The Hohenwald, Tenn., Church, with a membership of 52, has a unique ministry. The ministry began in 2006 after Dick and Jeanette Spencer began working at Buffalo Valley, Inc., an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility in Hohenwald. Dick Spencer picks up clients from all over Tennessee, and takes them back following their treatment. During the drive to the facility, he establishes a rapport with the passenger and invites him to church the following Sabbath. Jeanette Spencer, operations assistant, posts invitations in the buildings and gives personal invitations. Each Sabbath, with the permission of the Buffalo Valley administration, the men who wish to attend church are picked up and returned after a potluck meal.
Scott Baker and Keith and Angela Archibald lead a special Sabbath School class developed for the men attending from Buffalo Valley. They intersperse their testimonies and wisdom on how to overcome harmful habits and live better lives.
Buffalo Valley visitor attendance varies, with an average of 11. Each person is given a bag containing an Adventist magazine and select Ellen G. White books. One attendee asked where he could get more literature. He read Steps to Christ many times and was so impressed he wanted more.
During the sharing and prayer request period, many of the men participate, asking for prayer to help them overcome their addictions, for relatives, and thanks for their experience during church visits. One man commented, “This is my first time ever attending church.” Another said, “I want to learn more about Seventh-day Adventists. I feel that God is pulling me in this direction.”
The women of the church have incorporated a weekly Sabbath potluck as part of the outreach. Afterwards, many of the men from Buffalo Valley comment on the good food.
This is the unique seed-sowing ministry for Hohenwald Church — outreach to the Buffalo Valley men, with spiritual food for the soul, healthful food for the body, and friendly church fellowship. The men are encouraged to look up an Adventist church when they return home. Hopefully, they will follow through so that local church can nurture the “seedlings,” eventually reaping and enjoying the fruits of Hohenwald’s seed-sowing.
Kentucky-Tennessee | January 2019