In service: Barnabas Project ‘brings joy to the world’

Members of Geyer Springs First Baptist Church participating in a program known as the Barnabas Project were “Loving LIFE” while serving at Renewal Ranch. (Hawk Hays photos)

In this season of giving thanks for all things and celebrating the Christmas holidays, Renewal Ranch had a surprise visit that exemplified the delight found in serving and giving to others. The gifting came from Geyer Springs First Baptist Church in Southwest Little Rock…and what a gift it was!  

The church has just completed its fifth year of the program known as the Barnabas Project – a church-wide initiative for volunteers from the church family to help others through service for organizations such as area churches, non-profits and schools.  

The various service projects are painting, light construction, cleaning/organizing, minor repair work and landscaping/beautification. Among the recipients of this year’s Barnabas Project were Davis Elementary, Bryant High School, Otter Creek Elementary, Chicot Elementary, Mabelvale Elementary, City of Refuge Church, New Faith Church, Doxa Arts Academy, Alexander Community Center, Second Chance Youth Ranch, Breath of Life Pregnancy Center and Renewal Ranch.

“We do not want to be just another church in our area; we want to come alongside those around us who need additional resources, manpower and encouragement,” said Associate Pastor Jason Miller.  There were 500 people serving in the 30 different projects, all volunteers from this local Little Rock church. The 2019 Barnabas Project had 600 volunteers from the church to accomplish this endeavor!

On a warm Sunday afternoon, a team of 19 men, women and young people from the Barnabas Project, with Paige Shepherd as the team leader, descended on the newly-built Restoration Center at Renewal Ranch in Perry County. Their mission had been meticulously thought through, and they came “on a mission” to clean and organize three large storage areas – shelving, storing, hanging, moving, getting rid of unusable collected items – and this was just the beginning.  

Paige’s background and passion is in organizing homes and businesses, and event planning – what better team leader to approach this larger-than-life charge! The team, with help from some of the Renewal Ranch residents, staff leadership and volunteers, was able to completely organize the table and chair storage area; label, hang and shelve all the sound equipment for the 500-seat capacity auditorium; and establish a seasonal décor room on the second floor for all production items, Christmas decorations and much “wonderment” that will be used in the future.  

A 14-foot pull trailer was filled with items to be hauled away, and everything was labeled, stacked and properly stored. As if this was not enough, the team also brought complete bedding, pillows, rugs and lamps for the newly-constructed 22 additional bedrooms for the expansion of the Renewal Ranch ministry.

Geyer Springs First Baptist Church takes an offering during one of its services; this offering is above the normal tithes and offerings for the church, and the proceeds are used to purchase materials used in many of the 30 projects done by various teams. This offering made possible the bedding and supplies for the resident rooms, as well as plastic tubs for storage, heavy-duty storage racks for 75 tables and 350 chairs, and various hooks and mechanisms for hanging items in the storage areas.

When Renewal Ranch Executive Director James Loy was first approached by the church with the potential of the Ranch being a recipient of this project – it was obvious the Church and the Ranch had the same philosophy in serving the community. The Geyer Springs First Baptist Church Barnabas Project will be seen and appreciated for years to come for this amazing service in the hearts and lives of many Arkansans, including Renewal Ranch.

The pastor’s wife, Louanne Hughey, was among this team that came to Conway. The pastor, Dave Hughey, and the entire church are supporters of the Ranch effort and have served the mission of the Ranch of “Restoring Lives through Christ” for many years.  

To Paige Shepherd, a former staff member of the church and now owner of Shepherd Organizing Solutions, and to Geyer Springs Baptist Church of Little Rock, this was an amazing example of not just the holiday spirit, but of the joy and delight of serving others, of giving back to the community and of bringing more joy to our world!

Don Bingham
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