“We never say ‘no’ to a child without a church home,” says Pastor Amanda Ross, “even though we keep telling ourselves we cannot handle any more children.” That is the spirit that has kept the Immanuel UMC in Canton, Missouri, and its Wednesday after-school program Cool Kids for Christ thriving over the years.
This year was the biggest yet with 36 children, so the dedicated volunteers decided to switch things up with a rotational approach that allows each lesson or activity to meet the needs of each age group. The church also applied for a Ministry Grant from the Missouri United Methodist Foundation.
“The grant enabled us to purchase a Smart Board,” states Ross. “Now, I have the pleasure of leading the lesson with the ease of the Smart Board, which allows me to quickly adjust to the different ages.”
Due to the program’s growth, there has been unexpected outreach into the community. Ross says she has “connected with Culver-Stockton College to receive additional technology support and, working alongside professors through class projects and internships, we have gained more volunteers. What a blessing!” She says previous residents whose children were in the program have returned to the community and are now volunteering to cook meals and provide financial support.
Ross credits volunteers like Bev, D’Ann, Kathy, Nancy, and many more who have the faith to change the lives of children. When reading the parable of the mustard seed Ross states, “I think of Immanuel United Methodist’s leaders of Cool Kids…. each week we continue to reach out into the community, build relationships, provide encounters with Christ, and grow intentionally in discipleship.”
Is your church nurturing a ‘mustard seed’ ministry? Perhaps a Foundation Ministry Grant would help it grow. The Ministry Grant Application Deadlines are April 1 and October 1. Learn more and download
the application at www.mumf.org or call 800-332-8238.