Change Makers

Tennessee church rallies for clean water

A Tennessee church walked and ran for clean water last year. Now they’re making strides for the Global 6K for Water to become a community-wide event.

A small-town church in Tennessee is making a global impact.

“During a (church) service, I asked people to raise their hand if they wanted to change the world,” says Ryan Krivsky, worship pastor and Global 6K for Water host site leader . “I said, ‘You can because you can change someone else’s world.’ They can see that in [the Global 6K for Water]. They can see the change they’re making in one person’s world.”

Ryan says he was immediately excited about the idea when he got a flier in the mail. It was the perfect opportunity for the church to be on mission. First Baptist Church of Columbia hadn’t done something like this before. It sent a wave of excitement through the church.

For their first time doing this, Ryan says the church was deeply motivated, and they went all out: signing up for the race, enthusiastically raising money, and about 20 people volunteering to help with event logistics. Each participant’s $50 entrance fee provides clean water to one person. Runners and walkers can also choose to raise funds for water on a fundraising page or to sponsor the child pictured on their race bib.

“It wasn’t just, ‘Give to this general effort,’” Ryan says. “It was, ‘Oh, I’m giving to this person.’ That personalization is what really got my interest in it and what got a lot of people into it.”

Each time a person crossed the race’s finish line, Ryan and other volunteers put a medal around their neck, looked at them, and reminded them: “Because you walked this 6K today, a child doesn’t have to.” They referred to the child pictured on each participant’s race bib.

It was a powerful moment for Ryan and many others, he says.

Participants ranged in age from 6 all the way up to their 70s. It helped Ryan, the church, and the community cast a vision for a larger communitywide 6K event in 2018. He and last year’s participants have been promoting the Global 6K for Water in their community, and he’s planning to take the idea to the city council before this year’s event.

“You feel like you’re doing something,” he says. “You can see that difference in one person’s life.”

Columbia is known for its annual spring Mule Day festival. So Ryan wants to call this year’s event the Mule Town 6K for Water.

“It’s close knit, and if you can get a community like that behind it, you could just exponentially grow what the impact is.”

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