Meridian Star

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July 19, 2013

Church schedules hometown mission trip

MERIDIAN —     The short acronym, LOL is text-speak for laughing out loud, a way for friends to share humor with each other, but for members of a local church, LOL means Love Out Loud.

    Northcrest Baptist Church is launching LOL 2013, a at-home missions project to reach out to the Meridian community.

    Ben Shirley, chairman of the Northcrest Mission's Committee, said the week of July 22-26 has been set aside to be a missions outreach week into Meridian.

    "Throughout the week, we will be outside the walls of our church, mobilizing into our city and community," Shirley said, referencing the last commandment of Christ to "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all people," which is taken from Mark 16:15.

    There are 375 church members who have volunteered their time to work in the community, Shirley said. Some are taking vacation time in order to participate.

    Dr. Fred Luter Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, will speak Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. service and on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. at Dumont Plaza.

    Luter is the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Dr. Dan Lanier, pastor of Northcrest, said missions begin at the door of the church.

    "When we leave every Sunday we enter the mission field," Lanier said. "We're doing missions all over the world and other places. This is our mission trip. We love Meridian and we want to minister to the people here."

    Events include drive-through prayer, which will be offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the circle drive in front of Northcrest Baptist Church, 3412 North Hills St., Meridian. It will also be held in Dumont Plaza, 22nd Avenue, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.

    "You can pull up, the person stands outside your car, prays with you, gives you a bottle of water and you go on your way," Shirley said.

    On Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Dumont Plaza, Dr. Dan Lanier, pastor of Northcrest will hold a community worship service. The church's worship choir will also perform.

On Friday, at 6 p.m. at Dumont, there will be a family block party for all ages, followed by a 7 p.m. community worship service with Lanier and the church choir.

    The church has also partnered with Rush Health System and Greater Meridian Health Clinic to use the clinic's bus at the corner of 5th Street and 34th Avenue where there will be free health screenings on Monday and Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. On Friday, the bus will be at Dumont Plaza, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

    "If people come to the Greater Meridian Health Clinic bus, where there will also be Rush employees working, you can get blood pressure screenings, dental screenings, and blood sugar screenings. It is all free," Shirley said.

    Working with Feeding by Faith, the church will have a tent open at the corner of 5th Street and 34th Avenue Monday  through Friday, 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Shirley said this is the first event of its kind for Northcrest. They were inspired by a successful similar missions project last year in Hattiesburg, he said. Missions are not just about going overseas to other countries, he said.

    "There is very much to do here in Meridian," Shirley said. "

    Volunteers will work with children at the Meridian Boys and Girls Club, the Solid Rock Boys Home in Union, the Happiness Hills Girls Home in Union and they will work on a yard enhancement project at Hope Village.

    "We are also going to six city schools doing yard work, preparing and labeling new textbooks and putting them in the classrooms, and organizing them," Shirley said.

     They will also visit nursing homes and people who are homebound.

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