Reflections upon “Serve the ‘burg”

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

by Casey Seaman

Church at The Mill’s Global Missions Conference has taken many forms over the last several years. In the past, it has been a time for Church at The Mill to host missionaries from all over
our city, state, country and world, in an effort to give members insight into the work of our ministry partners and to show them our support.

In 2018, the conference took a turn inward as we focused on local ministries in our “Jerusalem.” Church at The Mill had the opportunity to hear from ministry partners all over
Spartanburg and to serve in a few of those ministries.

This year, as our campus was in the midst of construction and change, the Missions Conference changed to focus solely on service in the community for a chance to link arms with more local ministries. This effort, deemed “Serve the ‘burg,” became an opportunity for the people of Church at The Mill to be missionaries within our own community.

“Serve the ‘burg” offered an opportunity for every skillset, ranging in construction, painting, cleaning, outreach, and art projects. The projects included painting at Miracle Hill; working with children through Sidewalk Hop; sorting clothing and working on other projects at Greater Spartanburg Ministries; sorting and cleaning at P.S. I love you Ministries; helping Carolina
Pregnancy Center prepare for an upcoming fundraiser; construction, painting, and landscaping projects at Church at The Mill’s Mission House; construction for JumpStart Ministry’s
transitional home; some had the opportunity to paint inspirational canvases for those homes. In addition, a large group of volunteers participated in an outreach event for a local Hispanic
community.

Teresa Caruso served with Sidewalk Hope. She explained, “I was nervous at first about this project, even though I work with children every day! God taught me to trust Him, and He would guide my direction, my words, and my actions.” Marc Zachary also worked with Sidewalk Hope. He said that he chose that ministry because he works with some of those same kids on a daily basis as the principal at their school. “Even though my week is busy, going into their context and just being with our kids was rewarding,” Marc said.

Rick Cohan worked with the construction project at JumpStart, a ministry that serves current and former prisoners and assists them with re-entry into society. Rick worked alongside some
of the men who are in the program. “It’s very easy to tell that God has changed them from the inside, and it was a real blessing to get to know them and hear some of their stories,” he said.
Rick, along with many who served during “Serve the ‘burg,” left with a lesson from God. After working with JumpStart that Saturday morning, Rick came away with this: “We are responsible
for our past actions, but those past actions do not define who we are now in Christ. God has a purpose for each and every one of us who choose to follow Jesus.”

Sandy Thompson worked at Church at The Mill creating artwork for the JumpStart transitional homes. She painted signs and wrote specific scriptures on the inside covers of some books and
bibles. Sandy said, “It was a way to share my creative skills in ministry.” She shared that God used this opportunity to grow her relationships with other women at Church at The Mill. She
said, “God surprised me! I went to use my creative skills to paint and create and to bless others; but it wasn’t only about that, it was about meeting other ladies and sharing our stories.”

Lori Benshoof jumped at the opportunity to serve with La Reunion, a Hispanic church in the Southern Shops community. This event included a cookout, inflatables and face painting for the
children, and professional family portraits for the members of La Reunion. Lori enjoyed the chance to practice her Spanish and talk with the mothers who brought their children to the
event. “I am painfully shy, so God stretched me to meet and interact with others,” she said.

“Our small group served together at Church at The Mill mission house project,” Jacob Martin said. “I most enjoyed serving alongside friends, and God taught me how fulfilling it is to serve Him.”

One Saturday of service was only the beginning for many of Church at The Mill’s members who participated in “Serve the ‘burg.” For several people, it was the beginning of a new relationship
with a local ministry and a new way to serve more consistently in our community.

Are you interested in serving?

Go to churchatthemill.com/missions/#localmissions to find out how you can get involved.

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