First Baptist Opelika allows for students to do this—only for a much greater purpose.
First Baptist Church in Opelika, Ala. has one of the largest college ministries in the area and in the past seven years, has expanded their outreach ministry immensely.
The largest outreach ministry is called Amplify, which is a spring break mission trip to Port Saint Joe and Apalachicola, Fla. The purpose of this trip is for college students to fellowship with each other, along with investing time into the communities and building relationships in order to spread the gospel.
While at Amplify, the day is spent in the local communities and the afternoon entails free time at the beach or block parties at the local hangouts where college students and residents come together and fellowship. The night is spent in worship and small groups where students are able to share testimonies and struggles with peers, all while pointing each other to Christ.
Joe Hwang has been a part of the Port Saint Joe ministry since it was started seven years ago.
“Amplify is an
incredible opportunity for people at First Baptist Church in Opelika to join together for several days, growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, experience the freedom of confessing sin, growing closer to each other as we share testimonies in small groups, and serving and loving the community in Port St. Joe, Fla., by proclamation of the gospel through construction, community dinners, and good ol' fashioned front porch sittin'.“ Hwang said.
Students who attend Amplify can either participate in construction or community outreach. The construction teams can work on projects ranging from yard work, painting or roofing, all the way to tearing down an entire house. Whatever the needs of the community, the students are there to serve.
Community outreach gives students the chance to have one-on-one conversations with residents of Port St. Joe or Apalachicola. Through these relationships built, students can share their testimonies and beliefs to citizens of the community. Thomas Osborne was a community outreach leader this past break and shares his passion for Christ through outreach.
“Amplify is not just a mission trip, it's an opportunity to be an ambassador of Christ in a place where nearly no one knows him. It's not just a break from school, it's a place where God will give you his heart for the lost, and that's not something you lose upon returning to Auburn.” Osborne said.
Some might look at this trip as “giving up” a spring break but there are some who have spent all four spring breaks of college attending Amplify. It might not be the most restful trip but spreading the gospel and building relationships is considered the perfect vacation to some.
“‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.’ 1 Corinthians 3:6-7
Over the past four years at Amplify, it has been amazing to see this verse in action in Port St. Joe. So many seeds have been planted and watching God give the growth has opened my eyes to see the urgency of sharing the gospel.” said Hallie Johnson, senior at Auburn University.
This trip showcases many Auburn students’ willingness to serve and passion for sharing the gospel during a week that could be used doing anything else. Now there is nothing wrong with spending your spring break lounging in the sand, but there is something to be said for the students that would give that up for strangers, and would gladly do it again, in the name of Christ.
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