Pastor Jonathan Bilima is bringing the gospel message to the California Baptist University neighborhood and sending shoes to people in need, all by creating additional worship services at Relevant Church.
Through a partnership with Soles4Souls, Relevant donated five pairs of shoes for each person who attended any of their services on Sunday, Sept. 18. Between the three services held approximately 500 people attended, resulting in 2,500 pairs of shoes.
“There are 300 million people around the world who do not have shoes. Almost 3,000 people will die today from diseases that could have been prevented if they only had shoes,” Bilima said.
Started in 2009, Relevant Church has made a habit of reaching out to the community. At their fall kick off service last Sept., for every person that attended the church provided 10 years of clean drinking water for a person in a developing country through the organization Charity Water.
They have also donated 500 turkeys at Thanksgiving and over 1500 toys Christmas time. Over the summer, Relevant hosted what they called a Gas Buy down event. The church lowered the cost of gas by $.50 for an afternoon at a local gas station.
“We wanted to give back to our local community in a tangible way that helps everyone out. Our community outreach programs have one goal, and that is to create an opportunity for the Gospel to be lived out and shared,” said Bilima. “We believe that God cares for those in need, so we want to do something about it,” Bilima said.
The 18th marked the first of two on campus services to be help by Relevant.
While their 9 and 11 a.m. services are and will continue to be held at Martin Luther King High School, on Sunday, Sept. 25 the church will hold another service in the Staples Room at 6 p.m. The following Sunday Relevant will be continuing their evening services at Riverside Christian School, located at 3532 Monroe St.
“Since the time of our core group and launching of Relevant Church, we have always had many CBU students come to our church but one big hang up was the ability to get a ride to church, since some students don’t have cars,” Bilima said. “We believe strongly that God has a heart for college students – their youthful energy, openness to God, and the fact that they are in a crucial point in their lives to make adult decisions about their faith”.
“On top of that, God opened a few strategic doors that led is in the direction of CBU and so we felt the Lord call us to offer a service opportunity at CBU. Though it is a big stretch for us, we believe that God is leading and so we are excited for what He will do,” Bilima said.
Relevant will be collecting new or gently used shoes for the next few weeks from anyone who would still like to participate in their partnership with Soles4Souls.