August 3rd, 2012 at 6:00 am
For three years, First Baptist Church of Cuero has been ministering to children who are economically deprived. During the school season, we bus children to our campus for a meal and Bible lesson. It is very common to see fifty children in preschool and Team Kid classes on any Wednesday evening. In summertime, we reach out to them in their community through Backyard Bible Clubs. We also have added Mega Sports Camp as another avenue to bring the gospel to children. These efforts are done in addition to our regular Vacation Bible School. We call the ministry Mission Cuero.
Many of the children we minister to live in government-subsidized housing. They have no church background. They also have many emotional and behavioral difficulties. Because of those behavioral problems, there often are many tensions and difficulties we face in doing this ministry, for which we constantly depend on God.
We are asked sometimes how we started this ministry. We answer: We didn’t. We believe we responded to an invitation from the Lord to join Him in his work, much as Henry Blackably teaches in Experiencing God. We were asked three years ago if we would allow a group of women to meet at our church to study parenting. We opened our doors and opened our hearts. Our mission committee reached out to the women by offering to care for their children while they studied. That began our involvement in ministry to underprivileged children.
We have seen God’s hand in the ministry each step of the way. We merged the children’s ministry into our RA’s and GA’s classes on Wednesdays. We wanted to feed the children a meal, and we already had a meal service in place. At the end of the first year, we realized that the children did not need to learn about missions. They were the mission. They needed Christ.
After we realized God had called us to this mission, and we embraced that this was our mission. God sent us a person who was well gifted in organizing a children’s outreach ministry. Debbie Grandberry and her husband, Verland, recently had joined our church. Debbie was trained and experienced in children’s ministry. She was the person we needed to lead our children’s outreach ministry.
Out of our faithfulness in small things, God provided greater opportunities. This year we have seen three of the children make a profession of faith, and we have baptized one. We also are beginning to see the children attend regular Sunday School and worship. Our vision is to reach and disciple not only the children but also their parents.
I would not suggest to anyone that this has been an easy work. It is often very challenging. We find ourselves working long hours and under a lot of stress. As the senior pastor, I often drive vans and work with the children to help them learn better behavior skills. It would be easy to say, “I’m the pastor. It is someone else’s job.” Yet, it does not work that way.
The mission is our mission. In addition, we are often stressed because the children have poor behavior skills. We have learned to approach the behavior with loving discipline – discipline that has consistent consequences backed by unconditional love – something they seem not to receive at home.
I believe the process by which we entered this ministry was by responding to God’s invitation. We responded to a need. The need was God’s invitation to join in His work. God did not reveal the entire content of the ministry all at once. It began in very simple steps. Then, as we continued to be faithful, God sent people to help us meet the challenge.
I say to others that the way to enter such as ministry is not by reproducing what we are doing. The real process is to begin to pray for what God wants you to do and then look for His invitation to enter His work. Be aware, it may come in a way you don’t expect. It may come as a request to meet a need.
Written by Glenn Robertson, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Cuero, Texas.
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