How to change uninspired, fearful students

If you suffer from a lackluster youth group…. if you want to fire up your students for Jesus…. if you know you need a better approach to helping teens learn to share their faith….  then this message is just for you. Here’s why…

YOU CAN INVOLVE STUDENTS IN CREATIVE MINISTRIES WHICH CAN BE USED TO SHARE JESUS, THEN WATCH THE EXPERIENCE CHANGE THEIR LIVES.

As church leaders, we all realize that if we don’t help students overcome their fears, it just gets worse. Students either drop out or we have adults who never tell anyone about Jesus

And what happens if you just do nothing? If you just keep doing what you’ve been doing in your student ministry? NOTHING. YOUR YOUTH GROUP DWINDLES, AND WHEN PEOPLE ASK, YOU MUTTER SOMETHING ABOUT “CAN’T ENTERTAIN THEM.”

WE CAN HELP YOU EMPOWER STUDENTS TO SHARE THEIR FAITH

Peggy Murphy’s story will inspire you. Here’s the story: “I have worked with students for years. I learned quickly that the best way to help them gain confidence in sharing their faith and learning to get in front of an audience was through creative ministries. I’ve taken students to Creative Ministries Festival for years and also developed creative ministries in the churches where I have served. My students always had fun but also learned creative ways that they could share Jesus.
In 2013, Kentucky WMU was asked to be the sponsor of Kentucky Changers and Creative Ministries Festival. They invited me to become the coordinator of both ministries. Our first year to sponsor CMF was in 2015 AND WE HAVE BEEN ON A ROLL SINCE,holding Festivals each year with a line up of fantastic workshops and instructors. We’ve also added a “How to Share Your Faith” class for everyone and we really emphasize that creative ministries is more than puppetry, balloons, drama, etc. It is a way to share Jesus that is fun.”

CREATIVE MINISTRIES has been vital for other youth leaders and it will make an impact on your students, too!

Hundreds of students and leaders attend Creative Ministries Festival each year. Here’s what Renee Parsons from Hope Central in Ashland had to say about Creative Ministries Festival.… I had such an amazing time at Creative Ministries Festival and learned a lot about the power of the arts. So much so, that as the promotional arm of Hope Central, we have created ACTS…Ashland Christian Traveling Stage. It is a theatrical guild that does everything from plays and sketches to music and juggling, and anything in between…We travel to churches, community events, youth or WMU groups, and anywhere we get invited! We work with our local community theater who provides us access to sets and costumes, and we had sound equipment donated with 16 head mics! Thank you for the inspiration, and for all you do! God Bless!

Now, It’s Your Turn
When you sign up for Creative Ministries Festival, you will join with a group of 300 plus students and adults for a weekend of creative arts experiences.

  • We have about 20 different workshops lined up for the event
  • You will receive an easy to follow program with workshop  descriptions for you and your students
  • We will have great sessions with a wide variety of creative ministry presentations by workshop leaders
  • We will teach beginning and advanced students how to do different types of creative arts
  • Church groups that already do creative arts can sign up to perform at a local block party on Saturday during the Festival. This will be a live ministry opportunity to share the gospel and also be critiqued by experienced instructors
  • WE HAVE… IN OTHER WORDS… COMPLETELY PLANNED THIS OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN AND EXPERIENCE CREATIVE ARTS. YOU JUST HAVE TO GET THERE WITH YOUR STUDENTS!

That’s right – this a an event planned with you and your students in mind. And if you had to plan it, put together the workshops, enlist the leaders, secure a location, and work out all the details, it would cost more than most churches can afford. But this creative ministries festival opportunity is available to you for just $25 per student and adult registered by March 1. Registration increases to $30 after that date and is $35 at the door.  Still a bargain, but why not register now!

The workshops, sessions,and block party all come as part of CREATIVE MINISTRIES FESTIVAL for just $25 per student and adult participant.

We invite you to come to CMF one time to see what this experience is all about. Come and bring a couple of students. You’ll be delighted – and we think you will find that you can’t wait to get all of your students involved.

It’s Decision Time – The event is March 9-10, 2018 at Highland Baptist Church in Shelbyville

You have a choice to make: Do what you’ve been doing (or worse, do nothing at all). You know where that will lead. Dwindling youth group. Students who never share Jesus. Students who have no excitement about their faith. Is that really where you want to go?  Do something new and get a new result. Come to Creative Ministries Festival. Finally help your students learn how to share their faith and not be afraid.

Have questions? Here’s what to do now… JUST SEND AN EMAIL TO “[email protected]”, ASKING TO TALK ABOUT CREATIVE MINISTRIES. INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER. She will have a personal conversation with you and determine if CMF is a good fit for your students.

If you want more details about all the classes that we are offering this year and a schedule for the weekend, visit our web site:  www.kywmu.org/cmf.  Online registration available!

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Kentucky Volunteers – There when needed

The recent school shooting tragedy in Marshall County has touched many lives and in the midst of the tragedy, Kentucky Baptists were there. Dr. Chitwood wrote about the pastors who went to the school and to the hospital (See Unsung Heroes: Pastors rushed to school shooting because that’s just what they do.)

Kentucky Disaster Relief volunteers were also helping.  Coy Webb, Kentucky Disaster Relief Director, shared this note:

To Red Cross & KY Baptist Disaster Relief,
Thank You.  Thank you for being there.  There has been only two or three times in my career that I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside the American Red Cross (ARC) and the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief (KBDR).  The first was the floods in Ashland, the second in West Liberty for tornadoes, and now the Marshall County High School shooting.

The task of investigating any crime that involves children is daunting.  Like most of you, I have children.  For some, if not most, you have played the scenario in your mind, “What if this were my kid’s School?” Or worse, “What if my kid were a victim?”  To have to interact with the parent is sometimes harder than interacting with the child.  To be able to ask that parent or child, “Are you thirsty, or hungry?  The ARC & KBDR have brought pizza, Cokes, water, snacks, etc.”  To have that open dialogue we all commonly share, “Are you hungry or thirsty?”  Because of the ARC & the KBDR we could say to the families, “We have comfort” (even if it’s only in the form of food & drink).

We have more work to do.  More kids to talk to.  More stones to turn.  More healing to process.  In this case, comfort & healing came in the form of the ARC & KBDR volunteers.  Thank you.

Senior Trooper Jack A. Hedges  U/887
Kentucky State Police
Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT)
919 Versailles Road
Frankfort, KY 40601

Please continue to pray for the families of those killed, the students who are recovering, and all who were traumatized. Give thanks for Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and all who have and are ministering in Marshall County.

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Refurbishing the Kentucky Room at National WMU

National WMU is embarking on a huge remodeling project at the national WMU building. Our beautiful WMU home office has been in constant use since it was built in the mid-1980’s. It is time for wall paper to be removed, carpet to be replaced, lighting to be updated, new window treatments added, and much more.  This includes the Kentucky Room.

The Kentucky Room is a conference room at the National WMU Building that was furnished by Kentucky WMU.  Through the years, I have always been proud to visit the Kentucky room whenever I have been at the National WMU building. I always pause in front of the picture of Eliza Broadus and show my respect for our beloved leader. A few years ago a framed print of “My Old Kentucky Home” was added to the artwork in the room, placed there in memory of my mother, Dorothy Luebbert.

But carpets get worn and decorating styles change. With the availability of more efficient lighting and better equipment for conference room use, it is time for an upgrade. Kentucky WMU has committed to cover the cost of the renovations to the Kentucky Room, including some volunteer labor to strip wallpaper and paint.

If you would like to have a part in the Kentucky Room renovation, send your donation to Kentucky WMU. The projected cost for the project is $11,500.  We will keep a list of donors who helped with the renovation of the room. We will continue to be “Kentucky proud” of this room and its importance at the national WMU building.

Beyond the Kentucky Room, renovations are planned building wide. Anyone and everyone is invited to help with the costs of remodeling. Contributions for the building wide project can be made to the WMU Foundation. Building renovation donations will be placed in the Wanda Lee Joy Fund and this will be the funding channel for the building work.

The Southern Baptist Convention will meet in Birmingham in June 2019. We know that many will visit the national WMU building at that time and we want it to be ready for guests. Renovations will  also improve the functionality of the facility for meetings and other events which take place.

Please pray for this project, for Sandy Wisdom-Martin and Linda Cooper as they lead us, and for the national WMU staff as they continue their work in the midst of the renovations. Pray for generous donations and for a renewed excitement about our WMU home.

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Jerusalem Prayer Center Trip with Kentucky WMU

Kentucky WMU is planning a trip to the Jerusalem Prayer Center as part of our NAME prayer commitment.

Trip Dates: May 21 – June 1, 2018. 

Tentative Cost: $3800 which includes airfare*, hotels, meals, local transportation, travel insurance**, and project expense.

Trip requires a good bit of walking and stamina. There will be some touring in the Holy Land as part of the experience, but the focus will be on learning about mission work with various NAME people groups and praying for them. The group will do a ministry project (sand and paint shutters, picnic table, and benches) at the Jerusalem Prayer Center.  http://jerusalemprayercenter.com/

The following schedule describes what will be done in several day blocks of time. Workers at the Jerusalem Prayer Center will lead the group and make final arrangements for places to visit and the schedule.

Monday, May 21 
Departure

Tuesday, May 22
Arrival Tel Aviv. Transport to Jerusalem, check in hotel, orientation

Wednesday, May 23- Friday, May 25
Introduction to JPC; ministry project; 4 corner prayer experience
Silence retreat; Garden Tomb; Hebrew/English worship;
Visit Western Wall as Shabbat begins; Prayerwalking

Saturday, May 26  – Sunday, May 27
Travel south past Dead Sea; Negev; Beer Sheva;
Visit Tabernacle project; prayer for NAME peoples;
Visit Shepherds’ Field near Bethlehem;
In Jerusalem: Caiphas’ house; virtual Temple tour

Monday, May 28 – Thursday, May 31
Check out of Jerusalem hotel; travel to Qumran;
Drive north to Galilee through Jordan Valley, pass Gilgal & Jericho.
Check into Galilee hotel. Listening Retreat.  Prayerwalking.
Visit and pray over workers in various locations.
Boat ride on Sea of Galilee; Korazim, Capernaum;
Jezreel Valley & Mount of Precipice; Plains of Sharon,
Festival Ministry; Camp/Sports ministry at Baptist Village .

Friday, June 1
Return flight to Kentucky

*Airfare – The trip price includes airfare. However, ticket prices have been fluctuating. Should we find that airfare exceeds what we have projected, all who have made a deposit will be notified with the option of receiving a refund. Once tickets are confirmed, payments are non-refundable.
**Insurance includes medical and travel insurance.

TO APPLY FOR THIS TRIP: Email [email protected] and request an application form.  Questions: 502-489-3423 (office) or 502-321-2756 (cell). An application and deposit must be made by February 1.

Deposit schedule:
$800 with application
$1000 by Feb. 1, 2018   (Total to date: $1800)
$1000 by March 15, 2018   (Total to date: $2800)
$1000 by May 1, 2018   (Total to date: $3800)

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Retirement Is Coming

It’s official…

Here’s the backstory. One of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made has been the decision to retire. Like many others, it began to be on my mind after I turned 60, and more so at 62. But when my husband retired and asked me to consider retiring, the decision moved from conjecture to a decision I had to make.

A few weeks ago, at the close of what we call October Board Meeting, I shared the following with the Kentucky WMU Executive Board.

I have asked Susan to allow me to close out this meeting. When I came to Kentucky WMU 18  years ago, I came with the support of Lee Bolton who promised me when he proposed that if the opportunity came for me to do WMU work as a career, he would go with me. And so he did when the opportunity came to join the SC WMU staff in 1995 and again in 1999 when we came to Kentucky.

Now it is time for me to honor his request for me to retire. While you would not know it to look at him, his health has not been good this year and he is ready for me to slow down. This has been an agonizing decision for me for many reasons.

I talked with Susan and Marcia, chair of the personnel committee, when I had my annual review and shared with them that I was wrestling with what to do and that Lee’s health was driving the bus for me. 

I will be 65 in August. I propose to retire not earlier than September 1, 2018 but not later than September 1, 2019.  I am committed to a smooth transition and will stay as needed to work with the next executive director. I watched Wanda Lee stay on and work with Sandy Wisdom-Martin for about 6 weeks to take her to meetings, spend time with her to explain things, and eventually slipped out and left Sandy on her own. They modeled a positive transition and I want to follow her example.

I love you all, love Kentucky WMU and the KBC. I have been blessed to serve with you and am also committed to work hard to my very last day. I will not coast this year. I have a long list of things to be done before I retire, including writing up helps for the next person who has this position.

Thank you for your love and support. Kentucky WMU will forever be in my heart – and, Cheryl, Kentucky WMU has already been named beneficiary of a legacy gift.

I asked the Board not to put this news on Facebook to allow me time to make some calls that I needed to make. I appreciate the Board for honoring my request.  After the meeting, I talked with Dr. Chitwood, and made the decision that the Western Recorder would break the story.

A Search Committee will be named by Susan Bryant. Please pray for Susan as she names the committee, and for the next leader of Kentucky WMU.

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WMU, chocolate cake, and gospel conversations

Doug Williams, Missions Strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, caught me in the hall and said with excitement, “Let me show you this picture!”  He proceeded to pull out his phone to show me a picture he snapped in Salt Lake City.  After I heard the story, I wanted the picture!  Here’s what Doug said when he sent me the picture:

Here is the picture of the Kerns’s home pantry. I was in their home this week, as I took a group of KBC church leaders to meet planters and hear the vision of reaching SLC with the gospel. We sat around their table eating chocolate cake and listening to the testimony of a couple who they won to Jesus, coming out of Mormonism. Because WMU featured the Kerns family in September and it mentioned that Stacie loves to bake, they continue to receive baking goods. Oh, did I mention that the chocolate cake we ate was from a mix sent to them by someone from WMU?! Thank the Lord for mission education through WMU! Who would have thought that chocolate cake could be used for gospel conversations!!

Doug told me that these baked goods had come from Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, and other WMU missions groups. If you sent items to the Kerns, thank you!  To all who prayed for the Kerns and shared their story with your missions group, thank you.

Teaching children about a missionary, then leading them to pack a box of baking items and send them to a missionary, might not seem significant to some.  But we know that when you do this, it has an impact on the missionary AND on the children who learned and responded.

Yes, WMU teaches missions and provides chocolate cake for gospel conversations.

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Leaders Need to Keep Learning

I’ve been in leadership a long time. My parents used to tell about me as an older preschooler visiting churches in the association with my parents where Vacation Bible School was being held. At one church, as the story goes, there seemed to be some confusion among the children as to what they were to do. My parents would smile as they told how I jumped to the front and announced to the other children, “Follow me. I know what to do.”

When one has been in leadership for many years, it is easy to get arrogant. We’ve done this job before and we know what to do. It also becomes easy to get stagnant or simply just coast rather than keep growing as a leader. As a leader who wishes to avoid arrogance, stagnation or just coasting, the Christian Women’s Leadership Center (CWLC) offers challenging courses that are not expensive or too difficult to add to an already busy schedule.

I am currently taking Spiritual Formation as a Leader. The course includes on-line videos, response assignments, and reading Upside Down Leadership by Taylor Field. This book touches heart and attitude issues that face every leader. The leadership principles that Field puts forth are stark in opposition to the teachings of most leadership gurus: Stop Leading, Forget Results, Think Small, Make No Plans, Associate with Losers, Get Off the Cutting Edge, and so on.  Don’t let the titles fool you. There is deep content for leaders.

The CWLC Leadership Certificate Program consists of nine four-week courses in three areas. Each $30 course includes the course textbook in PDF format and interactive assignments. Participation usually takes 3-5 hours per week (on your own schedule) and also introduces you to others who are taking the course with you through forums and opportunities to comment on assignments. CWLC Leadership Certificate courses are offered on a rotating schedule and must be taken when offered. Courses in the certificate program include:

Leadership Foundation
– The Biblical and Theological Foundations of Leadership
– Leadership Theory
– Women Leaders from the Past
Leadership Formation
– Spiritual Formation as a Leader
– A Sense of Call to Leadership
– Missional Living: A History of Missions and How It Impacts Missions Today
Leadership Skills
– Leader Skills: 5 Leadership Essentials for Women
– Follower Skills
– Leading with Integrity: 12 Strategies for Your Ministry or Non-Profit

In addition to the leadership certificate series, Christian Leader Learning offers Develop Courses and Enrichment Courses. These provide a way to learn about leading WMU organizations (such a Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, Children in Action, Mission Friends, etc.) or courses to help enhance leadership skills. Develop courses can be taken anytime and you have 30 days to complete the course from the date of enrollment.

Learn more: Christian Leader Learning

Join me and keep learning!

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Reaching out to teachers from China

Our 2017 Rise Up and Shine state missions emphasis has focused attention on Kentucky Baptist ministries with internationals. It is our prayer that the focus has made us more sensitive to the internationals we meet and how we might befriend them. It is friendship that opens doors to share the gospel.

Earlier this year I posted a blog about welcoming Chinese teachers who are teaching in Kentucky to gain experience in our schools. I received a follow up email this week providing us with an updated list of school districts with teacher from China. These teachers need friends, help with shopping, and above all, a gospel witness. They would love to be invited to an American home for a meal and often will be open to attend church with your family.

This ministry is first of all a ministry of friendship. “We treat our teachers like family whether they go to church with us or not,” says Dreama Ruley who works with teachers in her district. “We can show Jesus’ love in other ways besides going to church, and after some have returned home, they contacted us with questions that they did not seem to be interested in while here. We plant seeds and let God worry about the harvest.”

The following districts have teachers from China. Would you prayerfully consider volunteering to meet a teacher and befriend her/him this year?
Butler County
Barren County
Bowling Green
Warren
Daviess
Muhlenburg
Cloverport
Meade
Hardin
Oldham
Logan

If you are interested in getting involved, Dreama Ruley will provide additional information to help you in making contact. If emailing, please put “Chinese teachers” in the subject line  Email: [email protected] Phone: 270-586-7632.

May we Rise Up and Shine to befriend these teachers from China.

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Summer 2017 In Review

“We facilitate missions involvement” is more than a catchy phrase for Kentucky WMU. When we plan our work, this is what drives us. We are constantly thinking, “How can we involve more people in missions?” Our 2017 summer events have reflected this passion.

Kentucky Changers worked in Shelbyville, Harrodsburg, Albany, and Greensburg this summer. Statistics from the four weeks show:
Churches represented: 81
Job sites: 68
Participants (students/chaperones): 632
Volunteers (crew chiefs, assistants, food service, etc.): 271
Total participants: 902
Total decisions: 85, with 16 for salvation, 39 for call to ministry, and 30 rededications.

What these statistics tell us is that 902 people were involved in hands-on missions. They came to help with many aspects of the ministry, from construction to clean up, from cooking to delivering supplies, and everything in between. By sponsoring and planning Kentucky Changers, Kentucky WMU made it possible for 902 people to experience missions.

In June, Kentucky WMU sponsored Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids (MAKK) in Louisville and Lexington. Through age-appropriate missions activities, boys and girls learned that they can do missions. Their chaperones/leaders encouraged them and were their cheerleaders as the children stepped up to serve. Thirty six children and leaders participated in MAKK Louisville and 58 participated in Lexington. Children did a variety of helping projects in the community and collected paper products for the Ronald McDonald House. In Louisville the children worked at the Baptist Fellowship Center and with Fern Creek Community Ministries. In Lexington they served at the Ronald McDonald House, Lexington Rescue Mission, Mission Lexington, Hope Center, and nursing homes.

A team of 12 Kentucky Acteens Activators served for a week in Knoxville, TN where they worked with over 80 children in day camp. The Acteens also served in a food ministry, Love Local, where snack packs were delivered in an area where 100% of the children receive free lunches during the school year. Acteens also spent a week at the Haven of Rest in Inez where they helped with Vacation Bible School and served in the community.

In cooperation with National WMU and Central Baptist Association, we were host to Familyfest in July which brought us over 150 volunteers from Kentucky and beyond. These volunteers participated in different ministries in the Lebanon/Springfield area including Backyard Bible Club/VBS, light construction/repairs, servant ministries, social ministry, several block parties, prayerwalking, senior adult ministry, evangelism, sports camps, and health/wellness ministries. It is a special week as families serve together.

Royal Ambassadors and Challengers gathered at Camp Courage July 28-29 to learn about missions as they also raced cars, learned knot tying and other outdoor skills.

The Mission Friends and Girls in Action Leaders Retreat August 4-5 was a time for leaders to learn and share ideas for enhancing missions for preschool and children.

We wrapped up the summer with a mission team of 12 to Swaziland to deliver Baptist Global Response Hospice Care Buckets. These buckets had been packed and sent by Kentucky Baptists. The team saw 31 professions of faith during the week. In addition to bucket delivery the team led revival services in two churches each night, led a three day camp for 75 children, provided WMU training for the Swaziland Women’s Committee, and had a day of training for pastors.

As seen in these and other events and activities, WMU points people to a world beyond themselves and facilitates missions involvement. WMU challenges people to be involved in the mission of God and provides avenues so that everyone can learn, pray, give, and go!

This is why I am so passionate about WMU and starting WMU in every church. WMU is a movement that gets people involved in missions. Too many church members are content to show up for a service once a week and do little else. For WMU, this is not what being a Christ-follower is all about. WMU will not rest until the gospel is proclaimed down the street and around the world. We teach missions. We do missions. Join us!

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This is the perfect time for the Christmas Backpacks project!

Did you know that 17.3 million children in the U.S. live in poverty? You can help through the Christmas Backpacks Project. Kentucky Baptists are filling new backpacks with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, food and clothing for children. These will be distributed at Christmas events in December where the gospel will be shared.

Christmas seems a long way off for many, but this is the perfect time to be shopping for the Christmas Backpacks Project. School supplies go on sale over the summer at many stores. And because Christmas Backpacks need to be delivered in October, churches can get started over the summer. It makes for a great VBS missions project or a Back to School ministry. Each church is asked to register the number of backpacks that you will prepare with the KBC and download gift tags to mark each backpack with the age and gender child to receive it.

Here is how to participate and the Backpack Collection Timeline:

How to Participate & Pack

  • Register online the number of backpacks your church is committed to pack and share.
  • Begin with a NEW, zippered backpack.
  • Determine the gender and age for the backpacks, then mark a label for each backpack accordingly.
  • Fill the backpacks with NEW gifts (item list).
  • Securely tape the labels to the outside of the backpacks.
  • Pray specifically for the child receiving the backpack and his or her family.
  • Deliver the backpacks to your designated collection site on the assigned day (associational collection site list).

October 16-20, 2017
Churches deliver backpacks in boxes to associational collection sites.
Each church must:

  • Ensure that each backpack is packed with toys, clothing, food items, a copy of the “Christmas Story” leaflet, and a copy of the Mailbox Bible Club postcard.
  • Ensure that each backpack has a label specifying the age and gender of its contents.
  • Pack four to six backpacks each in 18″x18″x16″ cardboard boxes (available at Lowes, Home Depot, Staples, etc.), keeping those designated for the same ages and genders together when possible.
  • Transport the committed number of backpacks to its designated associational collection site.

October 23-27, 2017
Associations deliver backpacks in boxes to regional collection sites.
Each association must:

  • Ensure backpacks are labeled and packed (four to six backpacks each in 18″x18″x16″ cardboard boxes), keeping those designated for the same ages and genders together when possible.
  • Transport boxed backpacks to its designated regional collection site.

October 30-November 3, 2017
All boxed backpacks will be picked up from the regional collection sites and distributed to the requesting ministries and church plants.

The great thing about this schedule is that churches deliver the Christmas Backpacks in October. The schedule does not interfere with the collection of other Christmas ministries (such as Operation Christmas Child) which are usually due in November. Also, by participating in the Christmas Backpacks, your church can provide a gospel witness to a child at Christmas right here in the United States in addition to participation in international projects.

So, start watching for school supplies to go on sale. Look for bargains on new clothing, toys, and other items. Our Kentucky goal is 5,000 backpacks. Half of that number will be used in Kentucky, and half will go to Cincinnati, a Send City with the North American Mission Board.

Join us in sharing the gift of love and the gospel with a child in need this Christmas!

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