“Go Ye Into All The World . . .”
The Gospel of Mark relates that Jesus, before his ascension back into heaven, spoke with the remaining eleven apostles. At that time he presented them with a commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) This commission holds the same importance today as it did in the first century.
Our mission program at Washington Avenue includes worldwide involvement in telling the story of Jesus. We have made a strong commitment to tell of His life and cause beyond our local region. We are currently doing this in Tanzania, New Zealand and Brazil. If you click on the individual page links, you can find the specifics for each of these mission efforts.
Our focus also includes mission outreach in the continental USA. You will find more information about this by clicking on the USA and Local link.
Effective mission commitment goes beyond sending money. At Washington Avenue that includes personal involvement and this participation is demonstrated by, among other things, members who travel to our mission points to support the effort. It is not unusual to hear “have ticket, will go” from our members.
Recognizing the importance of educating individuals to preach the gospel, we actively support students at the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies (formerly East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions) in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Many of our own members preach at area congregations. Our Youth Group participates each summer in an evangelistic campaign and some of our retirees work with the Sojourners assisting congregations throughout our own country.
While this gives you a brief glimpse of our work in the mission area, you can be sure that there is much more to the story!
Our Work in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
More than a quarter century ago the Washington Avenue congregation began a partnership with Eddison and LaJuana Fowler to help them realize their dream of telling the story of Jesus in Brazil… specifically in city of Belo Horizonte. The years have gone by and the relationship has blossomed. Our support has matured from simply being an economic presence in their work to now (among other things) include encouragement through member visits to Brazil. Today we are as optimistic about the work being done in the Master’s cause in Brazil as was the case all those years ago when we first met the Fowler family.
In two-thousand sixteen our relationship with Eddison and LaJuana broadened when the Washington Avenue congregation assumed sponsorship responsibility for their work. In addition to the financial support contributed by Washington Avenue, our overall engagement in the work now includes greater involvement with his many supporting congregations and being a constant stateside partner in dealing with the issues that arise from their “living” in two countries.
Eddison works with the Central congregation in Belo Horizonte and serves as one of the ministers and an elder. His work puts great focus on evangelist efforts and he has been influential in the planting of congregations throughout the region. The Central Congregation has started 11 new congregations during the time Eddison has been in Brazil. He is the director of the National Bible School and in that capacity leads the effort to train men and women for service to the Master throughout Brazil. The school provides on-site classes in Belo Horizonte and “distance learning” through electronic technology. Both he and LaJuana are active workers in the Christian Children’s Home located in Belo Horizonte. Eddison is sensitive to people, a good listener and a ready source of counsel and encouragement to Christians in the Belo Horizonte area. He and LaJuana are making a positive difference in the lives of people around them.
Washington Avenue is but one of many congregations throughout the USA supporting the work of Eddison and LaJuana. The Fowler family returns to the States periodically to report on their efforts and it is always a blessing to have them visit with us.
The Washington Avenue congregation’s relationship with Christians in Tanzania began in 2005 when we learned of the Tanzania 2000 project. As we became better informed of the scope and potential of this mission effort, it became evident that the participation in, and support of the project would match our overall mission objectives and enhance our international outreach efforts for the Master. To that end, we began in late 2005 to both assist with funding the project and to lend our hands with personal involvement. Over the years we have contributed funding for the support of Bible School students, ministers in training, the construction of facilities, the needs of native evangelists, a printing ministry and other outreach opportunities. We believe that this funding has been effectively used in the cause of the Master and continue to be excited about our partnership in the work for the Master in Tanzania.
Some of our members have visited in Tanzania, taking our encouragement and sharing our care for the efforts of Christians living there. Our hands-on efforts have included the presentation of a church leadership seminar by one of our ministers that benefited a number of Tanzania congregations and the on-site encouragement by one of our elders. As such activities suggest, we consider personal involvement to be a critical and essential element of our partnership in the Tanzania 2000 project.
An overview of the recent work in Tanzania discloses numerous baptisms, new church plantings, Bible campaign efforts in major cities, preacher training camps, the establishment of a new Christian Youth Camp, growth seminars and an increasing number of students graduating from schools of preaching. The work of the Master is actively moving forward in Tanzania.
The Tanzania 2000 project had its beginning under the direction of the Kensington Woods congregation in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Currently, the work is under the direction of the Bear Valley Church of Christ, Boulder, CO. Cy Stafford is a resident evangelist in Tanzania (though it is to be noted that Cy is seriously ill and currently on medical leave from the work).
Queen City Church
In 2013 extensive efforts were started to find a location for a “church plant” in the USA. Potential locations were researched in New Orleans, LA, Raleigh, NC, Chicago, IL, the Denver, CO region (including Boulder, Greeley and Ft. Collins) and Cincinnati. Because of the proximity to Evansville (and the opportunity for greater Washington Avenue member involvement), Cincinnati was selected.
Months of hard work followed the decision to locate in Cincinnati and on September 20, 2015 the first Sunday worship service of the Queen City Church of Christ was conducted. Thirty-two people attended that worship service, including a substantial group of members from Washington Avenue.
In July, 2015 T. J. Gifford, along with his family, joined our effort and moved to Cincinnati as the congregation’s first minister. The Gifford family spent a year in the work, helping to establish a solid foundation for future growth. Currently, recruitment efforts are underway to find a minister for the small congregation and we are optimistic that success is near.
Though the number of members is currently small, the hard work and enthusiasm occurring at the Queen City congregation is not. Worship services occur each Sunday morning and afternoon. The members meet for Wednesday Bible Study weekly. The congregation is blessed with a growing number of visiting Christians, as well as others from the community. The members are making a positive difference in the community and the story of Jesus is being told.
Added to the efforts of the Queen City members is the constant support of the Washington Avenue congregation. While the effort is underway to recruit a minister, men from Washington Avenue preach at the congregation on Sunday. Elders visit on a regular basis and there is a steady stream of Washington Avenue members finding their way to Cincinnati to worship with our brothers and sisters. To be sure, there is much yet to be done in Cincinnati and the challenges are many, but the future is bright and it is an exciting journey.
USA and Local Mission
While our mission efforts include significant international presence, they are by no means limited to that arena. Our outreach over the years has touched communities in Indiana (for example, Huntingburg, Mt. Vernon and of course here at home in Evansville) with funding for local minister support. Further from Evansville, we have been privileged to participate in numerous mission and evangelistic efforts throughout the country. At Washington Avenue mission work “near home” is equally important with that “across the seas.”
Washington Avenue members take seriously the challenge of telling the story of Jesus. Several of our men serve as part-time ministers for area congregations. Neil Kempf works with the Morganfield, KY church, Randy Rice is associated with the Grayville, IL congregation and George Wunderlich preaches at White Plains, KY. Danny Weddle occasionally speaks at area congregations. These men are setting an example for our young men…and they are taking up the challenge. Several young men in our Youth Group have chosen to dedicate their lives to teaching the Word…and are in the process of educating themselves to be effective. No doubt, some of them will find their place in mission ministry.
Currently we provide funding to assist in the support of George Jensen who works as minister at the Hawesville, KY Church of Christ. This congregation serves communities found in Hancock County, KY and Perry County, IN. While a small congregation (approximately 40 members), they are actively telling the story of Jesus on many fronts. Their benevolence outreach touches lives at Potters Home in Bowling Green, KY. They are engaged in a prison ministry in Cannelton, IN. George is a dedicated and energetic servant of God and is making a positive difference for good in Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana. He takes seriously the admonition to “Go teach.”
For many years we have been active in reaching out to our local deaf community and presently minister to a small number of deaf individuals who are members of the congregation. You can learn more about this program by clicking on the Hearing Impaired link.
Mission outreach finds its start in many places at Washington Avenue, not the least of which is our Youth Group. Annually our group of enthusiastic, dedicated and energetic young people participate in a summer campaign someplace within the USA to tell the story of Jesus, while at the same time providing church and community service in an area.
Much of the commentary in this link (and other mission links) has focused on what the Washington Avenue congregation is currently doing in the area of mission evangelism. And while communicating that information is important, it is incomplete. Looking forward, our Long Range Plan anticipates that we will plant a congregation of the church in our immediate area and a congregation in an international location. Reaching out for the Master is never finished…and we are committed to the concept of mission ministry. Periodic updates will find their way to this link.
After many months of planning the church plant in the Cincinnati, OH area came to fruition in July 2015. Read more about this work on the Cincinnati mission page.
Summer Youth Campaigns and Missions
Every summer the Washington Avenue Church of Christ Youth Group goes on a week-long mission trip to help congregations in need, while at the same time providing community support. The activities that we engage in include VBS presentations, disaster relief and cleanup work, door knocking, hosting youth rallies, visiting nursing homes, and many other evangelistic activities. Our campaigns have taken us to many places over the years and each summer we look forward to the chance to go somewhere new and bring others to Christ or encourage them in God’s Word. Below is a list of the cities that the WACC youth groups have visited during our summer mission campaigns.
1990 – Stroudsburg, PA
1991 – Ligonier, PA
1992 – Middleburg, FL
1993 – Albemarle, NC
1994 – Evansville, IN
1995 – Marshall, TX
1996 – Evansville, IN
1997 – Murfreesboro, TN
1998 – Murfreesboro, TN
1999 – Waverly, TN
2000 – Holland, MI
2001 – Lincoln, NE
2002 – Holland, MI
2003 – Middleburg, FL
2004 – Ligonier, PA
2005 – Etowah, TN
2006 – Endwell, NY
2007 – Burnsville & Iuka, MS
2008 – Bedford & Elnora, IN
2009 – Odin, IL
2010 – Dalton, GA
2011 – Horsehead, NY
2012 – Etowah, TN
2013 – Dry Ridge, KY
2014 – Cincinnati, OH (Queen City Church of Christ)
2015 – Vincennes, IN
2016 – Cincinnati, OH (Queen City Church of Christ)
2017 – Chattanooga, TN