Five reasons to consider scouting as a ministry
By Larry Coppock
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
After assuming this position nearly 20 years ago, volunteer leaders would periodically pepper me with stories about how their local churches were making disciples through scouting programs. Their excitement inspired me to list several reasons to consider why “scouting––the program” should be viewed as “scouting–– the ministry.”
Here are five of the ten reasons published in the 2016 edition of Scouting Guidelines.
The ministry of Christ revolved around the profound concept of reaching out to others. Modeling Christ’s example, scouting seeks to touch lives with the compassion of Christ. We have found that when we reach out to others, the blessings of God are returned to us.
Surveys indicate that 50 percent of the youth who join scouting through the church come from un-churched families. Scouting is one potential entry point for persons to join the church. Scouting provides a great way for local churches to serve their local communities and, in the process, offer new and exciting programs that churches may transform into ministries.
3.United Methodist Men
UM Men groups have traditionally been the “standard bearers” of scouting ministry. UM Men units have been a source of manpower and volunteer leadership as well as a link between the congregation and local youth agencies. They have assisted in fundraising events, work days, special events, and a variety of mentoring opportunities.
4.Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (PRAY)
PRAY offers age-appropriate studies that focus on discipleship, family, and service. Young people are drawn closer to Christ and invited to become better acquainted with their church and pastor. The PRAY series is a Bible-based resource that emphasizes service to others, brings recognition and increases self-esteem of the youth through work with adult counselors and mentors.
The scouting program can be an effective outreach ministry of the local church. Through intentional planning, the church can transform its scouting program into an important youth ministry. Scouting has the potential to be a far-reaching ministry for the entire community.
Be an advocate for scouting ministry in your local church!
Larry W. Coppock, national director, scouting ministries
General Commission on UM Men