Raleigh Congregation Inspired to Take the Church to the People
By Mykaela Alvey
Everyone has been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the setbacks that many people had, there are so many examples of God’s people impacting their communities in faithful, Christ-centered ways—many stories of which are still coming to light.
First Church of God Ministries in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a great example. According to Pastor Henry Caldwell, First Church of God spent much of 2021 focusing more “on bringing the Church of God to the people outside the building walls.”
They spent much of 2021 serving their community in countless ways. To name of few, they:
- put together fourteen Thanksgiving baskets for families,
- became active in prison ministry,
- ministered and provided necessities to the homeless in their community,
- helped the senior citizens in their community by mowing their lawns,
- sponsored a home repair project in their community, and
- helped organize a celebration of their neighborhood’s history.
“The community response has been great,” says Caldwell. “Those in need of food received it with thanksgiving. Those in need of clothing received it with thanksgiving. Those in need of affordable housing received it with thanksgiving.”
Pastor Caldwell has watched firsthand how these ministries have not only helped the community, but also the congregation. They chose to look at the pandemic and be inspired to find ways to serve, rather than see the limitations. When asked what inspired this, Pastor Caldwell said, “When everything was being closed down during COVID, I took note that the government did not close down the ABCs [Alcohol Beverage Control stores]. It seemed odd to me that the alcoholic retailers were allowed to stay open while churches doors were closed. The need for the work and mission of the church is greater than any other on the earth! Therefore, the work and mission of the church must continue, in spite of all the challenges we face today.”
In spite of any potential setbacks, First Church of God saw the need to serve their community and knew they could not ignore it. As a result, they have seen the Lord move in incredible ways through their leadership, their congregation, and their community. The church even saw an increase of 27 percent to their mission’s fund.
What many of us viewed as a limitation, First Church of God saw as an opportunity to get creative about how they served their community. With everything they were able to accomplish in 2021, we can’t help but be excited to see what else they can do in 2022, as well as be inspired to see what we can do in our communities today. According to Pastor Caldwell, “The work and mission of the church must continue, in spite of all the challenges we face today.”
Anderson University alumna Mykaela Alvey is a funding US missionary based in Greenwood, Indiana. A freelance writer for three years, she loves crafting stories of hope and healing.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.