Convoy Event Sparks Washington Church's Passion for Helping its Community
A give-away event sponsored by Convoy of Hope sparked a movement in a small, Washington congregation that would result in blessings for both the church and its community.A spark ignited by a Convoy of Hope outreach event nearly eight years ago set ablaze one church’s passion for community assistance and engagement.
After participating in a food-giveaway event sponsored by Convoy of Hope in Washington and receiving positive feedback from the community center, Pastor Richard Monks and his congregation began to search for ways that they could continue to be more involved in blessing their community.
“As I began to pray about ways our small church could help, I felt led to call our local school and see how many families were behind in paying their child’s breakfast or lunch balance,” says Monks.
At the close of the Christmas break, Woodland Assembly of God was able to completely clear the school’s negative balance sheet, giving a clean slate to 66 families as the second semester started.
It was in this act of service that Woodland Assembly found a connection with the local police department.
“We knew these civil servants were working hard so, to show our gratitude to them, I started taking them pizza and donuts on a weekly basis,” says Monks.
The establishment where Monks was getting the pizza took note of what the church was doing and were touched at the act of kindness. After a year, the pizza shop asked if they could donate the pizza so the church didn’t have a cost in what they were providing to the police department.
“I was touched because there were just a lot of young kids that worked there and they wanted to be part of what we were doing,” Monks says.
To thank them for their generosity, when he went to pick up the pizza, Monks would take them a box of donuts as well.
This weekly drop off soon also included city officials.
“I loved the connections we were making so we wanted to start doing the same thing for city officials,” remarks Monks.
“[They are] an example of a small church in a small town doing a great work,” says Don Detrick, associate network leader and secretary-treasurer of the Northwest Ministry Network.
The connections made led to deeper involvement in a community celebration for the National Day of Prayer event, during which Monks was asked to be one of the leaders who prayed.
It soon seemed as if the entire town was becoming connected. Yet in the midst of the community connections, COVID-19 hit the country and the church was forced to cease services for a period of time.
“I remember one morning I was praying and asking God what we should do during this time and I heard him say that this was the time to remodel. It was something that we had needed to do but couldn’t do easily while services were going,” says Monks.
As the small church began the remodeling process, the staff of Woodland Assembly decided to take the process slow, tackling one project at a time due to finances.
Carol J. Blair, who began attending Woodland Assembly in 1989, states that at the beginning of the project, the church could barely cover its bills.
“We would collect the offering on Sunday morning and I would pray over the money on Sunday night that we would have enough to make our payments,” Blair, the church bookkeeper says.
The community took note of what the church was doing and jumped in to support the body of believers who had become a beacon of light in the city.
“We would have random people just pull in and drop off money. There was a larger church who made a substantial donation and said that they wanted to sow a seed into our ministry because of all the good we were doing,” states Monks.
As they started to fundraise to build the portico, a contractor and his wife happened to visit the church. When the couple asked about the fundraising project and found out what the church was wanting to add to the building, the gentleman offered to build the entire structure with his crew for free. The only cost incurred would be the church’s purchase of necessary materials. Jumping at the opportunity, another community connection allowed the church to buy the materials at a quarter of the listed cost.
“We really saw the fruit of the faithful work we had been sowing in obedience,” Monks says. “We walked in faith when God called us, just like Peter stepped out of the boat when Jesus beckoned him, and He provided exactly what we needed.”
At the end of the renovations, and when COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, Woodland Assembly of God reopened its doors, completely remodeled, with no debt.
“It has been truly amazing to see the miracles done, from paying off the building to a total remodel, all because Woodland walked in obedience to everything God asked,” says Blair.
Monks thanks Convoy of Hope for planting a seed in the hearts of his church members that afforded them the opportunity to walk in obedience to the Lord and serve their community.
Detrick says that Woodland Assembly has done an incredible job of reaching out and partnering with the community to meet the needs “next door.”