CONNECT student missions weekend to return in 2021

This article was written by Karen Bagley, a member at First Baptist Church in Clinton, Arkansas. She is actively involved in missions programs through AWANA, youth CONNECT trips, local hosting of Spring 2019 CONNECT in Clinton, state-wide Acts 1:8 events, NOLA (New Orleans Summer Mission trip), etc. She previously served as a youth Bible study leader, on the youth committee, and assisting in children’s worship. Currently, she serves on the Personnel Team snd Security Team.

CONNECT for students is a weekend missions experience where Arkansas students and leaders find ways to make an impact in the lives of residents within a community. Although students may arrive feeling anxious, ill-equipped, and unsure; they typically leave with a new sense of purpose, courage, and excitement. During the course of the weekend, they discover how they can share God’s love through their words, actions and service to others.

CONNECT for students is a weekend missions experience where Arkansas students and leaders find ways to make an impact in the lives of residents within a community. Although students may arrive feeling anxious, ill-equipped, and unsure; they typically leave with a new sense of purpose, courage, and excitement. During the course of the weekend, they discover how they can share God’s love through their words, actions and service to others.

My first experience with CONNECT was somewhat unique. While our family had moved to another part of the state in 2014, the youth group at our new church home decided to participate in an upcoming CONNECT event for the first time in a long time. The intriguing thing about this particular event for our family was that it was being sponsored back at our former home church in Stuttgart, Arkansas. Somewhat like a person returning to his hometown, the opportunity provided some unique elements, both helpful and challenging.

CONNECT offered an opportunity for my whole family to participate in missions together. While my husband, two high-school sons, and I all worked on different teams, we were each able to put our familiarity with the community to use in helping our teams serve. In addition to encouraging some youth to step out and share the Gospel in simple ways for the first time in their lives, I also discovered a true joy in ministering in new ways to individuals who felt a void in their lives due to physical hardship, relationship problems or health issues. We couldn’t solve their problems but could reach out, provide encouragement and ease some of their burdens.

As additional CONNECT weekends have been planned since that one in Stuttgart, I have made it a priority to be part of the experience. I have even joined the leadership team where I serve as the ministry coordinator for each CONNECT event. Even though the pandemic forced us to cancel events in 2020, we are all looking forward to coming back together in 2021. Our first event is scheduled for Texarkana on April 9-11. CONNECT 2021 will happen even if we are not able to meet together. Be sure to check absc.org/connect for updates and opportunities. 

CONNECT… step up and give it a chance; you’ll be glad you did! It can change how you see yourself in your community when you return. As Christians, God can use us in the course of our daily activities to minister to those around us. Regardless of one’s initial reason for signing up, we often find ourselves being blessed by getting the opportunity to serve others as much, if not more, than those we serve.

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