Day one began with prayer.
On day two, members of The Hill Baptist Church offered free child-care to families visiting nearby midtown merchants.
By day four, they were picking up trash along the Central Avenue median.
From June 5 to July 14, the church has committed to 40 Days of Ministry, a series of daily service projects in Augusta.
“We want the city of Augusta to be better because we’re here,” said the Rev. Ron Jones, the church’s pastor. “The number 40 is a significant timeline in the Bible. The whole point of the 40 days of ministry is to get out of the building. The whole mission is to be the body of Christ in the community, not just our building.”
Events started on a Wednesday, with lots of prayer for the days ahead, and will culminate with a Sunday celebration and service July 14.
“The idea really came out of just talking to the other pastoral staff, Alex Doriot and Bob Walker,” Jones said.
Doriot is the director of student ministries, and Walker is the pastor of senior adults and music.
“We wanted to come up with something the whole church could be involved in, whether you’re 9 or 90,” Jones said.
A highlight so far was delivering batches of homemade cookies to the bulk mail room at the post office, Doriot said.
“As a church, we use the bulk mail at the post office a lot,” he said. “It was nice to bring them something nice.”
This week, a vacation Bible school ministered to more than 30 children in the community. Everyone in the church was involved, kids and youth included, said Connie Lee Blanchard, the church’s VBS director.
“It’s so important. It’s teaching our kids and youth how to serve, not just be served,” she said. “Our youth want these opportunities.”
Church members are also giving away barbecue, ice cream, lemonade, breakfast, face painting and games for kids, at the church and at events around town.
The church has an active attendance of about 80 on Sundays. Sunday school classes, the choir and the youth group have all signed up to lead various efforts.
“The goal is every person involved in at least one day of ministry,” Jones said. “This is for everyone.”
The congregation gathered on Wednesday nights through late winter and early spring to brainstorm ideas for projects.
While the church does ministry year-round, all too often, Jones said he has found, it’s easy to get into a rut.
“You get used to a certain routine. You keep doing the same things. My hope is that it would take us off the cow path,” Jones said.
The 40 Days of Ministry, he said, “is a jump-start, an electric shock, to shock us into a new rhythm God has for us.”
The community is responding, Jones said.
“We’ve had a great response from some of the new things we’re doing,” he said. “As Christians, we’re meant to be outward focused. If you don’t have that outward focus, you become stagnant.”