BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery is known across Texas for its disaster relief ministry, providing aid to areas that have been hit by devastating storms and natural disasters. In addition to providing invaluable physical help to hurting communities, this Texas Baptists ministry of junior high, high school and college-aged students is expanding to provide support to budding churches as well.
This year, BOUNCE launched its first church planting week in Dallas. David Scott, director of BOUNCE, explained the importance of adding church planting to the agenda.
“We’re excited about the opportunity and being able to mobilize students as well as giving church plants a ‘bounce’… church plants a lot of time are in need of a bounce, challenging them to do something they maybe couldn’t do otherwise at this point,” Scott said.
Having a large group come in to help these often small church plants can give them the manpower to accomplish events and outreach they would not be able to do alone. For this first year, BOUNCE students went to Dallas and helped West End Church, Kingdom Church and Healing Hands Community Church. Some of the students also provided outreach assistance to First Baptist Church of Duncanville, the host church during their week of service.
At Jack Lowe Elementary School, the happy sounds of children laughing and running echoed down the halls as students from First Baptist Church (FBC) of El Paso played games and made crafts with them as a part of West End Church’s ministry. Though most church plants do not have their own buildings, they still find spaces, such as this elementary school, to host events centered around helping their communities.
Jeremy Kroeker, youth pastor at FBC El Paso, was extremely excited to involve his students in BOUNCE’s inaugural church planting week. His group had participated in disaster recovery last year, but he was keen on exposing his students to different forms of ministry. FBC El Paso brought 52 students and leaders that worked across all four sites.
“Our group coming in and playing with the kids or doing crafts or playing games is just another way of showing the school and the staff, and even the parents and the kids themselves, that we’re here to serve, we’re here to have fun, we’re here to be the light of Jesus and be a blessing,” Kroeker explained between rounds of dodgeball.
Groups of students played soccer and dodgeball, while other kids clustered around leaders with buckets of beads, making necklaces and bracelets. BOUNCE students also read with kids and helped them sound out words. Engaging the kids at Jack Lowe Elementary School is not a new ministry for West End Church, but having the BOUNCE students there enabled them to work more personally with each student.
Throughout the week, BOUNCE groups around Dallas held Vacation Bible Schools, hosted community block parties, fed homeless people, and planned outreach events. Pastor Chris Walker of Kingdom Church expressed his appreciation for the students.
“This week has been phenomenal,” Pastor Walker said. “The BOUNCE students were able to connect with the community by going to neighborhoods, recreation center, library, water park, the zoo and the mall. They were intentional to reach the community and meet them where they are...We are grateful and honored to be apart of this great experience.”
In addition to helping church plants, BOUNCE also provides the students who participate with valuable training and experience in ministry.
Colbie, a high school student at FBC El Paso, explained the impact BOUNCE had, saying, “at BOUNCE I’ve learned more about God and how God uses us to minister to others no matter if it’s kids, the elderly, homeless or maybe the needy… we’re able to share the Gospel of God and why God is so important and how God can save them just as He saved us.”
Next year, Scott plans to have even more church planting opportunities available at BOUNCE. Two church plants have already signed up to be helped, and Scott anticipates many more to follow. He encouraged churches looking for a fresh way to get their students involved to look into BOUNCE as a readily available option.
“I think that every church ought to have a missional component for their students,” Scott said. “If you’re looking for an opportunity to mobilize students, whether it’s through disaster recovery or church planting, we have an opportunity that is a pre-packaged experience that can make it super easy for a church youth minister or volunteer or pastor…to get their students into a hands-on mission experience.”
BOUNCE offers both summer and spring break missions opportunities. For more information about BOUNCE and how your church can get involved, click here, or contact David Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.