COLVILLE, Wash.—As churches seek to win the lost and share the love of Christ with their community, the inevitable question must be asked: “What is the best way to do that in our town?” For First Baptist Church, the answer is, “Firewood.”

Located in the beautiful Pacific Inland Northwest timber region, 70 miles north of Spokane and 40 miles south of Canada, First Baptist Church reaches out to its community through an annual firewood ministry.

With long winter months and an annual snowfall in excess of 40 inches, firewood is a necessity, but not everyone can afford it. Each year the church purchases a truckload of Tamarack wood from a local timber company, and men from the church spend an entire Saturday splitting it for wood-burning stoves.

Equipped with two hydraulic log splitters, a dozen chain saws, and six mauls, 30 workers from First Baptist Church cut 15 cords of wood (4 feet x 4 feet x 8 feet) on Sept. 29. They supplied eight families who are unable to meet their own firewood needs with at least one cord each, and stored the rest for further outreach throughout the winter. Prior to the firewood distribution, First Baptist asks its congregation to provide the names of neighbors, coworkers, or friends who could benefit the most. “This way the firewood can be used to continue building on a relationship that we pray will result in a decision for Christ,” says Pastor Dennis Wilkening. “We also provide for those in our own congregation who may be struggling to obtain firewood for the winter.”