Meridian, Miss. When most people hear L.O.L, they immediately think of the text message abbreviation for laughing out loud, but this week, for about 400 members of Northcrest Baptist Church, it means Love out Loud. Love out Loud is the church's first local mission project, and Mission Committee member Ben Shirley says it took them a while to plan this big event.
"We got the idea from another church. Actually we saw where Temple Baptist in Hattiesburg did this and we started talking about this two years ago, and now it's all coming to fruition. It's been a lot of work from a lot of people to get this ready, and just the Lord's timing I believe, and so we're ready."
Each morning they begin with a short worship service before heading out to their assignments which include yard work for Meridian Public Schools, helping out at the Boys and Girls Club, serving meals at Feed by Faith, and even a drive-thru prayer lane. Church member Jamie Ainsworth is volunteering her time because ever since she went on an overseas mission trip, she's wanted to help her own community as well.
"I feel like this is an opportunity our church has given us so we can reach out and really be able to do something to help other people that's not about us, and doesn't have anything to do with how we look or who we are."
While Northcrest sends mission teams around the country and overseas, they believe that it's just as important to do the same work here.
Shirley says, "There's so much to be done here in Meridian, so many needs right here at home. When we go in a town or out of the country, we're meeting these same needs in other places, and the church actually goes out and meets needs and takes the Gospel, so we believe that's very important."