Archives For kids

SUMMER | Check out these great photos from Tim Starner of IBSA’s co-ed missions camp in northern Illinois.

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SUMMER 2014 | It’s camp season! IBSA’s co-ed missions camp for kids is happening this week in northern Illinois at Streator Baptist Camp. The southern version, which shared the “Gotta tell it!” theme, was in June at Lake Sallateeska. Click through this slideshow for photos from both sites, and check in at this week for more from Streator. Photos by J.C. and Carla Vaca Diez, Mark Emerson, Carmen Halsey and Meredith Flynn

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Children’s Ministry Day volunteers deliver goodies to a hospital in Carbondale, one of nine locations where kids served on March 15. Photo by Joanna Samples

GUEST POST | Sarah Richardson

On the sunny day of March 15, children from all over Illinois participated in Children’s Ministry Day, sponsored by the Illinois Baptist State Association. The object of the event was to involve kids in ministry by doing service projects around the local community.

Nearly 1,110 kids, leaders and volunteers gathered in nine cities around the state for the event.

One of the host churches was Lakeland Baptist in Carbondale. The service projects were arranged beforehand by Lakeland church members. They involved simple services that made a difference for people and businesses around town.

One project involved delivering handmade cards and bags to a pediatric wing at the local hospital. Along with chaperones, the children made crafts in a large room at the church. Preparation made the project not only fun, but meaningful. The cheerful children wrote Bible verses on the cards, as well as drew their own unique art. It was obvious the kids were involved and excited to help others.

Some children made chocolate chip cookies for firefighters and policemen. When they delivered the cookies, the firefighters gave a tour of the station. The children learned how the honorable people work to keep people safe.

Other projects included helping the elderly, preparing food at a soup kitchen and working at a horse stable. After work was done, the children returned to Lakeland and enjoyed popcorn, soda and a mission trivia contest. While sharing testimonies, the children enthusiastically reflected on why they do missions. The closing ceremony reminded everyone that Jesus is the reason for our mission.

Children’s Ministry Day teaches kids that though they are young, they can make a difference by the grace and power of God. Not only does it bless the volunteers and the kids, it helps the people who work at the places where they served. It is a great way to teach children about missions, helping your community, and ultimately glorifying God.

Sarah Richardson, 14, is a member of Lakeland Baptist in Carbondale.

Young volunteers from Calvary Baptist Church in Pittsfield do yard work outside a crisis nursery facility in Springfield. Nearly 1,100 volunteers participated in Children's Ministry Day on March 15.

Young volunteers from Calvary Baptist Church in Pittsfield do yard work outside a crisis nursery facility in Springfield. Nearly 1,100 volunteers participated in Children’s Ministry Day on March 15.

Springfield | One by one, kids told their Children’s Ministry Day stories in brief, honest sentences.

“We raked up gum balls, and not the kind you chew,” said Gavin.

“It made me feel really happy, because I love cooking and I love helping people,” said Elana, who helped cook a meal for families at Springfield’s Ronald McDonald House.

Ella, a volunteer from Pittsfield, answered a question about whether her yard work crew had stayed positive during the day: “We mostly did it with a good attitude.”

For the fourth consecutive year, kids and their leaders served across the state through Children’s Ministry Day, a one-day missions experience that culminates with a celebration service at each project site. In Springfield, Gavin, Elana, Ella and others shared about the projects they did this year, which marked the fourth annual Children’s Ministry Day in Illinois.

Created by national Woman’s Missionary Union, the day of service for kids has taken on a life of its own in Illinois. Nearly 1,100 children, leaders and volunteers representing 75 churches served at nine locations around the state on March 15.

This year’s theme, “Make a Splash,” came from Matthew 10:42, where Jesus says, “And whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple – I assure you: He will never lose his reward!”

Children’s Ministry Day is now IBSA’s most successful mission involvement activity, said Mark Emerson, who leads the organization’s missions team. The event has grown in number of locations and participants each year since 2011, when he organized the first set of projects in Springfield. Local associations began hosting the projects last year, and the service day expanded to nine cities in 2014, including first-time locations Bridgeport, Chicago, Decatur, Granite City and Peoria.

“I think more churches identify that this is a high impact project with an easy engagement possibility,” Emerson said. “The logistics of the day are already complete, so all the church has to do is to figure out how to get the kids enlisted, and get the kids to the event.”

Pastor David Brown has led kids from his church, Dow Southern Baptist, to Children’s Ministry Day each of the last four years. Standing outside an urban ministry center in Springfield, he recalled each of their projects: making baby blankets, baking cookies for police officers, visiting with nursing home residents, and this year, raking leaves and sorting donated supplies.

“This is one of the best events that we can do, because we’re starting at a foundational age,” Brown said. His fourth grade daughter, Cameryn, accompanied him to Springfield this year and has participated in every Children’s Ministry Day.

“And if they fall in love with serving when they’re kids,” Brown said, “they’re going to keep serving when they’re teens, and hopefully when they’re adults and grandparents. It’s foundational; it’s what the church is all about.”

Helping people is a bonus, Brown said, but days like this are really about growing the church. The teenagers at Dow Southern are planning to go on their first World Changers mission trip this summer to Cincinnati.

“We’ve done a couple of just individual mission trips, but they’ve never been the big organized ones,” Brown said. “It’s coming out of the group that said, ‘Well, we did Children’s Ministry Day, what are we going to do now?’”

The day is certainly about expanding the kingdom through service, but it’s also an opportunity to teach kids spiritual truth. Rob Gallion kicked off the Springfield location with a devotional about Jesus washing the disciples feet. In simple terms, he explained that that’s what the kids would be doing during the day.

The day can also serve as a jumping off point for churches that want to implement more missions involvement and awareness, Emerson said. “We will follow up with the churches that attend, and seek to connect them to mission education possibilities in their church.”

Any church interested in starting a new missions organization can receive six months of curriculum free from WMU through IBSA. Contact for more information.