The Mission Frankfort Clinic, an outreach of First Baptist Church, Frankfort, Ky., is now a growing ministry providing free dental care to Frankfort’s needy.
“One of the main reasons First Baptist Church chose to create a free dental clinic was because it is one of the only areas of care the local health department does not have a resource for in our community,” Keith Felton, minister of missions and young adults at First Baptist, told EthicsDaily.com.
“We believe God calls churches to meet the needs of people in a holistic manner,” said Felton, “and this is one way to obey that directive.” Felton also said the church’s young adults class is already studying Courageous Churches, the new curriculum from Acacia Resources that helps churches explore examples of biblical courage.
First Baptist turned a large storage room into a state-of-the-art dental facility with the help of Don Grammer, a consultant with Nashville Dental, Inc., and the church’s own Charlie Smith, the properties committee chairman for the project.
Stephanie Roney, a Frankfort dentist, told EthicsDaily.com she was excited to be asked to participate in the Mission Frankfort Clinic.
Roney said her main concern was the cost of such an undertaking, because good dental care requires expensive supplies and equipment.
Although funding is still an issue for the clinic, “support of the congregation and the mission outreach program at the First Baptist Church is phenomenal,” said Roney. “We have been fortunate enough to receive many donations of old equipment and we are constantly looking for avenues of financial support.”
Roney said a great deal is done with faith that the Lord will provide.
Felton told EthicsDaily.com that church members play a vital role in the clinic’s operations. Over 30 members make up the church’s “ministry team” for the clinic. They perform receptionist work and also put together “patient packages” that include toothpaste, toothbrush, Bible, health-care educational materials and information about the church.
Donations from church and community members have built the clinic, and time and equipment from various clinics and dental care professionals help keep it going.
The Franklin County Health Department screens and refers patients to the clinic. Having no facility of its own for dental care, the health department also aids the clinic with publicity and Hispanic resources.
University of Kentucky Dental School residents can also meet their fieldwork requirements by serving at the clinic.
Felton said the clinic was a natural “step of faith” for an already motivated church to provide more comprehensive services to its community.
“First Baptist Church has been on the cutting edge of community service for many years,” said Felton. He cited the church’s clothes closet—in operation more than 25 years—that gives away free clothing to, on average, 150 people per month.ives away free clothing to,s on average 150 people per monthou could send some e-mails of other involved leaders for me to cont; its service in the community soup kitchen; and its Hispanic ministry, the only one in the area.
Felton said First Baptist also contributes to the local Resource Office for Social Ministry that provides services for those experiencing difficulty in paying for rent, electricity or food.
The clinic has helped church members further realize “the overwhelming need of those experiencing poverty in our community,” Felton said.
Likewise, Roney said the clinic is important because “it is up to those who have been fortunate enough to receive, to give back to the fullest extent that they can.”
Whether through a dental clinic, handing out clothes, feeding the homeless, teaching Bible study or preaching form the pulpit, Felton said First Baptist is “focused on extending the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this community by loving God and people.”
Felton quoted Psalm 115:1: “Not to us, Not to us, Oh Lord, but to your Name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
“The future is bright,” Felton said, “and we hope to always honor God in what we do here.”
Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.