By Jeff Stone
Bright, Indiana, is a rural bedroom community located near Cincinnati, Ohio. It has no traffic light or post office, but thankfully, it does have a Skyline Chili. Located in this sleepy town is the Bright Christian Church, a congregation of 1,000 people that has been meeting for 119 years and is continuing to impact the world locally and globally.
Bright has always been a faithful mission-supporting church, but over the past several years we’ve stepped up our personal involvement in global missions. Food bagging events with Lifeline Christian Mission created intergenerational participation. In 2009 eight of our people took part in a single short-term mission trip; by last summer that number had increased to nearly 80 servants participating in 10 trips.
Our stated goal is that each member at Bright will go on at least one mission trip in his or her lifetime. The reason? God used a shoe collection Sunday to change our church. In a worship service, we left our shoes on the platform steps, and most people went home in their socks. Recently a teen created an initiative that raised more than $4,000 to construct a home in Haiti for his sponsor child.
In the five weeks leading up to Easter 2013, the congregation sacrificially gave an unbudgeted $85,000 to construct a building for a Stadia church plant in the remote village of Ricaurte, Ecuador. We joined with Compassion International to sponsor nearly 200 children in the area surrounding that church. In March 2015, we will send our second team of 25 volunteers to encourage our daughter church, visit our sponsor children, and serve the people there.
The excitement of doing global mission work spurs greater outreach locally. Those who serve on a mission trip come home with a keener sense of urgency in reaching those nearby neighbors in our “Jerusalem and Judea,” and not just our distant neighbors in “Samaria, and . . . the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Bright Christian Church has been mobilized to carry out our mission statement: “Love God. Love people. Impact the World.”
Jeff Stone has served as senior minister with Bright (Indiana) Christian Church for the past five years.