Created on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 Written by SUE PITTS
Mobile ministry is far reaching
Reachout Outreach Ministries travels a multi-county area taking the word of God on the road via a transformed fleet of buses that features a free food distribution opportunity. (PHOTOS | REACHOUT OUTREACH MINISTRIES)
The Reachout Outreach Ministries sets up a mobile worship unit.
The group’s mobile unit transformed into a movie theater.
FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Reachout Outreach Ministries recently opened a new thrift store at the corner of U.S Routes 33 and State Route 385 in New Hampshire to support its expanding mobile ministry and programs. The store features a variety of housewares, furniture, odds and ends, and clothing in all sizes with prices ranging from 50 cents to $2.50, and free food giveaways at unscheduled times. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (EXAMINER PHOTO | RICK PITTS)
It started simply enough in 2007 when youth pastors Brian and Becky Paxton of the Indian Lake area were compelled to “reach out” and mobilized to visit a youth who had moved out of the area.
“He had no way to get to church and no church was going into the community, so we decided to take the church to the kids,” Mr. Paxton shared. And the all-volunteer mobile Reachout Outreach Ministries was born.
With a growing fleet of transformed school buses, Reachout leaders have logged countless hours on the road in the past five years, reaching out to youths in Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Allen counties, and as far as Indiana, where they led a Vacation Bible School from a mobile unit.
In addition to conducting VBS and worship sessions, the bus serves as a mobile location for free food giveaways in numerous communities, including Russells Point, and at its new thrift store location in New Hampshire. The ministry frequently receives large quantities of perishable foods from various sources and typically sets up in community churches or municipal parking lots to give it away on a first-come basis.
They also frequent nursing homes, including Heartland of Indian Lake, for crafts, games, music, ministry and fellowship.
A mobile theater also visits various locales in the four-county area, sharing 30-minute animated Christian movies with children, who answer questions about the movie for prizes, while enjoying refreshments.
“This bus goes into housing developments,” Mr. Paxton related. “We also take it to churches to use for their events.”
Most recently, the ministry added a bookmobile that will hand out free Christian books in the communities, with story time for the children.
In just the past year, ROM branched out with the Harbor Youth Ministries, headed up by Christa Bartee. Youths ages 13-18 meet at 6 p.m. every Thursday at the Russells Point Church of God, another frequent free food giveaway location.
The group “invites and welcomes (all, including) those that are not accepted by others and also those who some may consider ‘troubled teens,’ ” Ms. Bartee related. “And encourages their families to be involved in our weekly meeting.
“We average maybe 30 students and feed them each week, and provide transportation as well.”
A typical Harbor night includes praise and worship music, prayer, a Bible lesson, games and food, and a few minutes of down time for fellowship with friends. Frequent activities also include movie nights, Easter egg hunts, summer Back to School Bash and community dinners.
“This ministry is growing leaps and bounds and we would love for teenagers from all over the area to come see this exciting group and experience all that God has for them,” Ms. Bartee said.
Expanding on its Harbor Teen program, Reachout has developed “reach2kids” for youths under the age of 12.
Additionally, the group is starting a Community Assistance Program “to assist those who need help with such things as shoveling snow, mowing/raking, window cleaning, and any basic need we can help with.
“This is not just for the elderly, but single mothers working and in need of help.”
Reachout also offers a confidential prayer chain at www.reachoutoutreach.org, where anyone can share a prayer need without leaving any personal information. If information is left, ministers respond.
Donations are always welcome, especially Bibles to pass out. They also seek school supplies, baby items, non-perishable foods, toiletries and financial contributions. The non-profit organization operates solely on donations to cover approximately $5,000 a month in operating expenses.