How does one of the smallest churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex sponsor one of the largest Beach Clubs in the nation? It is all about the volunteers.
This spring, Hickory Tree Baptist Church started a Beach Club at Floyd Elementary in Balch Springs, near Mesquite. The church averages around 100 people every Sunday and had a real concern about how it was going to staff the club.
“I was really worried about our volunteer base initially because over half of our church is senior adults and the younger families all work,” said Jason Points, the children’s pastor at Hickory Tree.
“We put out a signup sheet,” said Alex Gonzales, the church pastor, who admitted they expected to have only a few people sign up. “With the exception of one volunteer, all are senior adults and they just flocked to the signup sheet.”
The also had incredible support at Floyd Elementary.
“With the support of the principal, we put our heads together and she basically blessed the teachers and the staff to help with KiDs Beach Club®,” Points said. “From there it all took off.
“The next thing we know, we have over 20 volunteers and 120-something kids on the roles.”
“That told us it was a God thing,” he continued. “It told us that what we were doing was something that God had ordained and that God had set in place. It’s pretty exciting to be a part of this, especially for such a small church.”
One of the volunteers from his church, Georgia Dowdey, who raised five children of her own at Hickory Tree, is appreciative of the opportunity to share Jesus with public school children.
“It is awesome to be able to work with these kids with Beach Club,” she said. “It’s something that great to know that we can bring this in our schools again.
“It’s beautiful to see these children soaking up the information and the fact there are so many of them who are unchurched. It’s just amazing that we can do this and let them know that Jesus loves them, that God loves them and their family, and we can plant a seed here and then let God make it grow.”
Another church volunteer, Sue Murphy, a member at Hickory Tree for 44 years, said, “To think that you have an opportunity to help children, guide their thinking and maybe seek the Lord. That is our real goal, to help the children and find Jesus.
“That puts a big responsibility on us because we need to do our part about being a role model, being an example,” she continued. “It is worth it – spending time with little children. Our time to do that with children is very limited and very short. They grow up so fast.”
The principal and some of the staff at Floyd previously taught at schools with Beach Clubs and were thrilled it was coming to their school.
“I worked with Beach Club before and I saw all that went into it: the games, the music, the snacks, the attendance, even things like keeping track of the points,” said Lauren Reed, a teacher at Floyd who had been praying for three years for a Beach Club to come to her school. “It takes people that are willing to help and its amazing to me that volunteers want to help out with that and I’m so thankful we have this kind of a turnout at Floyd.”
A few of her fellow teachers and other staff at the school also serve in the club.
“I allow any of my staff that participate to wear their KiDs Beach Club® shirt every Wednesday with khakis,” said Dr. Tonya Mamantov, the principal at the school. “Because this activity happens during their contract time, they take a break from their contract time and go do Beach Club and then they come back and finish their contract time. This is on their personal time. They choose to do this.”
The church volunteers enjoy serving alongside the teachers and staff at Floyd.
“I am so grateful to our precious principal, Dr. Mamantov, and these precious people, these teachers, who are Christian teachers allowing us to team with them to help the little children,” Murphy said. “To even have a few of the children find the Lord; every minute that you give is worth it. It is such a privilege.
“The children need to understand the importance of getting Jesus in their hearts young and early and having a whole life to serve the Lord.”
The community has truly come together to make an impact on the students at Floyd and their families and to help lead them to Christ.
“I’m making a difference,” Reed said. “These kids are learning the truth. They need to know the truth and they’re getting that now. I love Beach Club because it changes kids’ lives. Some of these kids have never heard the name of Jesus. Some of these kids have never heard what a Bible is. They haven’t been to church. It is so important to come to Beach Club to learn about those things and get exposed to it and to see their teachers and other people that are helping to influence their lives in a positive way.”
Published on Mar 24 @ 10:44 AM CDT