Sunday, July 15, 2007

Soccer Camp In Review

I wanted to take a few inches here to devote to my reflections on Soccer Camp 2007. I would love to be able to share with you all sorts of stats and information, but unfortunately I don't have that available right now--be on the lookout for a comment to be added to this post once I can obtain that info.

What I do have are some random thoughts and observations:

  • It was great to see new people helping out with Soccer Camp! Many of our dependable soccer servants who have contributed their time and talents over the years were out of town this week, and it blessed my heart to see a number of new people step into key slots.
  • Our numbers were down this year. My understanding is that they've fallen somewhat steadily since the first year when we had over 100 kids. There are a number of potential factors: 1) We changed the week from what it has been previously, possibly affecting some families' plans; 2) Our new week coincided with a number of VBS and other church programs in the area (we didn't know this 4 months ago, of course); 3) Increased competition from area sports camps, day camps, and video games makes it harder to attract kids to church functions in general--there's just a lot more for kids to do these days; 4) More churches are offering soccer camps now, so it's not as unique a thing as it once was. The Life Development Team will be taking a look at these factors and evaluating the overall effectiveness of Soccer Camp as a ministry.
  • I think we did a better job than in the past of reaching out to the families who were here on our property. As I posted last week, we can host a great event, but it won't matter if we don't build bridges to the people who come to us. I saw many people making an intentional effort to strike up conversations with parents and grandparents. Way to go! We'll see what kind of results that might produce for attendance on Sunday mornings. Remember, it may not happen immediately--if you met someone new and hit it off, do what you can to follow up with them and build that relationship even more.
  • We didn't know what my availability for Soccer Camp was going to be until the last minute (because of my schedule at Olive Garden), so I wasn't put in charge of anything. It was really wonderful to be able to meet the families, introduce myself, and not feel the pressure of preparing a message for the kids or leading the singing. As it was, I worked about 80 hours last week, so I'm especially grateful to the people who stepped up and helped out in those areas. Terry and Loretta... you rock!

Once I find out, I'll pass on to you what we know about the families that were here--how many unchurched, how many who have not been at Soccer Camp previously. I'll also let you know how many decisions we had for Christ--I'm confident it will be fewer than we have had in the last couple years because we had fewer kids and because we focused more on building relationships with the families instead of trying to get kids to simply "pray the prayer."

I don't want to downplay a child's decision to receive Christ by any means, but as I've shared with you in a recent worship service, when a child is the first in his family to receive Christ, the rest of the family also become Christians only 3.5% of the time. I further suspect that the vast majority of those kids who grow up in a home without faith will not grow up possessing an authentic daily relationship with God through Christ. So our focus is now on reaching families, not just having kids accept Christ.

We're trying to become more effective in our outreach ministries--bearing fruit that will last (John 15:16). Don't miss your last chance to sign up for an outreach small group, which will meet over the next 4 weeks. Call the office (784-5388) this week if you are interested. I promise after you are a part of this group, you will gain confidence to reach out to the non-Christians around you every day. Don't miss this opportunity to let go of your fear!

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