Published Jul 15, 2021
By Anthony Beaird
A sports camp sponsored by Church in the Valley in Ontario has led to new prospects for the Inland-Empire association congregation.
After sponsoring the camp June 21-25, Matt Sprankle, associate pastor, said more than 20 adults and children from the camp attended their church for the first time. Most were non-Christians or Christians not currently attending any church.
Sprankle said the church continues to see consistent attendance from five sports camp families. Church members are following up with other families by inviting them to future events.
The church had the goal of connecting with their community, honoring Christ and motivating families to attend Church in the Valley at North Celebration Park, the same park where the sports camp was conducted.
“We had 150 kids attend the camp and 60-70 parents spend the evening with us at the camp each night,” Sprankle said.
Each night from 6:30–8:30 kids would participate in one of four sports – baseball, soccer, football and track – with volunteer coaches leading kids through various skills. A snack and drink were provided while teachers taught biblical lessons which were practical and rooted in the example of Christ.
While the camp was being held parents were provided a “parent lounge” for refreshments and a place to meet their neighbors, church members and begin new friendships. According to Sprankle, the lounge allowed and motivated parents to stay for the entire time.
Prizes and raffle items were given during the camp. About 70 local businesses contributed several thousands of dollars’ worth of items.
California Southern Baptist Convention also provided an evangelism grant which allowed the church to sponsor the event. Sprankle said, “Without this grant we wouldn’t have been able to do as much as we did. Having the grant approved so quickly allowed us to reserve the field and move forward with the event. Thank you for your help and generosity”.
Funds were used for shirts, prizes, sports equipment, lighting and food for volunteers.
More than 90 volunteers from Church in the Valley, Orangecrest Community Church in Riverside and Ridgeview Church in Fontana supported the event.
“Because of the lockdown, this event was very timely and strategic since it was the first thing families have done in over a year,” Sprankle said.
Sprankle encourages other churches to host community events because they “build goodwill and name recognition for the church. Be faithful, serve your community and trust God to use your loving service to build His Kingdom. Do your best and leave the results to Him.”