Strategic Action #4 of the SBC’s Vision 2025 is to “turn around the ongoing decline in the SBC in reaching, baptizing, and discipling those under the age of 18.” I think Jesus would strongly agree that this is a worthy goal. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). I’m thankful that BBC invests in reaching and ministering to young people. I’m thankful that we have people willing to teach our young people, help with VBS, go to children/student camps, take students to World Changers, financially support our ministries to young people, and the many other ways people invest in our children. It has been exciting to see a number of young people decide to follow the Lord and be baptized this year. (We were blessed to see Ainslee Wainscott and Anna Boehne be baptized last Sunday and Lily Cummins and Kyle King will be baptized the next two Sunday’s.)
One of the best opportunities that we have to reach children is through Upward basketball. Thankfully, we are going to be able to have an Upward season this year. Upward plans are being made and I think the first evaluation date is set for Aug. 28th and the first game day is scheduled for Oct. 9th. Carl Smith and Dan Fields coordinate our Upward program. They would love to have a couple more coordinators to come alongside them. They will also be looking for coaches, scorekeepers, people who might want to open the gym one night a week for practices, referees, and people to share a devotion at halftime of each of our games.
Upward provides us with an opportunity to share Scripture and pray with children for 8-10 weeks (each practice). Upward provides us with significant opportunities to sow gospel seeds in these young lives. Would you start praying now for upcoming Upward season? Will you consider being involved in some way with Upward basketball (you can talk to Carl or Dan to learn more about Upward opportunities). I’ll soon be asking people to sign up to share their testimony or a devotion on game days. I love to see people share their personal testimony of faith.
Beth is also planning on having John and Emily Martin to come back in October (Oct. 17th) to help families be intentional about family worship and family discipleship. The Martin’s were with us last year and they do a terrific job helping families with singing, worshiping, and doing short devotionals together. Part of discipling young people is equipping parents to disciple their children and worship together as a family. I know that family worship can be difficult and I have some regrets about not doing a better job when my children were younger. We want to provide resources to encourage our parents in these areas.
Finally, we would love to hear from you in regards to your suggestions regarding other things we can do to reach and disciple children and students. If there are certain areas where you think you need additional resources and training, we welcome your feedback. We recognize the cultural challenges faced by our young people and we want to do all we can to reach them for the sake of Jesus Christ. We appreciate your prayers and if you want to help in some capacity, let us know. May the Lord bless our efforts!