Monday, December 19, 2016

A Note From Tracy Hipps: His Big Shoulders

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isiah 9:6

This Christmas season is upon us, and we are all readying for celebrations, family time and office parties. It is all because a son was born, Jesus. It is for Jesus we will remember this time of year and it brings us all back to why we are here. CSM has now been around 45 years with the vision to serve the least of these. The original vision cast by CSM founder Johnny Lynch is being honored today, while expanding into Christian Community Development and more deeply impacting lives through long term responsible care with the Gospel as our guiding value. This season CSM celebrates reaching and resourcing thousands of people with our local church partners who provide long term care for families.

“To us a son is given” and we are amazed that God loves us so much that He gave his only Son, Jesus. Christ’s teaching from the Gospels commissions us to “make disciples,” and we know that the local church is God’s establishment of continual care for the whole family. CSM was started to help the local church bridge this gap and to help make more disciples with the demonstration of the Gospel and proclamation of the Gospel. This year we have partnered with the local church to see hundreds of people come to Christ, hundreds grow in that relationship, and investment in leaders who make more disciples. Thank you, ministry leaders, for trusting CSM with your responsibility to “make disciples” of all nations.

The part of this verse we all need to remember in our country and around the world is “the government will be on his shoulders.” Wow, what a powerful statement in which we can all rest… to know that no matter who wins elections, God rules the whole world. He is in total control and we can trust Him. This holiday season gives us so much opportunity to give back to those whom we have walked together in unity this year. We thank our donors who believe and support what we accomplish together in our city. We march together into the communities of need and watch God use us all for His glory. Our volunteers of over 10,000 strong this year have faithfully served the “least of these” in our communities of need.

With our Disaster Relief Network, we have given thousands of dollars of resources and substantial help in times of need. Last Christmas, the Hopewell area of Birmingham was hit hard by tornadoes, and thousands came to help and together we served. We have partnered with community leaders who are caring for their neighborhood and who are living out our calling to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Our pastors set the spiritual tone for our city to act in love and good deeds. Thanks also goes to our city leaders and government, knowing that God said you have been selected to represent us, while His role is to carry us all on His shoulders.

God’s shoulders will support us all as we restore the Gospel to our great cities, with our lives and through our lives. At CSM we want to thank you for walking together upon the shoulders of our Father to accomplish all the missions, commissions, and great commandments of God. Let’s continue to walk together with the most “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace” – JESUS! Merry Christmas!

Need Creates Opportunity to Connect

It's always exciting to watch our list of needs grow longer each year because it directly correlates to the amount of lives touched by the Christian Service Mission for the sake of the Gospel. This year, like years past, we have seen a greater number of needs around our city because of our continual growth and expansion to new partnerships in underserved areas throughout Birmingham. The beautiful thing about seeing our list of needs expand every year is seeing God continue to meet those needs through CSM and the community partners we work with on a weekly basis.

One such example was seen right after Thanksgiving. During our big Thanksgiving initiative, we distributed food to more 3,000 families affected by food-insecurity. That's a lot of need and a lot of resources! Once those 3,000 bags of food leave Christian Service Mission, we find ourselves low on dry goods between Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, that is where groups such as Gwin Elementary School, Oak Mountain Presbyterian and Westminster Elementary come to meet the need. They also showed up at our Ministry Center with sleeves rolled up and ready to go to work. Their hard work and cheerful hearts revealed their compassion and maturity, and lit up the warehouse.

These three groups, as well as many others, have contributed more than 5,000 pounds of food toward replenishing our storehouses for the Christmas season and beyond. With the faithfulness of a few organizations contributing and partnering with the Christian Service Mission, we can continue to connect these resources to needs to bring lasting change through the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the city of Birmingham. Thanks to all who have contributed, and to all who will contribute, as we move into 2017. God bless and Merry Christmas!
CSM when Gwin Elementary delivers their canned good collection!

Gwin Elementary students at CSM
Michael Bowen -The Pied Piperr

Weighing the collection with the fork lift on the scales

Gwin Elementary students collected 960 canned goods!
Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church Youth helping
bag turkeys for "Baskets of Kindness"

After a long day's work, a rousing match of turkey bowling!

Mark Long delivers Oak Mountain Presbyterian and 
Westminster Elementary Canned Food collection
A grand total of 1,609 pounds!

2017: CSM Calling for Interns and Volunteers

Nutrition/Dietetic intern from Samford University, Jessica Pitzer,
jumped in to help manage the big CSM Thanksgiving event

CSM is accepting applications for a number of exciting 2017 internship and volunteer opportunities.

Internships are open to undergraduate and graduate university students as well as entry-level professionals with experience in one or more field:

Journalism | Communications


Social Work 



Interns can be assigned to (a) contribute to the CSM news blog, (b) assist in the strategic management of the CSM social media marketing campaign, and (c) assist in event and wellness initiative program management. CSM seeks interns who are creative self-starters. CSM interns gain hands on experience as well as valuable professional development. All internships are unpaid and can be complete course requirements for credit. 

We are also currently recruiting volunteers for S.T.A.I.R. reading tutors at Oliver Elementary School. As we expand our housing rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, we have great need for volunteer skilled construction work. If you have experience in carpentry, framing, engineering, or any other construction related skills, we need your help!

If interested, please email an inquiry to or call 

Judith Vann | 205.563.6203 |

S.T.A.I.R. Volunteers at Oliver Elementary
Creative construction at CSM and around the city with the SWAT Team

More Amazing Connections

Our ministry of connections – connecting resources with needs – is so beautifully conveyed by the Thanksgiving compassion project collaboration between CSM, The Church of the Way International in Woodlawn and Redeemer Community Church in Avondale. We were able to facilitate and resource a combined new community initiative with their own “Basket of Kindness” delivery on Nov. 19th to over 180 families, where many were well loved, exposed to the Gospel, and had personal faith journeys set on a new path. Pastor James Mason and his wife, Pam, warmly greeted everyone in their new church location at Hayes Elementary School. CSM is honored to be in the fight with these dynamic ministries.

We are confident that God has His hand on CSM to develop many more connections like these as we ask you to actively participate and lift this ministry with your year-end giving.

Pastor James and Pam Mason

Friday, December 16, 2016

Thanksgiving at CSM: "Baskets of Kindness"

3200 families touched with "Baskets of Kindness"
27 Thanksgiving project locations
40 food/supply donation partners
1000+ volunteers

We are still giving thanks for all the kindness and hard work that came together to make this year’s Thanksgiving Compassion Food ministry event an amazing expression of God’s love and unity among people from all walks of life in our city. We were able to bless 3,200 struggling families from 27 compassion project locations, including the CSM Ministry Center and many partner churches. All of the distribution happened within a one-week period, but the majority of the sorting, packing and delivery to families happened on Saturday, Nov. 19. Forty food and ministry partners came together to insure everything needed was supplied. And this year, more than 1,000 enthusiastic volunteers came together to make it happen. The volunteers who drove all over the city delivering Thanksgiving dinner turkeys and groceries were a blessing to everyone, and reported that they received the greatest blessing of all. We deeply appreciate everyone who contributed and participated in this year’s event. May God bless every one of you in His riches.

eMeals supplied recipes and cooking tips for the food recipients