SBC Life Articles

Ohio Churches Impact State, World with the Gospel

Ohio Churches Impact State, World with the Gospel

Dublin Baptist Church

Photos courtesy of respective churches.

Dublin Baptist Church//Dublin, Ohio

J. D. Davis knew he wanted to become pastor at Dublin Baptist Church when he heard about the Vacation Bible School program the church ran at the Stowe Mission, an inner-city ministry of the Metro Columbus Baptist Association.

He heard the story of a gang shooting in the area a few weeks before the VBS. After much prayer, the VBS team decided to go forward. Attendance was low at first, but it grew throughout the week.

“The commitment of Dublin Baptist Church to go into that situation brought hope to a community that desperately needed it,” said Davis, who has been at the church for six months. “I knew I wanted to be a part of a church that was not afraid to go for the sake of the Gospel.”

Dublin Baptist, located about twelve miles northwest of downtown Columbus, has a Gospel focus through many projects at home and by giving through the Cooperative Program.

“The Cooperative Program allows us to engage in discipleship and church planting in a significant way,” Davis said. “It is great to know that another portion of our giving helps sponsor new church plants which provide a place for new believers to connect and grow deeper in their walk with Christ.”

At home, the church houses a longstanding vibrant Japanese church, The Tamil Church that reaches immigrants from India and Sri Lanka, and a Hispanic congregation.

“Quite literally we are doing international missions from Dublin, Ohio,” Davis said.

The church hosted a health fair as part of Crossover Columbus preceding the SBC annual meeting with the goal of reaching immigrants and others with free health screenings.

Church members have served on various committees and ministries with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio and the Metro Columbus Baptist Association. Most notably, the church is heavily involved in meals and outreach events at the Stowe Mission. Church member Danny Stowe is the son of the mission’s founder. He serves by leading a free dental clinic.

Over the years the church has used other events like the Egg Blast, Fall Festival, Fourth of July Festival, and ESL training for outreach.

First Baptist Vandalia

First Baptist Vandalia//Vandalia, Ohio

Making sure some local school kids had enough to eat on weekends has grown into a deeper ministry than anyone expected at First Baptist Church in Vandalia, Ohio.

Food4Kids is in its fifth year and targets kids on food-assistance programs. They receive backpacks of food on Fridays to be sure they are nourished on the weekends. But what about summer? Now the church distributes the backpacks at a park and gets to interact with parents.

The parent interactions have led to help with budgeting and mentoring. There are now monthly meals at the church for the families. And those being helped are also helping in the kitchen and to stuff backpacks.

“It started out just helping kids and has grown into helping families,” said Pastor David Starry, who has served at the church since 2001 and been pastor since 2008. “We’ve seen some people come to know Christ as a result of the interaction with the families in our church. So it’s been a very productive ministry.”

The church is located across the street from the high school, so they’ve used that proximity to get even more involved with the schools. They’ve hosted an after-prom party for five years, they host a teachers’ breakfast at the start of the school year, and they feed the football team before every game.

The church’s involvement stretches much farther than across the street. It starts with a commitment to the Cooperative Program.

“It funds our missionaries well, and we can do more collectively than we can ever do individually,” Starry said.

The church also supports missionaries on two-year programs to Nicaragua and Haiti and sends teams to assist them. They also have sent a team the past five years to assist missionaries in Malawi, a country in southeastern Africa.

Domestically, they send a team to Oneida, Kentucky, every summer to minister to one of the poorest areas in the US.

The church is starting leadership training this fall. The aim is to pull together everyone from volunteers to staff members to church planters from Southern Baptist churches throughout Ohio. They will meet once a month for about seven or eight months.

Genoa Baptist Church

Genoa Baptist Church//Westerville, Ohio

Need an example of a flourishing church helping churches in need? Genoa Baptist Church in Westerville, Ohio, is a church like that.

It starts not all that far from home.

“We are hugely invested in Appalachian ministries,” said Pastor Frank Carl, who has served at the church almost since its inception in 1989. The focus is to work with Southern Baptists to help rebuild in areas of Virginia and West Virginia that have been economically devastated over time. Usually the church goes once, sometimes twice, a year for work projects and VBS weeks for as many as thirty churches. A recent undertaking was even more intense.

“We took fifty-nine men on weekends over a six-month period,” Carl said. “We actually helped rebuild three churches, one totally.”

Making sure others are fed is also important to Genoa Baptist. They have gotten involved with Heaven Sent Ministries, which sends food around the world. The project included four hundred people at the church preparing three hundred thousand packaged meals for flood victims in the Philippines.

The church is part of the monthly rotation of serving meals at the Stowe Mission, an inner-city ministry of the Metro Columbus Baptist Association. Genoa also assists with Faith Mission, another feeding program in Columbus, and a local program in Westerville.

Genoa Baptist operates a Christian school and preschool for about three hundred students, a Celebrate Recovery program for people struggling with drugs and alcohol, and helped start a pregnancy center for its county.

The church also helped one of its members begin Relationships Under Construction, a sexual abstinence program now in public schools in thirty-five counties in Ohio.

Genoa Baptist has a global focus as well. When the ten families that started the church called Carl to be pastor they made sure he would be committed to the SBC and the Cooperative Program.

“Thinking of the joy of participating with forty-thousand-plus other churches all for the cause of fulfilling the Great Commission, what other instrument is there that we could use that has been as successful as the Cooperative Program?” Carl said. “You sleep well at night knowing the money is being invested well.”

    About the Author

  • Jeff Gilbert