WEST COLUMBIA—When Colby Wallace was sent by First Baptist Church of West Columbia to plant West Oaks Church, he knew he had a mandate to mobilize the new congregation to actively reach out to the community.
West Oaks officially launched and began meeting in a high school at the beginning of 2020 with a mission of reaching “the unchurched, the de-churched, and the skeptic.” Seven families were sent out from FBC West Columbia with Wallace and his family.
Only five services into their new launch, COVID struck and, as Wallace says, “the whole world shut down.” The church’s first Easter was celebrated remotely. By July, the church began to gather once again and resume its mission of connecting with people in the community. On one occasion, church members went to a local laundromat and handed out quarters and washing pods. Another time, they went into town and washed the windows of local businesses as a way of saying “thank you” for their service to the community.
All this happened while Wallace continually urged his congregation to connect with the people in their neighborhoods and workplaces.
“We didn’t really do anything spectacular,” he said. “We really just were involved in our community and became a part of the every day lives of the people around us.”
The fruit of the church’s labor was apparent this past Easter, when around 400 adults and 100 children were in attendance. Even more exciting, Wallace said, is the fact many of those new faces made it back in the weeks that followed after hearing the life-changing message of the gospel.
“It’s because of Reach Texas and the Cooperative Program that our church is here,” Wallace said. “It’s because of [cooperative giving] … that churches like ours are having an eternal impact, not just in building a church, but in building the kingdom of God. We’re grateful.”