Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Backpack Bonanza

Last year we partnered with one of the church plants we support in a drive to connect with their local neighborhood. We provided over 300 backpacks filled with supplies to Common Ground Church in Tampa and they lit up the neighborhood!

They set up inflatables and games for the kids, provided hot dogs and sno cones for everybody, and then distributed the backpacks to these needy kids. They heard back later from schools in the area that teachers were thrilled to see so many kids coming to school with the necessary supplies. It made a huge impact on many of the homes right around the church.

So it's time to do it again. For the whole month of July, CATB people will be purchasing backpacks and filling them with stuff for school. Here is a supply list of what you will need:

1. Backpack (none with wheels)
2. 2 pkgs. of notebook paper (wide ruled)
3. 2 boxes of tissues
4. 2 8oz. bottles of hand sanitizer
5. 2 pkgs. of standard number 2 pencils
6. 1 box of crayons (24 count) or colored pencils
7. 1 canister of wet wipes
8. 1 rain poncho (optional)

You should be able to buy a backpack and the supplies for $20. We will also place a Bible in each backpack because this is about more than providing a sack of supplies; it's about connecting people to a place where they can find God- who can supply all their needs!

This year Common Ground has set a goal to provide 2,009 backpacks to distribute in Sulpher Springs Park on August 1st. If you'd like to help during the July collection or for the delivery, email Tina and she'll get you plugged in. Bring as many filled packs as you can any Sunday in July and let's help them make a huge difference in their neighborhood.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baby Dedication

Baby Dedication is such a cool time to see families celebrate the wonder of new birth. The framed certificates we give out provide a lasting reminder of the commitment of the parents to raise their kids in a godly environment. Love the idea of celebrating new births.

That got me to thinking- I wonder if we should be doing more to celebrate the new birth of salvation when a child chooses to follow Christ? I wonder if our volunteers think of themselves as spiritual parents when they help a kid cross the line of faith? Do they see their role as providing a nurturing environment for that faith to grow and mature?

I don't want to manipulate kids into following Christ by using some extravagant celebration to appeal to their desire for attention but I don't think it would hurt if we applauded that choice in a big way. Baptism certainly accomplishes some of that and maybe that's enough. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Graduating Kids!

School's out and that means my fifth graders are moving up to Middle School! Love the way they grow up and change into mature Christ followers. It's especially cool when I know they are moving into a jacked up Middle School program at CATB. They're gonna' love it!

Last weekend our Middle School kids did a 30 hour fast and raised over $1000 for World Vision. They go on mission trips during the summer to help with church planting and lots of other cool stuff. Makes my job so much more rewarding to know that I can send our 5th graders into an environment where I know they will continue to grow under the leadership of Hal 4 and his team.

Having an intentional strategy of spiritual maturity keeps kids engaged and transitioning through their developmental years. If we can steer them onto the right track during these impressionable years, they have a better chance of making it successfully into adulthood. Way to go CATB BayKids Team!