Antioch Covenant Brethren Church in Woodstock, VA has been having a BLAST for a few years now. The acronym stands for Believing, Loving, And Serving Together which describes a children’s ministry that occurs most Wednesday evenings throughout the school year.
Building on earlier midweek children’s activities that had been held for many years, Youth Pastor Dale Bennett took BLAST to the next level by creating a ministry that serves Pre-K through High Schoolers. Attendance in the fall of 2021 was in the low 30’s but moved into the 80’s before Christmas and topped out at 117 in May of this year!
Prior to COVID-19, children either rode a school bus to the church or were dropped off by their parents. This past year, some members donated money to purchase a school bus, and in January the “Antioch Bus” began picking up children from the schools and bringing them to the church.
Upon arrival about 3:30 pm, children enjoy donated snacks of chips and drinks before heading out for recreational time with a Gaga Pit, Nine Square in the Air, Basketball, Volleyball, or the preschool playground. Some students remain inside to work on homework. Rainy days find everyone indoors playing games and such until supper time.
Supper is served at 5:00 pm by an army of faithful kitchen volunteers who prepare nutritious meals and clean up afterward while the students head into the sanctuary for a Bible lesson taught by Pastor George Bowers at 5:30.
Following the PowerPoint lesson and prayer, students are dismissed to attend classes divided by age and gender. Thankfully, more adult volunteers lead these classes and share Christian education until 7:15 at which time parents pick up their children.
Part of the fruit of this year’s BLAST program was the decision by seven participants to accept Jesus as their Savior. They were baptized by Pastor Dale during morning worship! God has raised up a small army of servants willing to help with BLAST in various ways. This ministry and the harvest of souls would be impossible without each of them.
Antioch encourages other churches to start similar programs. This was something discussed during Craig Howard’s and Jim Myer’s presentation at the CBC Annual Meeting and Worship Conference. We must put a stronger emphasis on children and youth ministries. Your church can do a children’s ministry. If you can’t do it all, do something. Do what you can until God enables you to do more. Jesus loves children and we should too! Serving Jesus by loving children can be a BLAST!
Submitted by Craig Howard – CBC Publications Committee
Written by George Bowers – Pastor at Antioch CBC