By Reginald Hayes
Located on Harrisburg Road five miles from the Ohio River in Bidwell, Ohio in Gallia County is Countryside Baptist Church pastored by Randy Phillips. Countryside Baptist had its beginning through Bible studies held in members’ homes. In 2008 the church’s growth led the congregation to move into a newly constructed facility. The members of Countryside Baptist believe God built their church to not only feed people spiritually, but also provide for anyone that has physical needs.
Today Countryside Baptist, under the leadership of Pastor Randy Phillips, is actively helping about 125 families monthly through their Partners in Christ Outreach Program by providing food, fresh produce, clothes, diapers, and hygiene products. Starting right after the pandemic began, Countryside now plows and plants fresh produce on a one-acre tract of land owned by the church. Families are welcomed to pick their own vegetables. In addition, produce is delivered by church members to senior citizens and shut-ins throughout Gallia, Lawrence, Jackson, and Meigs Counties. Countryside church provides all the funding for the Partners in Christ Outreach Program.
Another important component of Countryside’s Partners in Christ Outreach Program is the clothing giveaway every first Saturday of the month. People and families, whether homeless or suffering from the economic crisis that has hit hard in these economically distressed counties, are allowed to browse through the clothing store and choose what they need free of charge. Government agencies like Community Action’s Help Me Grow Program refer the homeless, families displaced by fire or flooding, and other clients to Countryside Baptist Church for their nutritional, clothing, and hygiene needs.
Through the Partners in Christ Outreach Program every recipient is presented the gospel and an invitation to receive Jesus Christ by a church mission team member. Recipients also receive Christian literature, devotional guides, and an invitation to attend a church worship service. in March 2022 alone, four recipients of the outreach program received Jesus Christ and became members of Countryside Baptist Church.
Every church member at Countryside is involved in the outreach program. Pastor Phillips says, “God built our church with love and grace. In times like these where there is so much uncertainty on every hand in so many people’s lives we at Countryside believe no one should ever be hungry or without clothes. It’s a pleasure to help people who have a need. That’s what God commands the church to do. Countryside is more blessed every time we are able to be a blessing to others.”