[SLIDESHOW=42401,42402]ST. LOUIS (BP) — The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has purchased two mobile clinics — one for dental services, the other for general medical needs — that will be used as part of its new Send Relief compassion ministry. Both units will be used during Send Relief ministry events in the St. Louis area in the days leading up to the annual Southern Baptist Convention.
The clinics will be fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and can be utilized by medical and dental professionals as part of outreach and service events for under-served communities. The units will be part of NAMB’s ongoing Send Relief ministry and will also be available to churches, associations, state conventions and other Southern Baptist entities that want to use them as part of their own ministry events.
“We want to help every church member be on mission with God in their community,” said David Melber, NAMB’s vice president for Send Relief. “We recognize that not everyone will be a church planter or a pastor. We have medical professionals and dental professionals in our churches. This will be an outlet not only for them as an outreach activity but, in a more expanded view, these will give churches an opening to do other outreach projects in the community.”
The two units will be parked outside of the America’s Center, the SBC annual meeting location in St. Louis, during the June 14-15 convention. Southern Baptists in attendance will be able to tour the clinics and learn more about their capabilities.
The units — both state of the art and fully functional — will provide everything medical professionals need to do basic healthcare and dental care in a mobile setting. The dental clinic will include an X-ray machine and two dental operatory rooms. The medical clinic will include two exam rooms, a bathroom, a waiting room and an intake area.
Melber says the clinics can be used to build bridges into a community or build credibility for the group planning the outreach efforts. He pointed to block parties as an example of projects where Southern Baptist groups can use the clinics.
“We expect these clinics to be tangible illustrations of how churches, associations, state conventions and the North American Mission Board can partner together in activities that engage church members in missions that ultimately proclaims the Gospel,” Melber said.
Though the clinics will be introduced at the convention, they will be used a week earlier in ministry efforts in St. Louis through the work of local Southern Baptists.
NAMB trustees approved the establishment of Send Relief during their October 2015 meeting in Salt Lake City. The mobile clinics have been built with funds trustees authorized during the meeting to start the new initiative.
Melber hopes God uses the two clinics to take the Gospel to people who wouldn’t have entered a local church building otherwise. He also hopes Southern Baptist church members with medical backgrounds will realize they can use their gifts to be on mission in their own communities.
“We’re asking Southern Baptists to pray that the unity we demonstrate to the world through events that these clinics support will be a testimony for the sake of the Gospel, that people would come to know the Lord through this effort,” Melber said.