Episode 550

AL Baptists Work to Build Camp in Alaska, Empty Historic Church Houses New Congregation & What We Should Learn From Gen Z

Feb 22, 2024

There’s a piece of land nestled next to a lake in Alaska, and Tommy Bishop said when he’s there, he thinks of somewhere else. Amanda Hicks knew there were bees inside the building that once housed Chula Baptist Church. Everyone in the small Missouri town knew that. And, what does Gen Z need?

Transcript

There’s a piece of land nestled next to a lake in Alaska, and Tommy Bishop said when he’s there, he thinks of somewhere else.

He thinks about Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center back home in Alabama, which has hosted camps and retreats for 75 years, and he reflects on the camp’s legacy.

The vision started simply because Cody Schwegel, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Craig, Alaska, wanted a place to pitch a few tents.

The vision is to reach the 6,000 students who live within $100 worth of travel expenses from the camp.

They also want to use it for a variety of retreats and conferences for men, women and couples.
They’re hoping to start construction by early summer.
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Amanda Hicks knew there were bees inside the building that once housed Chula Baptist Church. Everyone in the small Missouri town knew that. The old church had been sitting empty for nearly five years, the last of four churches that once served the small community of Chula, Missouri. While it sat empty, bees had made a home inside it, but everyone thought the bees were hiding in the walls.

However, last July, as Hicks, her husband, and a friend ventured into the old church to clean and prepare it for future worshippers, she encountered a surprise. That day, Hicks and her husband got stung multiple times by a swarm of bees, but they also discovered more than 77 pounds of honey hidden in the church.

Residents of Chula have worked alongside members of Calvary Baptist Church from nearby Chillicothe to get the old church building ready for visitors and relaunch it into the community. Nearly five months after reopening the doors, 20 to 25 people now regularly worship at the church.
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Every day, hundreds of thousands of people die without the hope of Jesus. Your faithful prayers will make a difference. That’s why the IMB created a free 18-month calendar, called “Impacting Lostness Through Prayer”. It provides guidance, reminders and encouragement as you pray for individuals and communities who have yet to hear the gospel. Learn more about this free resource at IMB.org/prayercalendar.

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What does Gen Z need?

What Gen Z Needs From Us:

Authentic Relationships

Gen Z is longing for men and women like you and me to commit to the long, steady work of a relationship. They aren’t looking for quick fixes and right answers as much as they want someone to be able to ask the hard questions and wrestle through their doubts and frustrations.

Grace-filled Guidance

In a world where information bombards young minds from every angle—thanks to influencers, media, and peers—it’s no surprise they end up with a mishmash of beliefs. To cut through the noise, we need to communicate clearly about what a biblical worldview is and how it relates to the current issues. Offering this guidance with grace becomes crucial in helping them navigate through the clutter and form a solid understanding of their faith and values. It should also be noted that it can be intimidating to approach hard topics with a fear of not knowing what to say or having the ‘right’ answer, but some of the most treasured moments come from simply saying “I don’t know, let’s search the Bible together.”

Community & Kingdom Impact

Driven by empathy and a desire for social justice, Gen Z wants to make a difference. When we are able to connect them with the mission of the gospel, we are inviting them to connect their heart for engagement with the heart of the gospel. Weekend trips to a homeless shelter to give a meal, packing Operation Christmas Boxes, or serving in your church’s nursery on Sunday mornings are easy and approachable ways to connect them with the mission of God and their heart for others.

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