Tifton Gazette

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February 2, 2013

Members of Shiloh Baptist Church participate in Street Ministry Walk

TIFTON —  Members of Shiloh Baptist Church held a Street Ministry Walk last Saturday to encourage the public to come to church and learn more about Jesus Christ.

The Rev. Rudolph Porter has been the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church for a year now. He said Shiloh Baptist Church has been in Tifton for more than 150 years. He stated that it was the first black Baptist church established in Tift County.

Porter said the Street Ministry Walk, chaired by the Rev. Raleigh Parson, is just one of 14 plus ministries at Shiloh. He stated that last Saturday’s walk was the second ministry walk by the church; however, they plan to do these walks throughout the year on several occasions.

“We’re going to be walking in the streets regularly to encourage people to learn more about our Lord Jesus Christ,” Porter stated. “Hopefully, other churches will do the same.”

He said a total of seven people, including himself, who felt led by God to do outreach went out into the streets and walked a five mile radius.

“We came in contact with almost 100 people,” he stated. “There was no pressure. We talked about the church hours and encouraged them to come. It was low key and sincere. People were pleasantly impressed.”

Porter added that participants in the walk were also enthusiastic.

“It’s all about rolling up your sleeves and recognizing those who are lost, like me,” he said. “I’m a much improved version of who I was when I was found 50 years ago on the streets in Jacksonville, Fla.”

He stated that a deacon (Mr. Patterson) encouraged him to go to church. Now a college graduate and pastor, Porter says his life changed because “someone got me off the corner and told me to come to church and learn more about Jesus Christ.” He stated that Shiloh is taking this same spirit to the streets of Tifton.

“You go where the people are. You don’t wait for them to come to you,” he said. “Jesus went where the people were. He was accessible to the people. We want our ministries to be accessible to the people. We want the community to feel comfortable attending [Shiloh Baptist Church]. We want the pimp, the prostitute, the gambler, the liar — anyone with sinful shortcomings to benefit. We have a ministry to teach you how to overcome your shortcomings by learning more about Jesus Christ.”

Porter added that the church belongs to God.

"Jesus and Christianity is the way, I believe, and that’s what we’re compelling people to learn more about,” he said.

He stated that his vision is to expand the walls of Shiloh — anyone is welcome.

“By being a spiritual welcome mat, it is genuine and sincere,” Porter said.

By participating in the Street Ministry Walk, he stated, “I’m asking people to take it to the streets and encourage others to come to the sanctuary. If every church, black and white, was out on the streets compelling people to come, look at what that would do to reduce violence, teen pregnancy, drugs, etc.”

He added, “If we don’t go out and make ourselves available, that’s when other elements come in.”

He noted that stopping the violence is another message that he wants to take to the community.

At Shiloh Baptist Church, Porter says their many ministries are spiritually hands-on and Bible-based. He noted that every third Sunday is “Youth Sunday,” where they recognize any accomplishments by youth members. He said 20 young people were recognized on the last third Sunday.

“It encourages them to continue,” Porter stated. “We concentrate on good news at Shiloh.”

He said they follow Corinthians 14:40 — “Let all things be done decently, and in order.”

To contact the church, call 382-5152.

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