LAYTON, Utah (BP)–Seven-year-old Zachary Knight faithfully obeys the Great Commission without even knowing what it is.
An ambassador for a children’s recreation-based discipleship program at his church, the second-grader regularly brings friends to Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton, Utah, to play, fellowship, memorize God’s Word and eat.
“I bring them because it’s fun, and I want to see if they’ll like it too,” Zachary said of Mountain View’s Wednesday evening TeamKID program, which averages a turnout of 65 to 140 children.
Thanks to Zachary, two of those who attend are Ricky Irvin and Rich Carpenter. Both have joined TeamKID following Zach’s invitation and, as a result, Rich’s parents are now members of the church.
“Rich’s parents go to our church now, and they got their neighbors to start going,” said Zachary’s Mom, Linda Knight, who acknowledges Zach is constantly inviting friends to go with him to TeamKID and to Sunday school.
“Whoever he wants to take, I ask their parents, and if they say OK, we take them,” she said.
TeamKID is a program that ministers to families, according to Gary McKean, who with his wife, Naomi, coordinates the TeamKID program at Mountain View.
“We work with kids, but we reach out to families,” he said. TeamKID makes Bible study fun.
The McKeans began leading TeamKID for Mountain View about two months after they moved from Maranatha Baptist Church in Logan, Utah, about 40 miles north of Layton. They had coordinated a similar children’s program in their former church and had promised each other to give themselves a break before assuming another leadership role at Mountain View.
“My husband said, ‘Let’s not get involved for one year,’ and after being here two months, he saw the TeamKID program already going on at the church and got so excited. He said to me, ‘You’ve just got to take a look at this program.’ And here we are,” said Naomi McKean, a first-grade teacher at Layton Christian Academy, located just across the street from the church.
What the McKeans like about TeamKID is that it “reaches children with the gospel in a way that’s fun,” Gary McKean, a prosecuting attorney for Davis County, said.
“We study the Bible, we have food, we have activities and we have fun. I want the children to look back at this time in their lives when they are adults and remember it,” he said.
“When someone asks us, ‘What are people your age doing working with kids?’ I try to tell them, besides the fact that I love kids, we recognize if we have not reached them by their teen years, the chance of getting them into church goes down significantly.”
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Sunday School Board began producing TeamKID in the fall of 1993. Its five main elements, centering around recreation activities, are:
1) The Warm Up — a beginning activity as the children assemble;
2) The Work Out — a group study of the Bible conducted in creative ways;
3) Stretching — breaking the children into age groups for age-appropriate Bible study;
4) Tournament — games and activities that relate to that week’s study; and
5) Cool Down — refreshments and review of the lessons.
At Mountain View, TeamKID classes are separated into five groups or clubs, including preschoolers, kindergartners, first- graders, second- and third-graders, and fourth- through sixth- graders. About 20 leaders (or coaches) assist with the program, teaching the children their lessons and helping them learn Bible verses.
“The notion of TeamKID,” said Gary McKean, “is for the children to be active, but to be learning Bible verses at the same time.
“In the course of a year, if they learn all their material, they will have learned 72 Bible verses. And they have to be able to explain them, not just recite them. They have to demonstrate an understanding of them.”
According to Naomi McKean, “What the children learn at TeamKID will go with them through their daily lives at home and at school.”
And the best part, said Gary, is that families are coming to church because kids are coming to TeamKID. “We give awards for Sunday school attendance, and if they are attending Sunday school, somebody is having to bring them. A lot of the parents who bring their kids to Sunday school just go ahead and go to church.”
Individuals working with TeamKID resources in their churches who need a question answered, want to offer a suggestion or want to relate a success story may send information to Jan Marler, children/preschool specialist in the Sunday School Board’s Discipleship and Family Youth/Children/Preschool Department, at [email protected] or call her at (615) 251-3843. TeamKID materials can be ordered in several ways: by fax to (615) 251-5933; mailed to the Customer Service Center, MSN 113, 127 Ninth Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37234-0113; called in at 1-800-458-2772; sent by e- mail at [email protected]; or placed online at www.bssb.com
Imposing building, discipleship help church bring in visitors
LAYTON, Utah (BP)–An imposing, all-glass foyer building brings visitors into Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton, Utah, and the posters inside listing all the programs they have to offer keep them there.
“The LDS are doing a lot of searching; their church doesn’t seem to be meeting their needs,” said minister of education Mike Eaves. “When they see a building like this, they want to see what it looks like inside. And when they get in, they see all these posters.”
Pastor Keith Markham added one-third of those who fill out visitor’s cards say they are there because they just drove by the church.
“We have two to three people a week who come into the church from the street just to look. Mike and I have had an opportunity to win several people to the Lord as a result. I’ve never seen anywhere where a building is as important as it is here.”
TeamKID and other discipleship programs at Mountain View have been instrumental in attracting a group of people with diverse religious backgrounds into the church, Markham said.
“We are doing nearly everything the discipleship (and family development) division (at the Sunday School Board) is putting out. Probably percentage wise, we have the most extensive support groups and discipleship groups around here,” said Markham, who came to Mountain View a year ago last June after serving as the Missouri Baptist Convention’s discipleship department director for 21 years.
“Over the last year, for example, some of the things we’ve done include ‘Making Peace with Your Past,’ ‘Search for Significance,’ ‘Experiencing God,’ ‘A Time for Healing,’ ‘First Place,’ new member training, money management seminars and some Beth Moore women’s Bible studies.”
Eaves said one of the church’s most heavily attended courses is Experiencing God.
“Experiencing God is changing the attitudes of people wanting to serve the Lord,” he said. “If they stay in it through session five, they have a big change in attitude, and that’s where we get our workers. The people will come to us and say, ‘We think this is where God wants us to be.'”
Eaves said about 50 percent of Mountain View’s 250 to 300 active members have completed the discipleship course that assists Christians in knowing God’s will for their lives.
“Our goal is 100 percent,” he said.
Markham said he and his wife, Jo, came to Mountain View “with the idea of growing and ministering to the community. And that means anyone in the community — the LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormons), the local Air Force guys (Hill Air Force Base is located in Layton) or the rescue mission.
“About 50 percent of the people who attend our support group programs are non-Christians. We got them here through our divorce recovery support groups or the First Place weight-loss program,” Markham said. “The religion editor of the biggest newspaper around here spent most of the day last year interviewing people about First Place, and we got a full front-page spot one Saturday. We still get referrals from that, and a lot of LDS have started coming here.”
Markham said the church baptized several LDS people within the past year.
“One very active LDS woman who was doing First Place with us stopped by one Sunday afternoon and said she wasn’t getting enough Bible study,” he said. “I said, ‘Well, if you’re willing to spend 45 minutes a day in the Bible, we have an Experiencing God class starting in 15 minutes, and we’ll let you get in if you want to.'”
She began the class, and after the fifth session, she accepted Christ.
“That’s not unusual around here,” said the pastor, who has also baptized people of Catholic background.