Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware churches are going out into the world to love their communities freely, desiring to build relationships and praying God opens the doors to share the Good News.
“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 22b-23 NIV).
Cobb Island Baptist Church is ready to kick off with their fifth annual Upward Flag Football and Cheerleading season. The church has had an amazing response in attendance on the field and in the church through their Upward Sports programs.
Forty-four players are already registered for the fall season. In the spring, when the church has Upward Soccer, they had 90 children.
Cobb Island Church Pastor Joe Blanton said the church has been working to develop relationships with families, many of whom are Roman Catholics.
“We have to overcome a lot of false information about the Bible and God,” he said, but through the friendships they’ve made, they’ve been very successful.
“I believe since we’ve started we’ve had 15 baptisms,” said Blanton.
Pat Blanton, Joe’s wife, has a devotional on the field each week. For many, that’s all they ever hear about Jesus, the pastor said.
“Church is on the field on Saturdays,” Pat agreed.
Local parents help coach, so that’s another way the church gets to interact with their neighbors. And on game day, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends show up to watch and cheer.
“It’s a way to get to know them without the so-called ‘religious thing,’ but we’re upfront with the presentation of Gospel,” Joe said.
Cobb Island is a close community, and kids can still walk around and ride their bicycles, Joe shared.
“If I’m in the churchyard working, or setting up the field, we have kids who’ll stop and say, ‘Hey Pastor Joe!'”
That’s because of their involvement with the community through the sports, Joe said. “It
wouldn’t have happened any other way.”
The first games start on Sept. 15. They’ll have an awards celebration on Oct. 9. All of the children receive trophies with their name and their teams’ names on them. Upward sends each participant a gift at the end of the season. Chick-fil-A also provides coupons, and the church gives each child a team photo for free.
North Glen Community Church recently began a “Bridge Builders” outreach ministry to the community that includes the local elementary school just across the street from the church.
Their first ministry was a luncheon for teachers at the end of last year’s term. Several church members also helped the school with their track and field program, and after-school running club. This year they collected hundreds of dollars worth of schools supplies working in partnership with a local Ravens Roost Club.
The school offered the church the opportunity to give away the supplies at a “Sneak-a-Peek” event orientation for new students. Church volunteers were able to get to know several families and invite them to a Harvest Festival later in September.
One young man introduced himself as Joshua. A NGCC volunteer said, “Like in the Bible?” The young man smiled and said, “Yes!”