There are three things you might notice when driving into Crawford, Texas. Perhaps you’ll notice the billboard featuring George and Laura Bush, our most famous property owners. Perhaps you’ll notice the welcome sign from First Baptist Church, or perhaps you’ll notice the city limit sign, which reads, “Pop. 717.”
The Crawford community sits about 20 miles west of Waco. Yet, Crawford does not share the big city features of its larger neighbor. Crawford has one post office, one blinking light, one restaurant, and one high school. You get the idea.
Yet, First Baptist Church is a unique blend of business owners, stay-at-home moms, farmers, teachers, executives, plumbers, professors, retirees, and much more. We are limited in size and budget, but are united by a sense of community and a relationship with Jesus Christ. In my four years as pastor I have witnessed this two-fold passion drive our church to see God sized dreams become reality.
For a number of years, First Baptist financially supported a missionary in Romania. One day I asked a group of our leaders, “Why don’t we make a trip to Romania? What is keeping us from going?” After a few blank stares and a few shrugged shoulders, I heard the reply, “Well, nothing I guess.” With this simple acknowledgement we began planning a trip to Romania. Within a few weeks we had a group of six people signed up to participate in God’s work in Romania.
It was during the planning stages for the trip that one of the team members came to my office. Fighting back tears she muttered, “I can’t go.” She asked me, “How can I get on a plane and travel to the other side of the world when I do nothing for people on the other side of Crawford?” It was a penetrating question with a ripple effect on our church.
What began with a simple question led to the initiation of a local mission project. A Case for Caring involved a corner of our fellowship hall being filled with cases of products needed in every home. There was everything from peanut butter to laundry detergent. These individual cases became 48 care packages. Church members took these care packages and knocked on the doors of 48 homes – blessing them with three canvas bags full of items and an invitation to our Thanksgiving lunch. Our church met 48 families that day, many of which we had never met before.
One week after A Case for Caring concluded I was visiting Crawford’s post office. I asked a typical Crawford question to the person next to me: “I heard a fire truck this morning. Do you know what happened?” The reply shocked me. I knew I was about to see another God sized dream become a reality. The home that suffered a fire was a home that our church members had visited during A Case for Caring. I immediately drove to the home and asked, “How can we help?” We ended up helping in a big way.
Our church is limited in size and budget, but God is not limited when a church is united by a sense of community and a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Written by Jeff Gravens, pastor of First Baptist Church, Crawford, Texas
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