“Sometimes people don’t think they are welcome in the church, yet here they find themselves abundantly welcome. That’s who Jesus is.”
It is with this understanding and intention that First Baptist Church of North Kansas City has worked with eyes wide open to include all those surrounding them. Next door to the North Kansas City Public Library and near a main thoroughfare, FBC NKC encounters many who are experiencing homelessness and need. They invite all into the doors of the church, just as all are invited into the arms of Christ.
From this awareness and the desire to be a consistent presence of compassion, FBC NKC created Church on the Porch. Every Tuesday evening from April to November, they grill out and spend time with all. From high school students stopping by from after-school activities to church attendees to homeless individuals and families. “We sit down and build community together,” Tiger explains.
“A culture of complete non-judgmental compassion has been set.” This culture has grown into many other ministries and opportunities to serve. Wednesday night family meals, happening year-round, are warm and welcoming, embracing all. The children’s and youth ministry has grown because of the church’s commitment to serve with a noteworthy level of enthusiasm, depth, and excellence.
One of the most unique ministries that has grown out of FBC NKC is HomeFront. The church recognized the significant need in the community of both families and individuals experiencing homelessness. While partnering with Hillcrest Hope to house families in need, the need continues to grow. FBC NKC has owned a home for many years next door to the church that once served as a home for missionaries on furlough.
As it sat empty, the church leadership felt an intense desire to not let this resource go unused. They knew a home was an impactful way to change a struggling family’s future. This home has now been used for 10 years as a resource for people in crisis, both for church members and non-members alike. The church has since been able to acquire and rehabilitate another home on the same block to offer even more opportunity to further their mission to be a consistent presence of compassion. Through this, another ministry has developed: Second Chance ministry. This is a support and commitment to those with criminal records in need of help and hope.
When asked about all of these ministries and the time and energy that they require, Pastor Tiger graciously answered that, “God gifts us all types of people and needs to teach us perseverance in faithfulness and caring.” First Baptist Church of North Kansas City does not shy away from those in need.
“We believe that as long as there are families in crisis, we are all in crisis.” Admitting that we are all connected can be one of the most difficult pieces to creating change. Yet, as Pastor Tiger profoundly stated, “Hope is born of being cared for.”
“The church should be the church in such a way that the community would miss us if we were not here. We desire and challenge ourselves to make such a difference and provide in such a way that people truly recognize the need for the church, the body of Christ.”
We could not be more thankful to count First Baptist Church of North Kansas City as a partner in hope.