Summer slump doesn’t stop summer service
These summer months may be vacation season for church members who are in and out of town and in and out of church. Church attendance may dip, but these aren’t the lazy days of summer for folks who participate in the missions opportunities that summertime brings.
Our summer at McDonough Road Baptist always starts with Vacation Bible School. This year our theme was “Big Apple Adventure” as we connected faith to life. Five days of Bible teaching, crafts, music, and missions stories culminated with Vacation Bible School Sunday on June 12.
The VBS children presented their musical, “The Big Apple Adventure,” during morning worship. We had many guests join us and the kids did a great job. During the Bible study hour, I taught a special Sunday School lesson for VBS parents.
We have one of the few Bible Schools in the area that provide for grades 6-12. We averaged 75 students every day in youth VBS.
The following week, June 13-15, our student ministry joined with the Jars of Clay Outreach Center in Southwest Atlanta and took their boys and girls to camp out at Tugaloo State Park in northeast Georgia. The Jars of Clay Outreach Center functions as a church, a shelter, and community center and each summer offers activities to reach children and keep them off the streets (see www.jocatlanta.org).
Thirty of our students and chaperones joined with around 60 of their children and adults. Some of these children had never travelled outside of Atlanta, much less go camping. The week was filled with worship, Bible studies, one-on-one mentoring with the kids, and recreation.
“I had two girls ten-years-old,” said Emily Burroughs, who turned 16 while at camp. “One had never seen her father. They gave me the most incredible birthday ever and surprised me with a cake. This was an incredible trip that helped me be a servant for Christ.”
“We learn as much from the kids as they do from us. They are lots of fun,” said Logan McMillan.
Then we sent a team of 17 to Camp Hawkins in Mount Airy, Georgia, June 21-26 (see photo on next page). Camp Hawkins is a summer residential camp for youth ages 8-21 who are coping with developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder, autism, brain injuries and other developmental delays.
Camp Hawkins is a ministry of the Georgia Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries and has been operating since 1995 (see www.gbchfm.org for more information).
Our task was to give support to the camp staff. The team went full speed from morning to bedtime doing laundry, preparing breakfast, lunch, and supper, leading music, craft and recreation times, and pitching in with whatever needed to be done. We also supplied a camp nurse for the week.
“Camp Hawkins is an extraordinary experience. There’s nothing like it. Sometimes you’re just pulling weeds and emptying the trash, but when camp is over, exhaustion has set in and what you came to do is done. You leave with a heart full of love for these children who live life fuller than we could ever imagine. I always desire to go back again and again,” said Karol Smith.
During the week of June 27-30, our church presented Upward Sports Camp and taught 46 campers basic basketball and soccer skills each evening. Each session included a devotional time.
On Wednesday evening, the church provided a meal for the parents and had an extended chapel time. The theme for the week was “Respect.” The campers received much affirmation and learned a few things along the way.
Maya Preston, age 10, said, “I enjoyed the scrimmages. Also, we practice tricks like the scissors.”
Katie McNeil, age 11, said, “I liked the teamwork. I learned to respect my teammates.”
Austin Blackerby, age 12, said, “I learned the ‘pull back,’ when you run towards your opponent and then pull the ball back and go the opposite way.”
Ryan Alfred, age 14, said, “I enjoyed playing basketball and learning new skills. And making new friends.”
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga. The church is located at 352 McDonough Road. The church family invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.