Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries
For twenty three years the “Singles Serving The Savior” of First Baptist Church, Lebanon, Tennessee has been a part of Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries. It has been a joy to work with Bill and Cindy Black. What a blessing they have been to the ministry in Gatlinburg and to us! Each Memorial Day weekend our group has led worship services in various campgrounds. It is a blessing to worship and fellowship with campers from all over the USA. Some of the campers take time to share what the Lord is doing in their lives. Some have experienced the death of a loved one or are seeking the Lord’s will in their lives. What a great opportunity to share the love of Christ with them! Thank you, Bill and Cindy and the TBC for giving us this opportunity.
Rev. Don McElroy, Associate Pastor, FBC, Lebanon
I became interested in the Smoky Mountain Resort Ministry twenty-three years ago, when I found that there was a need to minister to the campers. The Singles group from First Baptist of Lebanon, Tennessee, were invited to come on Memorial Day weekend to help start the summer camping season. The campers were friendly and interested in having a worship service on Sundays within their own campgrounds. I found out from Bill Black, the director of Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries, that many campers receive a blessing and make a decision for Christ during the summer season. It is this knowledge, which keeps me returning each year to kick off the summer camping season for SMRM with First Baptist of Lebanon, Tennessee. I also enjoy the fellowship of the Singles group from Lebanon F.B.C. and Don and Ann McElroy, who coordinate this annual mission trip with Bill Black.
Memorial Day, 2009 was my first opportunity to participate in the mission project FBC does annually with SMRM. The opportunity to visit in the campgrounds reminded me of the “fine folks” that enjoy this vacation lifestyle. I was greeting courteously as I extended invitations to our worship services on Sunday morning; yet some of those people did not know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
God opened the door for me to share Jesus with a man at his campsite. He started asking questions so I jumped right into the opportunity. The man told me he would not be at worship but would send his family. I pray others will continue to water those seeds planted.
As a former camper, I know ho important these worship services are to reach our world for Christ. Thank you to the Blacks, SMRM, TBC, and my church for allowing me to be a part.
Our Memorial Day trips to Gatlinburg are both relaxing and invigorating. We get to see true ministry at work through Smoky Mountain Resort Ministry. It is my privilege to be a part of this ministry. I feel so blessed to be able to use my gifts and talents to share the uplifting message of Christ with campers, if only for the weekend. SMRM ministers to a wide population in the Smoky Mountain Region. This includes believing campers, seeking to continue their worship while enjoying the beauty of the area, the temporary and permanent staff of the resorts, and those who are searching for life’s spiritual answers. This ministry strives to meet not only the spiritual needs but the physical and emotional, too.
Our Gatlinburg weekend also means a time of relaxation and fellowship with fellow singles from my church, FBC Lebanon, Tennessee. This may include taking in a show, driving around the beautiful scenery, or just sitting in the swing on the porch of our cabins. Together the ministry and the relaxation make for a memorable and uplifting experience each year.
Each of these comments about the relationship between FBC, Lebanon and SMRM reveals the heart and hope of partnership mission through commitment.
Don McElroy’s statements show the longevity of relationship. The consistent returning partners and the room for fresh participation demonstrates the commitment to missions necessary for our world to be reached. Raymond Hunter’s words reveal his heart of care for people. Elaine Pearson’s words point to the focused prayers and intentional work needed in resort missions. David Hunter’s approach shows that missions is fun!