London—First Baptist Church of London has built a missions pipeline to Alaska and the spigot twists open on Saturday.
“It’s one of the largest mission efforts of the church,” said First Baptist Youth Pastor Ryan Coffey. “We’re taking everyone from 6 to 60.”
About 50 church members flew out this month to volunteer at a youth sports camp run by Alaska Missions. The camp focuses on building relationships and sharing the gospel with young athletes while offering quality sports instruction.
First Baptist will provide instructional assistance in basketball, soccer and archery. Coffey said evenings will be spent doing service projects, such as painting and cleaning, for a nearby Christian school.
“Our main objective is to go and love on the kids,” Coffey said.
Church members have met regularly since February to pray and work on personal testimonies in preparation for the mission trip.
Kentucky Baptist Convention Affinity Evangelism Strategist Andy McDonald described Alaska as having a great spiritual need—a place where some people go to hide from God.
“There are a lot of great Alaska Baptists up there slugging away to reach people with the gospel, but they need help,” McDonald said. “Our goal is to create a pipeline of Kentucky Baptists to go and serve.”
This summer, Kentucky Baptists from half a dozen churches are participating in mission trips to Alaska.
Howard Fuller, retired education minister at Lone Oak First Baptist Church, leads a group next week to Laverne Griffin Camp in Wasilla, Alaska, and like the team from London, plans to use sports as a means to talk about Christ.
“It’s about presenting the gospel where people live and where their love is,” said Fuller.
His group plans to teach archery at the camp then, end the week with a tournament and gospel presentation in the presence of family and friends.
Before returning to Kentucky, the team will offer training for Alaska churches about using the Centershot archery program as an outreach tool in family ministry.
“We’ve found that Centershot is very effective reaching young families, which a lot of churches are having difficulty doing,” Fuller said.
The team raised about $5,000 to purchase a Centershot kit with bows, arrows and targets so Alaska churches would be able to launch their own archery ministry.
Both Fuller and Coffey said the missions trips would not be their last to the land of the midnight sun.
First Baptist, London, already has opportunities to minister to families during the late summer salmon run and volunteer at the Iditarod next spring.
“I’m prayerfully optimistic,” Coffey said. “I see Alaska as not only a long-term partnership for our church, but also for other Kentucky Baptist churches.”
“Kentucky Baptist churches working together with the Kentucky Baptist Convention could create an amazing network and really make an eternal difference in the lives of people in Alaska,” he said.
To learn more about Alaska missions opportunities, or about using Centershot as an affinity evangelism tool, contact Kentucky Baptist Convention Affinity Evangelism Strategist Andy McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org. (KBC)