When you talk about people, it’s all people. Jesus has called us to love all people. You get a chance to minister to people not just by telling them about Christ but through your actions.”
Lewis, who has been pastor of Bethel Metropolitan Baptist for 10 years, said his members have embraced a call to reach others with the Gospel. They distribute food to the homeless each month, host gatherings for the community at a nearby civic center, serve meals to pastors several times a year, assemble care packages for inmates and perform acts of kindness to law enforcement and firefighters.
“The Lord blesses you when you are blessing and being a light to the community,” Lewis said. “He will never let a church fail that will serve others. Churches that die are churches that aren’t reaching people but churches that are committed to reach people and the Great Commission tend to be around for a long time.”
Lewis expressed gratitude for the prayers and support of others, including Louisiana Baptists and the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering. He said funds given through the annual offering help equip his church to further impact their community for Christ.
“I appreciate Louisiana Baptists for their commitment to helping us reach others,” Lewis said. “The Georgia Barnette Offering has been a great help in helping our churches and helping this city of Lake Charles during this difficult time. We are so appreciative and thankful for your support and partnership with us.”
Sept. 12-19 has been set aside as the Week of Prayer for state missions and ministries. Resources, including videos demonstrating the scope and impact of the Georgia Barnette Offering have been mailed to churches across the state. Additional resources are available online at www.GeorgiaBarnette.org. This year’s offering goal is $1.7 million.