Central Baptist Church--Beardon, Tennessee
For the past couple days I've been with a great church in the Knoxville area. A few years ago I met Robert Bowman at a Leadership Network conference and a few times subsequently at a couple of other meetings I've been at here in Knoxville with Compassion Coalition. Central Baptist was started over a hundred years ago and although it is a very traditional in its service it is all but conventional in its service (you figure out which is which). Central Baptist was one of the first churches to begin an HIV / AIDS ministry long before Saddleback. They have a wonderful prison ministry, inner city ministry along with a great food bank and clothing ministry. Affirming the value of external focus, Janette Witt, who works with Hands & Feet ministry in East Knoxville. The ministry really turned the corner when she began seeing her community full of assets rather than just problems. Those who were normally receivers of mercy became dispensors of mercy as they filled 30 "shoe-boxes of love" last Christmas and 60 this Christmas. This year they also collectively adopted a child through world vision. Janette said giving and serving changes everything.