Ministry on the Margins in Bedford

When Kelly and I assumed the pastorate here at the Bedford Church of God, we did not have a clue what God had in store for us or the church. In September of 2012, we started a journey that will remain with us forever. God has been doing a tremendous work here – not only in our church, but in our town. What we did not realize was that God would start a revitalization process in us, our church, and our town that would impact so many lives. In fact, our small church has had such an impact in Bedford, VA., we often have people we don’t even know commend us on the work we are doing.

We began to seek God for a vision and mission strategy that was applicable, practical, and obtainable. We did not desire for it to be mere words framed on a bulletin board, rather, something that would define who we are and could be lived out. Little did we know, God had plans that were larger than anything we could imagine. When you pastor a small church you often wonder what kind of impact your church can have. We found out that when you pray and trust God He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.

Our largest outreach is our food pantry that we offer every Thursday night from 6-8 p.m. Each week we offer perishable and non-perishable food items to hungry families. We typically serve 50-60 families a week, allowing them to shop for items rather than pre-boxing everything. This gives us the opportunity to connect with them and build community. We have had the opportunity of praying for individuals and meeting spiritual needs, as well as physical. Since we started our food pantry, our community has donated several thousand dollars towards the operation as well as donated food items. We also team up with the local post office every year for a food drive and typically receive between 3,000 to 4,000 lbs. of food. We have seen several individuals come to Christ through this ministry, and it is as much of a blessing to our church as it is our community.

We also offer a community day for our town complete with bounce houses, face painting, carnival games, and much more. This event is completely free for our community as well as the hotdogs and bottled water that we serve. Being a small church, we typically plan ahead for this event by raising money early on. This event has served to connect us to people we would have never connected with before. We also host an annual Angel Tree event to provide Christmas toys and clothes for children in our neighborhood who have parent(s) that are incarcerated. Individuals in our congregation go out of their way to provide toys and clothes for these children and every year we have the opportunity to present the Gospel to them. Every Thanksgiving we team us with the Bedford Pregnancy Center to put together Thanksgiving baskets for single moms who have chosen life over abortion. During Christmas, I have the opportunity to take part in a Christmas dinner at the pregnancy center and present a Gospel message to the mothers.

This is only a portion of what we do at our church for our community. The whole point is that it doesn’t matter the size of your congregation, budget, or building. If you will pray and trust God to do something larger than you are, He will do it. Furthermore, the more active you are in your community, the less you focus on the size of your church. It started with prayer, and continues with making one connection at a time throughout our town as we build relationships, and most importantly, the Kingdom.

Pastor David and Kelly Hinsen