God has given us a beautiful facility. It's more than a place to gather on Sunday mornings. It's a resource we use to love our neighbors every day of the week.
Thursday afternoons are one of the most exciting times to stop by the building. Through partnerships with CCHASM and FeedMore’s Central Virginia Food Bank, a team of volunteers from Kingsway provides groceries for local individuals and families in need. But physical provision is only the start. In the course of praying for each of our guests, we have watched God provide physical healing, financial provision, and spiritual salvation.
We prayed that God would heal Vickie of her cancer. She came back a month later joyfully reporting that the cancer was dissolving. Vanessa, hungry for a new job, showed up looking for housing assistance. We gave her food and joined her in praying that God would bless her with a job. Two weeks later she shared that she got a job with benefits the day after we prayed. Lawrence came to get food and has been serving on Thursdays ever since. He is no longer a man tossed aside by society. He is a man finding a home and a family where he is valued and loved. Another woman shared with tears of joy how the food pantry and Kingsway have made God real to them and cared for them in a way that led them to Jesus.
Without our building, men and women struggling with desperate needs would not have a safe place to experience the love of God in community.
Our family life ministries host all manner of events in the building throughout the week. Students and parents take over on Wednesday nights. Seasoned Saints share lunch on Sunday afternoons. Men’s and women’s meetings, musical rehearsals, member meetings, church-wide picnics, volunteer training and other classes fill the weekends. And baby showers, birthday parties, and community group events use the time that remains. Most of these meetings would be difficult if not impossible to host apart from our own facility.
Our partnership with Midlothian High School continues to grow. We began by providing an emergency evacuation site for students and staff. Now we host several classes of special needs kids who walk across the street once a week to learn real-life work skills. James is a good example of a young man who learned how to organize and stock canned goods in our Food Pantry along with basic information technology skills.
Kingsway provides a training home for the local fire department, creating opportunities throughout the year to care for the members of Company #5. The Centurions, a group of military and law enforcement personnel in the Richmond area, also meets at Kingsway twice a month for bible study and prayer. We are honored to play a small role in providing gospel-centered spiritual encouragement for men and women who lay down their lives to serve us.
We believe artistic expression is one of the ways we reflect the glory of the God who made us to the world around us. With that end in view, we host a local Christian Theater company, CharacterWorks, that employs members of our church and teaches children how to act, dance, and sing in a Christian environment. Character works has brought numerous people into our church who would otherwise never come here, both through classes and annual productions. In addition to the rental income, CW has helped steward our building by painting fencing and donating new curtains for our auditorium.
Kingsway members with artistic gifts also use the building to host art events and teach art classes throughout the year. Some have been used to raise funds for our Food Pantry.
The gospel is rarely part of a normal business plan. We are trying to change that by building relationships with a small-business networking group (BNI). Our goal is to encourage Christians who are already part of the group and create opportunities to talk about the gospel with those who do not know Jesus.
BNI has been a tremendous blessing to Kingsway. Besides providing an opportunity to share the gospel, they have provided free or reduced-cost services to church members and guests coming through the Food Pantry. For example, we have not had to pay for pesticide services or electrical maintenance. Several families have received low-cost care repair services that they could pay back over time as they were able. None of this would have happened without our building.
My Small Business Community is the other business networking group we host on a regular basis. MSBC started when a BNI member learned how many small business owners commit suicide or struggle with broken marriages.
Children have limited opportunities in a secular society to learn about the Bible in the same way they learn about math, reading, history or science. Having our own facility enables us to host three home education cooperatives during the week where several hundred children can hear the Word of God explained to them. Home School Connections also sponsors a moms night out in our building on a regular basis.
When we least expect it, someone will show up at our building during the week because their life is a mess and they don’t know what else to do. A young lady crying in the parking lot needed to come inside and pray. Another woman arrived hungry and severely depressed. Having a permanent, visible presence in Midlothian enables us to love our neighbors all week long in ways that would simply not be possible in rented facilities.