Engage Middle Tennessee: Meeting People Where They Are

JoEllen Taylor

On Saturday, April 23, 2016, 800 people from over 80 LIFE Groups from across all Brentwood Baptist Church campuses fanned out through Middle Tennessee. These groups and individuals sought to serve Nashville neighbors and share the hope that Jesus Christ offers. Our prayer was that God would open doors of opportunity for ongoing spiritual conversations, and teach us to better love our neighbors with the gospel. We believe He is doing that in many groups.

Here’s an interview with John and Andrea, the leaders of the Easy Company LIFE Group from the Brentwood campus. Their group spent the morning visiting local laundromats, which are busy Saturday destinations across the city.


How did you prepare for the day?

We started preparing a few weeks before as we had to have supplies ready, along with organizing the schedule. This event was also on our prayer list well ahead of the date. We met at the church’s kickoff event that day and had final discussions.

What 2 or 3 encounters or events from the day would you like to share?

At every laundromat, we met people who opened up to us and shared their prayer needs. There was Mike, who was struggling to make ends meet and provide for his children. At another location, there was Joyce, who is the mother of five children with various needs. There were many more, and we were honored to be able to pray with them in person and give them supplies and money to help a little with their laundry.

What mental pictures have stayed in your mind from the experience?

People going about their daily lives but underneath, they all had needs. Many of these needs would not be expressed to a stranger. I will remember our class members coming around them to pray for them and their smiles of appreciation.

How did you see your group members connecting?

This is the first time we’ve done this, but I believe we’ll continue to do so. When you stand alongside someone in need, you certainly connect with them and with each other as we reach out to help them.

What obstacles needed to be overcome?

There was certainly a language barrier in some cases. We were able to work around it, but it can be a barrier in communication and sometimes building short-term trust.

How did your group respond to the challenge?

We were patient and many people were still able to communicate through a relative or just through a minimal amount of English.

What do you hope your group members gained from the experience?

We were able to get out of our normal surroundings and experience a small slice of the lives of others in our community that we might not normally see or talk to. We are still praying for them and maybe we’ll see them again on our next visit.

How did the day shape, position, or inspire your group going forward?

One of our main goals this year is to have a more robust “Engage” portion of our LIFE Group. This was really inspirational for us—to know that we can have an impact, even in small ways.


Are you interested in serving your community? Click here for ways you can begin to make a difference in Middle Tennessee. 

Are you looking for a LIFE Group? Click here to find one that’s right for you.