Five years ago, an idea entered First Baptist Church of Burleson in Burleson, Texas—an idea that would change not only the community, but how the churches in that community unite to accomplish feats that no single church could hope to accomplish. This idea was hosting a Beach Club.
Arlene Holland became a member at First Baptist Church of Burleson with her husband after years of teaching in a California school system. She quickly began volunteering in the Sunday school classrooms but was not too eager to return to a regular school teaching position. Yet when she heard the church was starting a Beach Club, she knew she could help and volunteered to serve.
The church partnered with KiDs Beach Club® the first year with one club, but they soon found themselves hosting two clubs in two different elementary schools. However, after two whole semesters, the church made a startling discovery.
“There are a total of 10 elementary schools here in Burleson, and the folks at KBC told me that there were two other churches attempting to host clubs of their own,” Arelene says. “And so between the three churches, we now have clubs in four of the ten schools.” Just like that, the First Baptist of Burleson, Fort Worth First Church of the Nazarene, and Burleson Bible Church—becoming a united front of sorts—invaded the public schools of Burleson, Texas. The Beach Club volunteers from all three churches began meeting regularly to discuss plans and events, and to inquire how they all might help and support one another.
The impact of KiDs Beach Club® did not stop there. The staff at First Baptist of Burleson kept up the momentum and reached out to other churches in the area to see if they would be interested in supporting clubs of their own. They also talked with the school principals, many of whom were interested in having a Beach Club at their school if they could find a church partner.
This ministry momentum was becoming a force in Burleson until a certain virus erupted. Did COVID-19 complicate things? Of course. Did it stop them? Absolutely not.
Arlene and the rest of the First Baptist of Burleson team, along with their brothers and sisters from Fort Worth First Church of the Nazarene and Burleson Bible Church, saw the pandemic as an opportunity instead of a burden. They began brainstorming how to turn this time, which the vast majority of the world regarded as a pandemic, into a possibility. When the schools announced they would be going digital, the churches began holding their clubs online. Together they took advantage of what KiDs Beach Club® was offering with Beach Club at HOME!, six online episodes to provide students a sense of normalcy, even though they were now learning at home.
As kids began watching, they started inviting friends from other elementary schools. Soon the word began to spread as the clubs expanded beyond the traditional physical walls of each school. Now they have children from several other elementary schools engaging online, giving a unique opportunity for other churches to get involved at those other schools. This group of churches is truly taking community ministry to a whole new level, and they didn’t let financial concerns hold them back during this season. When the question of financial stability arose in a recent meeting among the churches, they decided there was only one thing to do. As Arlene puts it, “Our church is blessed in that we put the word out and God provides, and so we have always said in all of this, let's not let money be the issue, God's gonna provide that one way or another.”
Together they are rising above the COVID-19 obstacles. Instead of arguing over who’s in charge or disputing over ministry “turf”, these churches have set a precedent that the entire Christian community can and should follow. Just as Christ said in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”
“After the meeting last week,” Arlene says, “all the churches wanted to join together and agreed, ‘Yeah, let's conquer Burleson! Let's see what God can do.'" KiDs Beach Club® is privileged to be part of what God is doing, especially during this pandemic in Burleson and beyond.
Published on Sep 16 2020 @ 4:40 PM CDT
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