Turning the Church Inside Out
Leesburg, Florida, is an hour's drive north of Orlando, but it has little in common with the tourist mecca.
The town of 15,000 has no major industry. Back-to-back freezes in 1983 and 1984 killed the orange groves. The juice plant operates on a small scale now.
We have begun to draw some retirees in recent years, but most of them live in modest homes on fixed incomes.
Our little city is miles from the interstate highway and the Florida Turnpike, and still, people by the hundreds find Leesburg every year, needy people, hurting people. And they come to First Baptist Church.
A local TV station once called us "the church that cares." The description stuck. What started as an outreach to homeless and transient men in a time of high unemployment has grown into 70 ministries to all kinds of people with all kinds of needs. In the process, we learned to minister to the needs of others that we might lead them to faith in Jesus Christ. We call it "ministry evangelism."
Our first ministry to the community ...1