LIVEIT MINISTRIES CARRIES ON OVER 15-YEAR COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY
Saturday is usually a day people spend focused on refreshing and resting themselves, but instead, a group of students spend their Saturdays helping the surrounding community find rest.
Over 15 years ago, a group of Liberty University students and faculty had a heart for sharing the gospel with their community. The now weekly ministry in the Lynchburg area is working to become an independent nonprofit, and is now known as LiveIt Ministries.
Supported in partnership with One Community One Voice through Living Word Ministries, LiveIt Ministries is made up of Liberty University students, former and current, with a heart for volunteering and acts as a bridge between the church and the community through four children’s programs in local neighborhoods and four adult ministries.
Every Saturday morning, volunteers gather near Argo Tea at 10 a.m. where they worship and pray together before separating into the different volunteer sites offered through LiveIt and then serve in the community until around 1 p.m., depending on the specific sites and their goals for that Saturday.
While the team changes every four years or so due to the student circulation at Liberty, site leaders appoint new leaders and past members recruit team members so the cycle of passionate leadership and willing volunteers never ends.
LiveIt Ministries desires consistency in the lives of the children who are a part of their children’s programs. By maintaining a regular team throughout the years, LiveIt has been able to make genuine connections with kids who know the volunteers by name.
Faith Conrad is the Administrative Director of LiveIt Ministries. According to Conrad, the team looks to serve the community effectively by putting time and energy into helping often overlooked parts of the community.
“I love what we’re able to do and we love being able to give people the opportunity to grow in their leadership skills, the ministry, and no matter what degree program they’re from or what denomination, they come together to serve the Lynchburg area while they are here,” Conrad said.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, LiveIt has put one of their nursing home ministries on hold due to safety concerns.
Conrad was initially concerned about whether or not the community would want LiveIt’s children’s ministries to return this semester either because of COVID-19. Thankfully, the community welcomed LiveIt Ministries back in their neighborhoods to bring joy and familiarity, thanks to successful precautions.
Conrad emphasized the importance of complying with wearing masks.
“I know it’s frustrating because (we) are outside, but it is our way of showing the community that we are trying to be considerate,” Conrad said.
LiveIt’s adult ministries branch, which is overseen by Director of Adult Ministries Esther Jenks, serves the community by partnering with Parkview Missions, Lighthouse Community Center and the Salvation Army to complete projects that arise. Micah Seguin is the Director of Projects ministries and manages any requests sent in by community members or by LU Serve. All these service opportunities can range from building, to feeding or to simply showing up where they are needed.
Living Word Ministries becoming the parent ministry for LiveIt has helped the initiative to grow and get connected to the Lynchburg community. The church’s pastor, James E. Camm, has been integral to LiveIt’s growth in Lynchburg and constantly presents new projects and unique opportunities for LiveIt to make their presence known in the area.
“One Saturday last semester he just showed up on a Saturday and said, ‘Hey I have 200 coats that I have collected, and we would like to distribute them out to the community,” Conrad said.
Brooke Bunting is the Director of LiveIt’s children’s ministries and as a Lynchburg resident has a special heart for the children in this community and making them feel known and seen.
Bunting’s two-year involvement with LiveIt has brought the opportunity to watch some of the same kids grow in their relationship with God.
She recalled a boy in particular who struggled with bullying in school and subsequently the anger he had towards his bullies. Bunting asked him what he knew about Jesus and discovered that he saw Jesus as powerful in general but did not have a strong personal view of him. Bunting shared the gospel with him and told him the story of Job, emphasizing that God was with Job in the hard times when no one else was.
While the conversation went well, Bunting was not sure if any of what she said had truly resonated with the boy. It was not until several months later when Bunting asked a volunteer the highlight of his day and the volunteer said that the same boy had shared some hard truths about Job. They even found out that the boy came to know Christ later on.
Both Conrad and Bunting emphasized the way the kids now look forward to seeing LiveIt on Saturdays and thank volunteers who consistently show up week after week.
Bunting lives by the phrase “Be where your feet are” and encourages other students to show up on Saturdays and serve Lynchburg as much as they can, for as long as they can.
Anyone interested in serving with LiveIt Ministries can come to Argo Tea on Saturdays at 10 a.m.
Nadia Vires is a Feature Reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @nadiavires.