Sunday, October 14, 2018

A New Era in Youth Ministry at Baptist Temple

Baptist Temple has a long and storied history of ministry to young people. We have church members in their 70's who were part of Baptist Church's youth ministry.

In its heyday, our youth outreach efforts would pack the church on both Breckenridge and Highland High School days. Enrollment reached its high point when D. Ray Taylor was youth minister (1971-77). Peak enrollment reached 344 in 1974; Kay Richardson (who chairs the youth committee) and Melissa Baxter were youth during this era.

I remember every Sunday evening we had training union and youth group which, I think, included choir. The parents would take turns fixing dinner for the youth on Sunday nights and we would meet in the youth lounge for dinner and Bible study. I remember the Bible studies that we did, especially the book of Ecclesiastes,” said Melissa.

Times have changed. Although we have fewer people of all ages at our worship service, our ministry to youth remains strong. We have 400 kids on the Baptist Temple Campus every day attending our charter school and early learning center. Nine youth basketball teams use our gym for practice and occasional games. These are vital with the limited resources of our community.

The Southside of San Antonio ranks as a very low opportunity area for children (according to DiversityDataKids.org.) This takes into account proximity to employment, public assistance rate, poverty rate, foreclosures, proximity to healthcare, proximity to fresh food markets and high school graduation rate. To counter this reality, government, business, church and non-profit groups are working to provide resources that will break the generational poverty that has trapped our youth. Baptist Temple's role is to help the children in our community access these resources to stay in school, stay at home and stay in church.

Our early learning center provides quality, Christ-centered care for the children of working families in our community; providing a strong foundation for success in school. Jubilee Highland Park provides a high quality education within a culture of excellence. The youth basketball leagues promote health, teamwork and other soft skills that lead to success in school and beyond.

It is possible for children from the Southside to succeed against the odds. Coby and John grew up attending Baptist Temple. Both graduated high school (Highlands and McCollum, respectively) and both received full scholarships to local colleges (Incarnate Word and Our Lady of the Lake, respectively). We want more success stories like these.

In times like these, Baptist Temple is providing essential ministries showing God's love to the next generation. Leading the to the abundant life Jesus promised.

The thief does not come 
except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
I have come that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10

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Anonymous said...

Excellent article. I will be dealing with some of these issues as well..