Wednesday, August 26, 2009

‘The [barefoot] Church Has Left the Building’

The congregation of First Baptist Church in Middleburg left their shoes at the altar...

MIDDLEBURG (FBW)–The congregation of First Baptist Church in Middleburg left church Aug. 9 barefoot after leaving their shoes at the altar.

The donation of more than 800 pairs of shoes was part of the church’s current emphasis, “The Church Has Left the Building.”

Pastor Alan Floyd told Florida Baptist Witness he was in the midst of preparing a sermon on the Good Samaritan in which he would tell the church “real love involves spontaneity and sacrifice.” The sermon was one in a series, “Love Loud.”

Floyd said he came across a statistic which said 300 million people wake up each day without any shoes.
Can this be?” he remembers asking himself.

The website of soles4souls ( invites people to send in their “slightly used shoes,” so Floyd decided to surprise the church—even his wife, he said—with an invitation to donate their shoes.

Even though the church was told that those wearing “special shoes” could give money to buy another pair, about 800 pairs were collected Sunday, and donors brought more into the church office on Monday.

“I actually had to give away two pairs of my own shoes because we are in four services in two venues,” Floyd said.

“The Good Samaritan did not say, ‘Well, let me go take care of my business and get some old clothes on before I help the man dying in the ditch.’”

“The Church Has Left the Building” also includes building a handicap-accessible home for a local single mother and her three children. The building project involves the entire congregation, Floyd said, “even our preschoolers.”

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