LMA seeks to be 'spiritual watcher'
By Tony E. Windsor
A local pastor is encouraging his colleagues in the ministry to do their spiritual work not only in the confines of the walls of their church, but within the community as well. Pastor Tim Dukes, senior pastor of the Central Worship Center, Laurel, representing the Laurel Ministerial Association, recently hosted the Laurel Chamber of Commerce General Membership meeting at the Georgia House. Several local church pastors representing the association attended the event as well.
Dukes recalled how a number of years ago seven local pastors left the Laurel area for work in other areas. He said this was very disappointing and "such a loss" for Laurel. "I had built such a relationship with these pastors and it was such a downer to lose them," he said. He said however, in the coming years new pastors have come to the area and he is excited about how well the churches now work together.
"The new pastors have been tremendous," he said. "Working through the Ministerial Association our churches have come together and lay down some of the petty doctrines that may separate us." He went on to share some of the community events that the Ministerial Association currently offers, including the annual interfaith Prayer Breakfast, held at the Georgia House restaurant during the start of the Laurel Fourth of July festivities; the Thanksgiving Community Service; the Good Friday Sunrise Service, and the Laurel High School Baccalaureate Services at Centenary U.M. Church. Dukes said the Ministerial Association also awards three $500 scholarships to graduating Laurel High School seniors each year.
Dukes lauded the Laurel community's willingness to reach out to help others in need. He credits the Laurel Good Samaritan as being one of the "most wonderful Christian outreaches" he has been associated with. Dukes said he also serves on the Good Samaritan board and has participated for a number of years in the organization's annual Christmas charity drive.
"The Good Samaritan does wonderful work," he said. "I have spent 25 years in the ministry in four states and I believe the Good Samaritan has one of the most wonderful Christian outreaches. It is an honor to serve on the board." Dukes said in the most recent Christmas ministry, 600 children and 270 families received gifts and food baskets. "Last year I had someone go along with me to do the Christmas deliveries," he said.
"This was a very successful Laurel businessman and we visited a home where a family was living in deplorable conditions. This home was only two miles from where this businessman lived in a very upscale, beautiful home. He was almost brought to tears by seeing how much the Good Samaritan outreach means to those people who are in need."
Dukes said the Laurel Ministerial Association is planning for the future and wants to be even more involved in the community at-large. He said there are plans to become active in promoting the annual National Day of Prayer in the community and take part in a special student mentoring program being developed by the Laurel School District for the fall.
He said it is important that the local churches become the "spiritual watchers" for the community and use their influence to support the well-being of its citizens. "We all got here from different avenues," Dukes said. "We all have different stories to tell. We need to be set up to be spiritual watchers. We need to not only pastor to those people who come to our church, but pastor to the entire community. Our job is to influence. We as pastors are here to do whatever we can do in the community to raise awareness of who Jesus is."
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