First Ewing uses day camp for outreach
EWING—For two weeks in July, the First Baptist Church of Ewing took on a new look and a big mission. The church was transformed into the Triple T Ranch, where the 120 children who registered learned that God’s truths are a treasure you can trust.
Starting in 2002, First Ewing has hosted an annual day camp for children ages 4-12. It takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and continues for two weeks. The schedule is similar to Vacation Bible School (VBS), but with the extended time frame more activities are done and more Bible stories are taught.
This year the setting was a ranch. Each day “Cowboy Dan” or his sidekick came to introduce the Bible story. The Bible story was then told by a visitor to the ranch. This visitor was a Bible character who came in to tell his or her story.
Other visitors also came to day camp. They were people from the church or community who took a morning to spend with the children. They brought in special activities for the children to do and see, and as the visitors shared their activities, they also shared spiritual truths.
For example, the children enjoyed riding on a horse-drawn wagon, visiting a petting zoo, viewing a variety of animal pelts, seeing roping skills and barrel racing, and watching a dog herd some calves. They also got to enjoy a visit from several award-winning mules and horses. The Isaac Clown Troupe also was on hand.
Among the other activities were classes for: crafts, Bible skills, Bible workbook, missions, helping hands and music. The children also enjoyed refreshments, recreation and lunch.
Not only did the children get to receive the enjoyment and learning of day camp, they also got to share it with others. Most afternoons, a different class would leave the church to take part in mission work. This year the classes went to local nursing homes and hosted a “mini-VBS” with the residents there. The Bible story was told, songs were sung and crafts were completed at the nursing homes. Residents seemed delighted.
Forty-five percent of the children who registered reported that they do not attend church. First Ewing considers that to be a great opportunity to reach out and minister to several unchurched families. The church is praying that day camp will be the start of a God-sized work that will continue on in the community.
Pastor Tim Smith and his wife, Lori, have noticed over the years that day camp is a great opportunity to encourage children and their families to come to church and learn more about God’s love for them.
“For the children who do not come to any other services, we are thankful that we have at least two weeks to plant some seeds in their lives,” said Lori Smith.