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ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – Churches are finally opening back up. Families are able to gradually connect again with other people in person. Things are starting to go back to “normal” in a way.

But, “normal” isn’t fully back yet.

At Second Baptist Church in Arkadelphia, Student Pastor Matt Parker shared a new method of connecting that they will do soon with their church families.

This new idea is budget-friendly.

This new idea is effective.

This new idea can equip families for spiritual growth.

This new idea is called “camp in a box.”

“We got the idea from Connect Camps,” Parker said. “When things blew up with the pandemic, that company sent out an email. They are the architects of this idea, but we created our own version to be budget-friendly. The concept came from them, but we created our own resources to make it work best for our group.”

Many summer camps have closed down for the summer. With summer camps being one of the most effective tools for reaching students spiritually, something must be done to connect with families and students in a unique way during this unusual time. Not only have many camps closed down due to COVID-19, but many churches are also facing budget reductions due to COVID-19’s economic impact on their membership.

So, the question arises: what can churches do to stay within budget and keep people engaged during this pandemic? The vision remains clear for Second Baptist Church in Arkadelphia, but the strategies must be creative. “We’re just a group of people trying to build disciples for the next generation. Arkadelphia is pretty dependent on school schedules, but when COVID-19 hit, it shut just about everything down. College volunteers went away. Students were inaccessible. We’ve made some digital connections, but students are tired of using Zoom. We had to get creative,” Parker said.

Even with a clear vision and mission, the strategies can often bring challenges. As a staff, Second Baptist Church strives to move people closer to Jesus as they worship, learn and serve. Parker said, “We have vamped up our resourcing of families to disciple their own kids. Not all parents feel like they are able to disciple their kids well or have a vision/framework for how family discipleship is done. So, that is where the ‘Camp in a Box’ idea came from. We want to equip parents to disciple their kids, especially while they are at home.”

With the challenges presented by COVID-19, Second Baptist Church has worked – like many other churches – to maintain connection with their members. Although the circumstances are different, God is still moving and using the local church to reach people for His glory.

If your church is interested in creating a version of “Camp in a Box,” or any other box designed for your church, below are the items that Second Baptist in Arkadelphia will include in their boxes. Use the hashtag #ArkansasBaptistBoxes on social media to share your box ideas with Baptist churches across Arkansas!

About Second Baptist Church’s Box:

• Theme: Reset

• Purpose: To reevaluate family core values and family mission statement, then learning to operate within those values and mission.

• Four sermon videos on a flash drive (each of the full-time ministry staff does one session)

• Children’s Pastor Jacob Jenkins and his wife, Amy, on creating a family mission statement and developing core values.

• Student Pastor Matt Parker and his wife, Misha, on calendaring/scheduling your family life around core values.

• Senior Pastor Louie Heard on living life on mission (serving according to family core values and mission statement).

• Worship Pastor Kevin Shepherd on family worship.

• Follow up discussion guides based on the video messages

• Activity sheets for the family

• Daily devotionals for each member of the family

• Meal ideas

• T-shirts, coffee mugs and water bottles

• It is suggested to team up with another family to do the activities to help build the community aspect of camp

• This has been created to function well even for families that even have parents working full-time again

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