- February 5, 2014
- By Daniel Wallace / Special to the Baptist Standard
NEW BRAUNFELS—Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels provides facilities at no cost to one of the city’s largest faith-based nonprofit organizations—a Christ-centered agency helps meet people’s academic, physical and spiritual needs.
New Braunfels Christian Ministries nearly nine years ago. Today, it operates as a separate nonprofit organization, but the church continues to support the ministry financially and provide space for its ministries.Oakwood launched
Brett Mosher serves both as pastor of community ministries at Oakwood and as executive director of New Braunfels Christian Ministries.
Three ministries operate under the New Braunfels Christian Ministries umbrella, each with its own staff and volunteer base:
• New Braunfels Kids Club provides after-school tutoring and mentoring to at-risk students in eight elementary schools in New Braunfels Independent School District. It assists 135 to 160 students each year.
Kids Club meets in an Oakwood-owned facility that includes a gym, cafeteria, classrooms and chapel. New Braunfels Christian Ministries provides transportation for the children from their schools to the Kids Club location.
Staff and volunteers seek to provide a loving, supporting environment that helps students academically, physically and spiritually, Mosher said. They tutor students and often help students pass who otherwise would have failed their grade level. Some even have qualified for the A-B honor roll, Mosher noted.
Staff and volunteers provide students a healthy snack when they first arrive at Kids Club and a full meal at the conclusion of each session. The ministry tries to promote healthy foods and often serves vegetables from its own garden.
“For some of those kids, that is the best meal they will have all week,” Mosher said. “We work hard to make our meals healthy.”
Many students in the program make faith commitments to Christ, Mosher added. In 2013, 50 students made such decisions. Students are required to attend a chapel service each day to aid their spiritual growth.
• New Braunfels Christian Ministries offers health care to the medically uninsured through its Volunteers in Medicine program. It provides a free medical and dental clinic to people who do not qualify for government assistance programs, like Medicaid or CHIP, or cannot afford private insurance of their own.
“What we do is help those who are hard-working people or have some kind of income” but who lack adequate insurance or sufficient income to cover healthcare costs, he said.
The organization provides the space for medical professionals to treat patients in primary medical care and dental care. In 2013, patients made more than 4,000 appointments through the ministry, including nearly 200 dental appointments.
In addition to their normal responsibilities at their own clinics, medical professionals from the community provide free care to patients at the ministry’s clinic. Some professionals offer their services once a week, some once a month and some once a quarter, Mosher said. Specialists, including chiropractors, gynecologists and optometrists, offer care to patients through the program.
Staff and volunteers in the program offer to pray with patients before they receive care. They provide healing and hope to people in need while sharing with them the love of Jesus Christ, Mosher said. Over time, patients come to the staff at Volunteers in Medicine to talk, pray and receive comfort, he added.
“Because we are their medical home, there is a relationship that is established over time,” he said. “I think that relationship is key to how we are able to help them. Over time, they learn to trust us and confide in us.”
• The Harvest Food Pantry is the newest of the three ministries at New Braunfels Christian Ministries. For nearly four years, the food pantry has supplied healthy groceries for families with school-aged children.
To receive food from the pantry, families must be recommended by a staff member of Kids Club or Communities in Schools, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to empowering students to stay in school and achieve in life.
The Texas Baptist Hunger Offering helps provide food to these families.
Staff and volunteers distribute groceries once per week, enough for families to prepare several healthy meals, Mosher said.
“We really focus on providing healthy groceries rather than leftover foods,” he said. “We really work hard to make sure what we are giving to the families can easily be made into a meal.”