By Ben Brown
Frankfort, Kentucky, sits about 400 miles north and west of Atlanta, Georgia; but these two communities are connected by more than just Interstate 75. The drive takes about seven hours, but missions between two CBF churches: First Baptist Church of Frankfort and Johns Creek Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, connects these two places.
First Baptist Frankfort is heavily involved in Mission Frankfort Clinic which provides primary medical and dental care and prescription medications to underserved persons free of charge. The clinic was founded in 2002 and is run by some paid staff and volunteers from several area churches. The clinic is essential in the community due to a significant number of people without insurance or other options for healthcare.
Since its opening, Mission Frankfort has seen a significant rise in patient visits due to the need for free healthcare for uninsured people. While this mission is being utilized, they were also in need of many new medical items with which to serve the community.
Mission Frankfort Clinic received a $9,900 grant from the American Academy of Family Physicians. Michelle Carroll, the associate pastor for missions at First Baptist Church, worked with the clinic medical director to secure all of these needed items with this grant.
“I knew we wanted some new medical exam tables. We’re a downtown church and the clinic is on our third floor; so the first thing I did was measure the elevator. We ordered three medical exam tables which, of course, needed to be shipped by freight which gets very expensive,” said Carroll. In fact, the cost of freight shipping was limiting her options. Also, they still needed several more items like an otoscope and blood pressure cuffs for their electric machine.
“I knew the cost of shipping could equal many other items we’d like to have for the clinic and, no matter what, we’d need volunteers on the ground here to get them into place, even if we paid for shipping,” said Carroll.
The ordered medical items would be shipped from Cumming, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, and Carroll wondered if she could avoid the shipping charge all together.
Carroll, who had attended McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, posted on an alumni group through social media. Within a few days, Shaun King, the senior pastor at Johns Creek Baptist expressed interest in assisting with this venture. The next day, Terri Byrd, the mobilization pastor at Johns Creek talked on the phone with Michelle Carroll to set up logistics.
“We knew that we could help because the Cumming location is close to Johns Creek. We actually asked our congregation for volunteers during Sunday morning worship, which is unusual for us, but we realized time was an important factor in our response,” said Byrd.
Members from JCBC volunteered and loaded the medical equipment into their own trucks and trailers and hauled the items to Frankfort. Others donated funds to assist with the cost of travel expenses. Volunteers from Johns Creek met with volunteers from First Baptist Frankfurt and from another partner church, Capital City Church in Frankfort to put the medical equipment into place.
Because of the generosity and creative collaboration of these churches, about $800 was saved. That’s the cost of spirometer system that measures lung health.
“Our missiology at Johns Creek celebrates asset-based community development and partnerships,” said Byrd. “We are glad to support and partner with Mission Frankfort as they serve their community.”