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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Ministry takes worship mobile

Some may say that a building is necessary to have a church. The staff of Project Reach ministries disagrees.
Project Reach began this past spring when communication sophomore and founder Graham Thompson noticed empty seats while leading worship service at Grace Bible Church one Sunday. Now established as a 501(c) non-profit under its parent organization, the Bineham Mission Foundation, Project Reach brings its worship services to those unable to attend a traditional church service.
“That Sunday I went into the nursing home with my acoustic guitar and Bible and went to all the different rooms, sat with each of them, prayed over them, read scripture and led a worship service,” Graham said. “A couple weeks later, I invited my brother to come with me and I recognized when there were more people involved there was more success. I really realized that there was more to it than just Graham and his acoustic guitar.”
Reach coordinates every Sunday afternoon at Mugwalls — one of its sponsors — for coffee and fellowship before beginning its worship services at its designated sites.
Project sites are determined based on locations with the most people incapable of reaching services.
“Whether they have special needs, they’re orphans, they’re in a nursing home, they’re underprivileged youth — regardless of the reason, there are thousands of people right here in Bryan-College Station who can’t come to church,” Graham said.
Since then, the organization has grown to 30 members. With this growth, the organization began to reassess how it could incorporate the elements of worship, message and community into its program.
“We have two worship leaders, two speakers and four ministers who have specific roles in bringing the church experience to different environments, different ecosystems,” Graham said.
Project Reach gathers in two sites — at Magnified Nursing and Rehab on Anderson and at a playground in the Jordan Loop area.
Tara Schickedanz, business sophomore and Magnified site manager, travels with a group of eight to the nursing home and invites any of the residents who are willing and capable to join the group in the dining room for worship, songs and a short sermon.
“Older people tend to really relate to music especially, just because it reminds them of their childhood, so we’ll sing about eight hymns, songs that they know, definitely more traditional songs, and it’s really rewarding to see them light up when they hear it,” Schickedanz said. “Some of them, you never see them smile until they hear a song.”
Schickedanz said there is an opportunity to become close with the residents.
“Once we’re finished we spend about another 30 minutes with them after the sermon just listening to their life stories, because they always have something to say,” Schickedanz said.
Of the Magnified residents, about 15 to 25 people make it to the service each week. Schickedanz said she and the Magnified Reach team ensure that the residents feel warmly welcomed.
“There are two [people] leading worship and then the rest of them are sitting among residents holding their hand, because they love touch,” Schickedanz said. “Just really sitting with them and loving on them.”
Mac Thompson, communication junior and brother to Graham, is a part of the Jordan Loop Reach team that engages with youth.
“When we got back from the summer we experienced some exponential growth and we had too many volunteers to be going into a nursing home at one time,” Mac said. “And so we talked to our people and a lot of us, including myself, have a passion for children. We have a gift with interacting with them and not a lot of people have that.”
Although the programs differ in order to cater to varying age groups, Reach creates an environment where anyone can participate in worship and listen to a message.
“We really just spend time with them trying to get to know them and what their passions are, what their focuses are, what they want to be,” Mac said.
Mac said there are frisbee, football and baseball activities as well as snacks distributed to the kids.
“Whenever they’re asking us for things, [we’re] always making sure they’re saying ‘please’ and trying to instill some values in them that maybe they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Mac said.
Mac said he and the rest of the Jordan Loop Reach team noticed during one particular visit that older teenagers and parents came out onto their porches upon the team’s arrival.
“The curiosity’s there,” Mac said. “The opportunity to reach more than just the children — maybe that’s a way to expand a little bit more, because I think everybody there could use some love.”
Graham said the primary focus of Project Reach is to continue to extend the love of God.
“Yeah, we can make these plans, we can drink a bunch of coffee — the thing is when we submit our time to Christ, the yielded outcome is so much greater than our own ambition, our own intentions,” Graham said.
Project Reach is not merely a non-profit organization, but is modeled after a church, Graham said.
“Project Reach is a church — you don’t need a building to be a church, the church is who we are,” Graham said. “We’re about following Christ’s example and being the church to those who don’t have the church.”

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