Andrew Baker encourages Kentucky churches to use scouting to reach unchurched young people
Photo: Andrew Baker, the first scouting ministry specialist in Kentucky, celebrates Pinewood Derby victories with Christian Best, a member of his Tiger Cub den.
FRANKFORT, Ky. –– Andrew Baker dropped out of scouting before he developed relationships with older Scouts and adult leaders.
However, as the first scouting ministry specialist in the Kentucky Annual Conference, he wants to encourage churches to charter Scout troops as part of their outreach ministries, and he wants young people to stay with scouting longer than he did.
“I love working with kids,” said Baker who serves as director of youth and young adults at Frankfort First United Methodist Church. “I enjoy the fact that I can reach ‘churched’ kids through my job at the church, but am happy that I can still reach mostly ‘unchurched’ kids through Scouts and music.”
Passion for music and youth ministry
“I have a passion for music,” says Baker who plays several instruments and has been a member of several worship bands over the last 15 years. He also serves as a volunteer by booking side stage bands for Ichthus Music Festival, and he also books music for a community festival in his hometown.
His other passion is youth ministry. “I've worked with kids since the end of my freshman year in college when I became a counselor at a summer YMCA Camp,” says Baker. He started working with United Methodist youth groups following his graduation from Eastern Kentucky University.
Baker became involved in scouting when his 1st grader brought home a Cub Scout information packet. That boy has now crossed over to a Boy Scout troop, and his younger brother is now a Tiger Cub. Baker serves as the den leader for the 10-member den, and he also serves on the committee of a Boy Scout troop chartered by First Church where he is on staff.
“I recently had a youth director friend of mine tell me that a big part of a youth minister's job is to love kids and to let them know that they are loved. I don't think that is any different with Scouts,” says Baker. “We're helping kids achieve goals that they set for themselves, but unless those kids know that someone within the scouting organization genuinely love them, we’re never going to get the kids to stick around long enough to reach their goals. This is done through relationships that we foster with the Scouts over a long period of time.”
Kentucky Conference is a pilot conference currently testing the effectiveness of scouting ministry specialists. Persons who love scouting are trained to assist neighboring churches that want to expand their ministries to young people through scouting and other youth-serving agencies.
If you are interested in becoming a scouting ministry specialist, contact LaNisha Sayles (LSayles@gcumm.org or 615-620-7260).