Friday, April 13, 2012

Scouting as a Church Outreach Program

Many churches look at scouting as an "outside group" that comes in to borrow the church's facilities.

Personally, I think this is a mistake. I think of supporting scout units as away to welcome members of the community into the doors of the church, and show them that they feel welcome there.

A few years ago I spoke at our church's Scout Sunday service. My opening was:
If our church had 100 kids suddenly show up for Sunday School, everybody in the church would be amazed. If we had 100 kids show up for Vacation Bible School, that would be an great crowd for us. What an opportunity for ministry that would be.
Did you realize that every week, we have over 100 youth show up for either Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts? That’s over 100 scouts, plus their families who are impacted by our church’s scouting ministries, each week.
Many mainline congregations in the US are facing dwindling numbers, and a rapidly aging congregation. The families that a Scouting program can bring into your church as visitors are generally going to be young families with kids. That age range is often very difficult for a church to reach out to, because they are so busy.

Sure, you could have someone blanket the neighborhood with door-hangers to invite someone to church, but wouldn't a friendly greeting as they are bringing their kids into a scout meeting be much more effective? If you were new to an area, or seeking a Church family to join, how would you rather be approached?

Encourage people at your church to look at the scouting families as potential new members, not as people who meet there on Thursday evenings.

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