EMERALD COAST (FBW)—Hershel Adams retired July 31 as director of missions in the Emerald Coast Fellowship of Baptist Churches. However, that will not keep him from staying busy as a volunteer in his favorite associational ministry—the Crossroads Center Medical Clinic which the Emerald Coast association instituted under his leadership.
A few years after Adams took the helm of the Emerald Coast Fellowship—Choctaw Baptist Association in 1999—the Florida Baptist Mobile Dental Clinic made a visit to Okaloosa County. Its visit revealed needs among the residents that Adams had not seen before.
“I realized I had been rather naïve. In our county, no one was helping uninsured low-income adults with medical care. Their only option was the emergency room,” he said.
After two years of planning and preparation, Crossroads Center Medical Clinic opened its doors in January 2007. Adams serves on its board of directors. More than 1,400 Okaloosa and Walton County residents receive care at the clinic which annually donates around $1.2 million in medical services. With the leadership of two paid staff, 35 medical volunteers and 35 other volunteers, the clinic has filled the gap in health care in the county.
“I have seen God do miracles there—people who would have died in days who were helped,” he said.
The clinic’s Care Team talks and prays with every patient—a time that some patients say is “the most important time of their visit,” Adams said. The Care Team ministers to those “almost totally unchurched.”
“These people are the reason we do everything else,” he said.
Adams will continue to serve on the clinic’s board of directors and will manage the clinic’s blog and its publicity and promotion.
“My job is to get the word out and the donations in,” he said.
Adams told of the clinic’s next venture with almost breathless excitement. After years of praying and “waiting on God’s timing,” the Crossroad Center Medical Clinic’s Board of Directors decided April 1 to proceed with a dental clinic, and hired an architect to design the facility. By mid April an anonymous donor had contributed $70,000 toward the dental clinic, and the Chapel at Crosspoint donated $10,000. In August another donor gave $50,000.
“We are seeing God work. He will provide if we listen to God for His timing. It’s amazing to see Him work,” he said. “It’s one thing to have vision, but it’s another thing to wait for His empowerment.”
God’s timing was also a factor in the initiation of other Emerald Coast ministries during Adam’s tenure. For 12 years association churches have welcomed World Changers to the Panhandle. Adams estimated 250-275 area homes have been re-roofed by World Changers in that time. In addition, Emerald Coast mission volunteers have travelled to West Virginia several times since 2001 to minister with churches there.
Adam’s 49 years of experience in ministry includes work in three Florida churches: First Baptist Church in Tarpon Springs, First Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, and First Baptist Church in Ft. Pierce.
Moving to the Panhandle, however, introduced Adams to a community culture that is “military and resort oriented.” The association’s 25 churches serve military families on Eglin Air Force Base; Hurlburt Field, home of Air Force Special Operations; and Duke Training Field for Army Rangers.
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