Gyl Bateman, Cindy and Les Ferguson donating handmade washcloths and soap to Homeless Ministry

April 26, 2021

Small-town church makes outsized impact

In the past year to current, the Buchanan church has added new outreaches to the community for local evangelism.

It is partly due to new members joining our church with new ideas and with the help of the current members that this has taken place.

Last year we started the “Stop and Pray” in front of our church. We held signs inviting cars to stop if they would like members to pray with them; we gave out literature, muffins, fruit, and prayed with many people.

The card ministry has been going on for several years. We send out cards for birthdays, anniversaries, illnesses, bereavement and holiday cards. Last year we also sent cards for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. It serves a couple of purposes. It lets people know that we are thinking of them, as many are not able to come related to COVID-19, and some are in nursing homes. Some have responded by thanking the church for the cards of inspiration and feeling comfortable enough to reach out to ask for help from the church. One member just called to ask for special prayer because of receiving a card. Other members, mother and son, have returned to church and have been coming on a regular basis because of the cards.

We have partnered with Neighbor-to-Neighbor and have received clothes with which we have done several clothing drives. It has been successful because people were made aware through Facebook posts and the sign outside the church. A local television station came out and interviewed several people, including the Personal Ministry leader, John Nichols, a lady that was helped by the clothing, Suzie W., and she got items for her clients as she is a nurse that does in-home care. Many people went home and brought their family and neighbors back the next day.  

Our church continues to host the American Red Cross blood drive which is every three to four  months. We had 38 units of blood donated on March 9. The Red Cross has told us that our location is great for them to serve the Southwest Michiana community and want to continue to use our church for future blood drives.

We have a couple of dedicated members that go to Elkhart every Sunday to pick up commodities for RAM, Redbud Area Ministry, since their staff is in church on Sunday. This is used to serve those in need in Buchanan. A couple of our members are serving on their board as well. Our church as well as other local churches help RAM with giving clothes, food, and money to help those in need.

A new ministry we just started on March 6 is giving packages of food, toiletries and clothes to the homeless in Buchanan and Niles. It has been successful and the Lord has directed in getting these items from local businesses. An Adventist dentist who has his office in Niles donated toothpaste and toothbrushes, Quality Inn in Niles donated a case of toilet paper, lotion and bars of soap, and Fifth Third Bank staff went on a shopping spree and donated snacks, sweaters, scarves, socks, etc.

In July there are plans to have an addiction class at our church; it will be modeled much the same as another local church in Berrien Springs. We hope to have a group of 12 to 15 people that we can help and continue contact with even after the meetings have ended. They will need this to keep from slipping back into their old habits.

The Lord has blessed this church with dedicated members that are on fire for Him. There are many retirees who have the time and are willing to pursue these ministries. We are also considering a building that would be made to help the community with different programs, such as cooking school, recreation activities, and other events to help the community.

Gyl Bateman, Buchanan Church Communication assistant