Basehor youth group stepping up community service efforts
Youth from the First Baptist Church of Basehor have not been taking it easy as the holidays approach.
Howie Lucas, youth and adult minister, has kept them busy with a number of activities, part of a goal to increase the church’s outreach to the community.
“More than anything, (it’s) to get the kids to realize that being a Christian needs to be outside of the walls of the church, that we need to outreach to others,” Lucas said. “Because being inside the walls of the church is not getting them to show their faith and step out.”
Lucas was hired as the church’s first full-time youth and adult minister earlier this year, after about three years of leading the youth group as a volunteer. He since has stepped up efforts to get the youth out serving in the community.
On Friday, they went caroling at the Pebblebrooke Villas retirement community. Prior to that, they visited some of the homebound, senior church members to spend time with them by making cookies and Christmas cards. They then took those cookies and cards and distributed them to the 120 senior residents of Delaware Highlands Assisted Living facility just to the southeast in Kansas City, Kan., as well as singing carols and visiting with them.
A program also has been put in place for the youth to help shovel the driveways of some of the church’s elderly members. Even the day after Christmas, the youth group has plans to help an older church member pack in preparation for a move to Texas.
Lucas said participation within the group of 30 or so youths has grown as service activities have increased.
“Some of the kids that weren’t coming as much are coming more often now,” he said. “And in all the things we do, we try to do something that lets the kids have fun while they’re doing it… we’re trying to do things so that when they’re out of school, we open the church up and give them something to do.”
Lucas said he has noticed positive reactions from the youth after they spend time with seniors or otherwise helping the community.
“A lot of the kids, some of the things they’re going through in their own life, they’re able to take the focus off of that because their focus is on helping others,” he said.
Lucas said in the New Year, the youth group has plans to continue aid to the City Union Mission in Kansas City, Mo. Over the last year and a half, they have packed lunches and handed them out at the mission a few times. But on Jan. 23, they will help prepare and serve lunch at the men’s shelter.
The church also will offer a New Year’s Eve lock-in this year to offer the youth an safe alternative to attending parties.