From a January ice storm to the barbecue that brings the small, rural community of Malden, Mo., together each year, Stokelan Drive Christian Church always lends a hand.
“Whenever you mention Stokelan Drive, you automatically think of people that are willing to help with any need,” says James Powell, a funeral-home director and part-time pastor at a different church in town. “If there’s a need, a member of Stokelan Drive will be there to help.”
Although the 30-year-old congregation always has been benevolent, its outreach to the community through acts service began in earnest about three years ago, when the church went through the 40 Days of Community church campaign, says Dan Hargrave, Stokelan Drive’s minister since 1995.
With an average weekly attendance of 165, the church provides all of the parking and traffic control service for the two main community events each year—a barbecue in the spring and chili cook-off in the fall—as well as volunteers for multiple parades in the town of 5,000. Church members also help local schools with reading programs and distributed smoke detectors and fire safety information at one of the community events, Hargrave says.
Regardless of whether they attend Stokelan Drive or any church, people who have suffered a death in the family also can receive food and counseling from the congregation, Powell says.
“Until the time that Jesus returns, our job is to make this the best town we can—to bring heaven to earth,” Hargrave says. “So, that’s the approach we take to ministry.”
FROM THE BEST OF OUTREACH: This article appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of Outreach magazine.
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