I grew up in a small Southeast Texas city of 11,000 people. For most of my life, I attended services at Pine Forest Baptist Church, the church my great-grandmother helped found and where three generations of my family were married. I now reside in South Carolina, but when I return home, I make sure my trip includes a Sunday so that I can visit my family church and see childhood friends along with church members who’ve known me since I was born.
One of my favorite things about visiting is seeing the church youth grow older and take part in activities. It’s a neat experience to watch friends’ little ones as they are presented to the congregation for the first time, recite a memory verse from the pulpit, or take part in a children’s lesson. There’s always the one kiddo who can’t help but answer every question from the children’s minister at a volume approaching a yell, and another who could be the dictionary definition of the word “fidget.” It’s also fun to play the game of which parent the child resembles most: “Oh, she is the spitting image of her mama, but I believe she has her daddy’s eyes, and she may look a little like her aunt as she gets older.”
I was happily surprised when I found out through the church Facebook group that PFBC was teaming up with the Garth House, a local child advocacy organization, to offer Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® training to the community. While I was in town over Memorial Day weekend, the music minister told me that 40 people attended the training, which was held in late April during Child Abuse Prevention Month. One of my favorite church members, now retired with grandchildren, contacted me to tell me she had taken the training and found it to be a positing, empowering experience.
As I attended church last Sunday and watched my pastor’s grandchild deliver the week’s memory verse, it made me happy to know that there are 40 additional people in our community who are willing and prepared to actively protect children. The moral of this story is that no matter how big or small your community, it’s the perfect size to make children a priority. Contact your local child advocacy center to see what programs they offer. If you are interested in bringing Stewards of Children to your community, contact Stewards@D2L.org for more information. As for me, I am thankful that the proactive adults of Pine Forest Baptist Church and the Garth House are helping the children of my little city have a better chance to grow up healthy and whole.