PHOTO: Pastor Emeritus Jay Wells of Simeon Baptist Church in Antioch, Tenn., speaks during a press conference at the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board headquarters on October 25, 2017./Brooke Wanser
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, a ministry of the Tennessee Baptist Mission board, is hosting a 40th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, July 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Missions Mobilization Center in Mount Juliet. (Address: 6434 John Hagar Road, Mt Juliet, TN 37122)
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, established in 1978, has continually earned accolades from across the globe for its tireless efforts in ministering to those who have been impacted by fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and other devastating events.
“It would be impossible to fully calculate the immeasurable impact Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief have had over the past 40 years,” said Tennessee Baptist Mission Board president and executive director Randy C. Davis. “Our DR volunteers serve because they love Jesus and love people. And we want to celebrate that along with TBDR’s bright future.”
When TBDR launched in 1978, the ministry started primarily as a feeding unit, but quickly expanded to include other services. Archie King, the former Brotherhood Director at the Tennessee Baptist Convention (now the TBMB), was among the early leaders of TBDR.
Today, Tennessee Baptist DR is widely recognized for its prompt and effective work. In 2017, Tennessee Baptist DR teams logged more than 28,000 work hours, prepared 130,989 meals and purified more than 1,000 gallons of water. The Tennessee DR teams completed more than 400 projects in Gatlinburg alone after the deadly wildfires in that area.
“Our DR teams in Tennessee always have a desire to go and to serve. When the doors open, they will go,” said Wes Jones, the disaster relief specialist for the TBMB. “We are excited about the ways we’ve been able to serve in recent years — and we’re certainly excited to be celebrating the history of the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief — but we believe our best work is still ahead of us.”
Davis said he is looking forward to the opportunity to honor and recognize a group that has selflessly served others in Jesus’ name for the past four decades.
“The 40 years of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief — it isn’t just a history, it’s a legacy,” said Davis. “Whether it is mud-out teams following floods, or chain saw crews clearing trees off of houses, or food-service teams preparing thousands of meals for thousands of people who find themselves destitute in a matter of seconds, a legacy for serving has been built on the sore backs and tired feet of DR volunteers. Our folks are among the first in and almost always the last out. They stay long after the photo ops have ended and long after the news interest has faded.”
“Only God knows the number of souls saved as a result of the gospel being shared with people during a time of their greatest need,” added Davis. “Only He knows the hurts that have been comforted by an encouraging word or a heart-felt hug from a DR volunteer.”
The Tennessee Baptist Mission Board is based in the Berry Farms subdivision in Franklin, Tennessee.