Three years ago the Lord gave Lil Tolley an idea: provide a free shopping day for those who cannot afford to purchase Christmas gifts for their families, share the good news of Jesus Christ with them, and teach children the true meaning of Christmas and the joy of giving. And that’s how FSD at Faith Baptist was born.
to view photos and HERE
to read a story from a past Free Shopping Day.
What’s new? During the three years that Faith Baptist has held FSD, Lil and her team of helpers, including Deacon James Barfield, have learned from each FSD and made improvements the following year. This year’s FSD will be different from the others in at least three ways:
We are not giving gifts to the adults; the children will make gifts for them. Lil says:
When God laid this on my heart, it was not just that the children should receive things, but that they should also learn about giving. That was a point of them choosing gifts for their parents. So we have decided that this year they will be making crafts for their parents.
Lil shares how God provided for these crafts: She and James had been talking over the idea of the children making gifts. “The very next Sunday, James came up to me and said, ‘Hey, Lil, have you seen the bulletin?’ He pointed to where Josh Brown had put a notice that there were a lot of boxes in a certain classroom. “I went over there and wrote ‘FSD’ on all but two of them. I think that 90% of our crafts and supplies were presented right there. I think it will be almost cost free for us to do the crafts. God really provided!” says Lil.
We will be using the Family Life Center this year. Lil says: “We’re using the new gymnasium this year, which I believe will make it a lot nicer, since we will be serving the food to our guests.”
We are giving gifts to 500 children.
What can I do? Lil says, “We need more volunteers!” Each member of Faith Baptist can use their spiritual and natural gifts to help. Here’s how:
Food prep and service—We need people to cook, serve the food, or talk to the people.
There are a lot of children who could not tell you the true meaning of Christmas. So that is the first step—to get them to understand what the true meaning is; that in the birth of Jesus Christ, that was the first step in our salvation plan. Eventually they learn the rest—about Him dying for us and taking our sins and that we then can live throughout eternity in peace with our Lord. — Lil Tolley, FSD Coordinator
Evangelism—“We need soul searchers,” says Lil.
We’ll use Fellowship Hall as a transition place. We need soul searchers to talk to them, tell them we love them, tell them Jesus loves them more.” Lil explains: “My real goal is that many lives will turn to Jesus Christ, that Faith Baptist Church will shine out in our community as a safe haven—a place where people can come and hear the truth, learn the truth, be taught the truth, and be supported by the truthful. The world has so many things to offer this year that are so temporal and they look nice and shiny on the outside, but when you get to the depths, they are just fake; they are not true. At Faith Baptist Church, they’re going to find the real truth. So the goal is that people will come to know Christ as their Savior and avoid that eternal separation that would happen if they didn’t know Him as their personal Savior.
Prayer—“We need prayer for this event. God has blessed us in the last two years more than we imagined,” says Lil. Here are eight prayer requests:
Gifts or money to purchase gifts for 500 children
Volunteers to help with FSD
Hearts open to the gospel. Lil says, “The big, big issue of this whole thing is to bring people to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.”
Soul seekers and speakers who will share the good news of Jesus Christ and the real meaning of Christmas
Loving, patient, kind workers on FSD. Lil says that the second goal of FSD is to bring glory to God.
The logistics. Pray for the logistics concerning gifts and numbers of people in any space at a given time. Lil says, “It takes a lot of organization and follow-through and coding things.” Keeping people moving is important. “We have to watch fire laws, so we can have only so many people in the chapel and other places,” says Lil.
The follow-up. Lil says, “We should pray for these families throughout the year—that hands would be stopped before they hit, that little ears would be protected, that the adults would find peace.”
Other aspects of the event
Gift-wrappers—“The reason we offer gift wrap is it completes the process and gives some of that wow factor. When the adults walk out of the building and they have beautifully wrapped gifts, people are going to remember ‘beautiful—that church’; ‘beautiful—God.’ It helps the people, and it also keeps the gift a secret.”
Corporate sponsors—Lil says, “We could use corporate sponsors. Because I’ve allowed myself to get too busy, that’s not something I’ve hit the streets and worked on.”
These are only a few of the areas available for service. Sign-up sheets are available at the FSD table in the foyer. “We’re asking volunteers to put an e-mail address because it takes so much time to sit down to talk (call) individually. So we’ll send one e-mail out to everybody,” says Lil. You can choose your area of interest, or you can indicate you’re willing to serve wherever needed.
Lil understands that times are tough for our church family. She says:
Some of them are probably discouraged—‘I can’t provide for my own family; how am I going to help provide for somebody else?’ My prayer is that God will provide. But the people who can’t give a gift or a financial gift, will be able to help out and have peace about that. Their gift [of service or prayer] is just as important as if they brought a toy or money.
How can I become a shopper?
If you’re interested in being a shopper, or if you know someone who is, pick up an application in the church foyer. Someone will be at the FSD table at least 30 minutes before and after every service, including Sunday School (except not before the 8 a.m. Sunday services). After a person submits the form, or “app,” they receive an orange slip. “That’s the way they get in the door,” says Lil.
All Applications Due by Sunday, November 13.