Trinity Baptist Church’s Inaugural AIA Basketball Summer Camp
Alvin Jordan, Pastor of Children and Family Ministries
Trinity Baptist Church, Vancouver, BC
What a privilege it was to host a children’s summer Basketball Camp from July 4-8, 2022! We teamed up with “Athletes in Action,” a ministry of “Power to Change” which runs Christian sports camps all across Canada. Two coaches were provided by AIA, who worked alongside the 12 volunteers from Trinity Baptist Church, to not only teach basketball skills but to help campers grow physically, socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Congregational members also helped as part of the snack team, with billeting and feeding the AIA coaches, and as prayer warriors who interceded for our whole camp.
This camp was designed to be an outreach camp, so I was very intentional about personally inviting community kids who 1) do not know Jesus, and 2) were kids from the community whom I could follow up with. There were many school yard conversations with other parents and flyers handed out at the public elementary school my kids attend. We had 26 kids registered out of the maximum 30 kids we could have registered, with many of coming from the local school! Out of the 26 kids registered, 17 indicated they do not belong to a church, so 2/3 of campers were unchurched. There was also an excellent ratio between kids and coaches —2 to 1 in fact!—meaning the campers all had personal, individual coaching and attention.
Our camp was a full day camp from 9am to 3pm. For the volunteer team, we started each day with a devotional and prayer; we prayed for the kids that they would know Jesus. After doing morning basketball skills, we had a teaching time, splitting into small groups. We went through a booklet called “More Than a Game” which introduced the children to God.
On the last day of camp, I shared the gospel message with the whole group and invited everyone to pray with me a prayer to know Jesus. The response was very positive. Many of the campers indicated to us on a form that they would either like to “know more information about Jesus” or they “chose to know Jesus for the first time.” I look forward to following up with kids and parents.
It was great working with “Athletes in Action,” getting to know and billet the 2 AIA coaches and seeing the enthusiastic support of the congregation in various aspects of camp. It was a great camp filled with lots of basketball skills and games, new friends and new learning about God for most of the campers.
This basketball camp was intentionally scheduled in early July as an outreach and lead up to our VBS-style “Kids Bible Adventure Week” in August. Within days of the AIA basketball camp finishing, almost 25% of the unchurched campers have already registered for our VBS kids camp. I anticipate more basketball campers joining “Kids Bible Adventure Week” in mid-August! To God be the glory! Awesome to see what God is doing in these young lives!
North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy
Being Truthtellers and Peacemakers in the Heart of the City July 2022
One morning, as we sat across from each other reading our Recovery Bible and discussed one of the steps to moving forward with faith addiction free, one person shared about being stabbed in the head and trying to move forward with their life. Another shared how since accepting the Lord, the voices in their head are getting less and less. This person is not a regular volunteer in our ministry, and I had the privilege of performing their baptism. Unfortunately, it is a rare occurrence when you can tangibly see people moving forward in their faith.
Recently, I was in one of our parks looking for someone who I have been helping. I was speaking with a bylaw person regarding this, when an older gentleman stood behind listening. He then began to complain about the garbage in the park and the homeless. He referred to our homeless population in a way that meant they should be disposed of, much like the garbage they create. I can only say that the Lord and His grace enabled me to respond, rather than react, to this man who also is in need of a saviour. I often get asked how we can continue to feed, serve and love our marginalized population? I can only say that it is by His grace and recognizing these are our Lord’s children. I, too, was once one of these homeless folks. As I hear and find out about the high death rate among our homeless population, I also say we need prayer. Our front-line workers need prayer, many who are not Christ followers. I also say, “It ain’t working folks!” The system is failing us all. Harm reduction and safe supply may stop someone from over-dosing or dying, but they are still in the midst of addiction. We need more recovery, detox and supportive living homes.
This is a big topic, with lots of varying viewpoints. As the church, as Christ followers, we have the answer. Simply put, we have Jesus. And we can share His love with others in very simple and practical ways. On and off the streets, people are dying from drugs that are designed to kill. Our ministry gets to walk alongside our homeless men and women. By building relationships, we are getting to share the love of Jesus in real and practical ways. We even get to use words sometimes. Find a way in your own family, church and community to reach out and love someone in Jesus’ name. You may save a life.
Thank you. God Bless,
Reverend Chuck Harper, C.Min.