The Wikipedia definition of outreach is “an activity of providing services to any populations who might not otherwise have access to those services.”
I am a children’s pastor in a community with a university. Every summer they and various other community organizations offer sports camps. The cost is usually between $150.00 to $300.00 for the week. Several years ago, I met with five other children’s pastors from our community to discuss the possibility of offering a free sports camp for kids of single parent and low income families who couldn’t afford it otherwise. This seemed like an impossible task since we had no budget, no staff, no venue, and no equipment. However, after continuing to pray about it for a few weeks we were all confident that God had birthed this idea in each of us. We would step out in faith knowing we couldn’t accomplish this monumental task alone, but with God nothing was impossible. The miracles that began to take place overwhelmed us. We secured a free location on a former golf course, so we had plenty of space. Sponsorships began to come in from local businesses. Coaches from several local schools volunteered their time. Sports equipment was donated. The list goes on and on. We held our first camp only five months after we began to plan. That first year we had over four hundred kids in attendance. The camp grew so much over the next couple of years that we had to cut registration off at a thousand kids! The Lord blessed us with awesome volunteers. We’ve had former NFL players, Harlem Globe Trotters, a former University of Tennessee head coach, University of Tennessee basketball players and a former Brazilian soccer player.
A dear friend of mine uses this saying often “What God orders he pays for.” This was clearly evident in how he provided for this camp year after year.
Each day of the camp we had a ministry time with the kids during their break. Over the years we shared the gospel with thousands of kids who might not otherwise have had access to it.
Finding opportunities to serve in our communities is not an option. When we serve the kids and families of the communities where we live, work, and attend church we are fulfilling the mandate that Jesus gave us to be the salt and light of the world. It is our responsibility as followers of Christ to build bridges into our communities connecting them to the life-changing message of the love of Christ.
Ideas You Can Use
Evaluate Your Ministry
In her article Connecting Your Church to Your Community author Krista Petty says, “While no two congregations follow the same blueprint for community involvement, most have had to answer the following six questions along the way to becoming more externally focused.”
Partnering with Schools
Partnering with the administration of your schools and providing needed services and building relationship is an excellent way to reach the kids of your community.
Utilize Your Facility
A great way to connect with the kids of your community is to open up your church during the week outside of regular church times.
VBS Beyond the Building
Think outside the box. Why not move your VBS program to a local park?
School’s Out Celebration
The close of the school year is an excellent time to minister to the children that live near your church.
There are many resources that can help with outreach ministry. Click the button below for a list to get started.
Pastor Cathy came to serve as children’s pastor at the Peerless Road Church in December 2005. She had previously served as the children’s pastor at the Altavista Church of God Prophecy in Altavista, VA since 1999. Cathy has been working with children for more than twenty years and is passionate about seeing them love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength as well as loving and serving others. Her formal training is in early childhood and elementary education. As a member of the International Children’s Ministry Team for the Church of God of Prophecy, Cathy participates in training children’s minsters around the world. One of her favorite outreach opportunities is planning a sports camp for children through her membership in the Cleveland Children’s Ministry Network. Cathy and her husband Lee, were married in February of 1987. They have three beautiful children: Malorie, Logan and Emma.