Pittsburgh’s Send Relief Ministry Center Looks to Multiply Through Churches

Students from South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pa., spend their Saturday morning packing backpacks for members of Pittsburgh’s homeless community. They were among over 100 volunteers who helped during the Pittsburgh Send Relief ministry center’s grand opening. Photo by Gabriel Stovall/NAMB

While more than 100 volunteers and well-wishers filled Vintage Church’s freshly renovated basement during the grand opening of Pittsburgh’s Send Relief Ministry Center, Adam Sewell heard one word repeat in his mind. Faithful.

That’s how Sewell, a Send Relief Missionary in Pittsburgh, described the Oct. 19 grand opening ceremony, which included a homeless care package assembling event, a Chick-fil-A lunch for volunteers and a time of worship and sharing the Gospel. Volunteers filled 250 backpacks with food and daily living supplies.

“God has definitely been faithful,” Sewell said. “This has been a dream for so many years. So just to be here with over 100 people who were in here just serving, the bags up front, the love being shown here — this is God’s people serving God’s people. It’s pretty overwhelming.”

Rob Wilton, the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Send City Missionary in Pittsburgh and a former New Orleans church planter, echoed similar sentiments.

“This has always been a dream of mine,” Wilton said. “I’m thankful to God that we’re able to see this dream come alive.”

Send Relief is NAMB’s compassion ministry arm. The Pittsburgh ministry center is the seventh, joining centers in New York City, Appalachia (Ashland, Ky.), New Orleans, Clarkston (Ga.), Las Vegas and Puerto Rico.

Each ministry center focuses on one of Send Relief’s core ministry areas: poverty, refugees and internationals, foster care and adoption, human trafficking and crisis response.

Pittsburgh’s center, housed in Vintage’s lower level, will focus on poverty and includes showers, a laundry room and serves as a point place for feeding and clothing ministries.

For Sewell and Wilton, Vintage Church’s lead pastor, the ministry center’s launch is a culmination of more than a year of watching God’s hand work by knitting together unlikely relationships and partnerships to create a way for Southern Baptist churches to provide compassion ministry to Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable.

Six years ago, Sewell, a central Pennsylvania native, and his wife planted The Well Church, launching it from their home.

“Later, we were able to rent a storefront right down the road from here, and when that happened, we felt it was God opening a door to compassion ministry for us,” Sewell said. “It made sense to us because these are our neighbors.”

When Sewell and his church plant made the move out of his house, he began seeing God provide as only He can.

“We had no budget for the kind of ministry we wanted to do here,” he said. “We just had availability. I didn’t know how to stock any of it. We put out our vision to our neighbors, and the neighbors were the ones who showed up. All the clothes in our clothing store came from our neighbors, so many of our neighbors heard the Gospel regularly.

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Source: Baptist Press