Association’s 10 churches try new format, provide Backyard Bible Clubs ‘in a bag’
By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
CARTHAGE — For more than 11 years, New Salem Baptist Association had sponsored Backyard Bible Clubs in low income areas.
The plan was to do it again this year, but COVID-19 entered the picture and it appeared the association would not be able to minister to children in Carthage and surrounding areas, said Marty Dodge, director of missions for New Salem Baptists.
To not do anything was not an option for Dodge. “We’ve got to do something for the kids,” he said. Knowing that it was not feasible to do a live BYBC with volunteers working with the children, the association, with the help of the mission committee, developed “something different,” Dodge said.
The association decided to do a “portable” Backyard Bible Club that will be delivered in bags to neighborhood children. Churches are in the process of preparing the bags that will include a Bible lesson for the week, activity page, pencils, crayons, tracts, Scriptures and, of course, the snacks and treats that go hand-in-hand with children’s activities.
The association’s 10 churches and pastors all got on board,” Dodge affirmed.
The block parties will be held over five weeks in three neighborhoods in Carthage, one in South Carthage and one in Gordsonville, the DOM said.
Churches will be assigned one of the five weeks the events will be held. During that week the church will prepare the bags with the week’s lesson and activity and add snacks. The churches will deliver the bags to each home in the neighborhood, Dodge said.
He is hopeful that residents will answer the doors and talk to members who are delivering the bags. Dodge said he hopes the visits will create opportunities for conversations that will lead to the association knowing if the homes actually used the material.
“We are encouraging families in the neighborhood homes to do the lesson and activity together,” Dodge said, adding that the “portable” BYBC will give the association an avenue to reach adults in the homes as well as the children. “The majority of the people in those neighborhoods are unreached,” Dodge said.
Each year, the Backyard Bible Clubs normally end with a large block party, complete with food and games. That probably will not be the case this year because of the pandemic, Dodge said.
He noted, however, that the association is exploring options for a closing event, but nothing definite has been developed.
Dodge said the Backyard Bible Clubs are well attended each year and he and the association’s churches are hopeful that the portable version in a bag will accomplish the same goal — to reach the children in those neighborhoods with the good news of Jesus Christ.