DALLAS—Over the last few years, Bounce has become known for its disaster relief ministry, providing an avenue for students to help areas hit by devastating natural disasters. Recently, Texas Baptists’ ministry of junior high, high school and college-aged students expanded to provide support to budding churches as well.
This year, Bounce launched its first church planting week in Dallas. Director David Scott explained the importance of adding church planting to the agenda.
Church plants ‘in need of a bounce’
“Church plants a lot of time are in need of a bounce, challenging them to do something they maybe couldn’t do otherwise at this point,” Scott said.
A large group can help church plants with small membership by providing the manpower to accomplish events and outreach they would not be able to do alone, he explained.
During the first Bounce church planting week, students went to Dallas and helped West End Church, Kingdom Church and Healing Hands Community Church. Some of the students also provided outreach assistance to First Baptist Church of Duncanville, the host church during their week of service.
At Jack Lowe Elementary School, students from First Baptist in El Paso played games and made crafts with children as a part of West End Church’s ministry.
Although most church plants do not have their own buildings, they still find spaces, such as an elementary school, to host events centered around helping their communities.
‘Here to be the light of Jesus’
Jeremy Kroeker, youth pastor at First Baptist in El Paso, was extremely excited to involve his students in Bounce’s inaugural church planting week. His group had participated in disaster recovery last year, but he wanted to expose his students to different forms of ministry. First Baptist in El Paso brought 52 students and leaders who worked at four sites.
“Our group coming in and playing with the kids or doing crafts or playing games is just another way of showing the school and the staff, and even the parents and the kids themselves, that we’re here to serve, we’re here to have fun, we’re here to be the light of Jesus and be a blessing,” Kroeker explained between rounds of dodgeball.
Students played soccer and dodgeball, while other kids clustered around leaders with buckets of beads, making necklaces and bracelets. Bounce students also read with children and helped them sound out words.
Engaging the kids at Jack Lowe Elementary School is not a new ministry for West End Church, but having the Bounce students there enabled them to give more personal attention to each student.
‘Reach the community and meet them where they are’
Throughout the week, Bounce groups around Dallas held Vacation Bible Schools, hosted community block parties, fed homeless people and planned outreach events. Pastor Chris Walker of Kingdom Church expressed his appreciation for the students.
“This week has been phenomenal,” Walker said. “The Bounce students were able to connect with the community by going to neighborhoods and the recreation center, library, water park, the zoo and the mall. They were intentional to reach the community and meet them where they are. …We are grateful and honored to be a part of this great experience.”
Next year, Scott plans to have more church planting opportunities available through Bounce. Two church plants already have signed up to be helped, and Scott anticipates many more to follow. He encouraged churches looking for a fresh way to get their students involved to consider bounce as a readily available option.
“I think that every church ought to have a missional component for their students,” Scott said. “If you’re looking for an opportunity to mobilize students, whether it’s through disaster recovery or church planting, we have an opportunity that is a pre-packaged experience that can make it super easy for a church youth minister or volunteer or pastor … to get their students into a hands-on mission experience.”