By Dionne Williams
Partnership Gulf Coast came out of a brainstorming session between Steve Mooneyham, Dionne Williams and J. Cardinell. The intent behind PGC was to overcome the feelings of a church that when summer activities were over that there were no more responsibilities for the church. Most had events but never followed up on the new prospects discovered. Eight churches were enlisted from the Gulf Coast Baptist Association that were either targeting a new area for outreach, beginning new work or needed revitalization. These churches were provided one Backyard Bible Club each week at the location of their choosing. The only requirement was that at least one church member would be at the BBC to meet the people from the neighborhood as they came.
Eight churches from Mississippi, Maryland and Arkansas were enlisted to come to provide leadership for the Backyard Bible Clubs. One Church would do eight Backyard Bible Clubs, Monday through Thursday, one in the morning and another in the evening. On Friday the mission groups would host a block party for one of the eight churches. This allowed the local church to have a summer full of activities to reach in to their respective communities.
Several of the local churches experienced greater attendance and harvested several families in to their membership through professions of faith and movement of membership. Many more prospects were discovered and used for further outreach evangelism efforts over the following year. One GCBA church, Grace Chapel Fellowship has already identified their new target area for the summer of 2012. FBC Mize although not a part of the original PGC mission groups saw the efforts of the mission teams and contacted Gulf Coast Association to secure a place in the 2012 Partnership Gulf Coast effort. The involvement of FBC Mize has resulted in a partnership between Gulf Coast and Smith Associations with three additional Smith Association churches participating in 2012.
In 2012 not only will PGC help with church planting and revitalization efforts, but will also include additional resources of manpower for bolster their own efforts at reaching their communities. All the weeks for the summer of 2012 were originally filled by November 2011, two of the weeks have become available: June 24-30 and July 1 -7. This year churches will be coming from Mississippi, Maryland and Texas.