The Great OutDoors Club
The Heavens Declare the Glory of God and the Firmament Shows His Handiwork
The Great OutDoors Club was birthed several years ago from a vision that God gave me for an outdoor ministry program that would teach the participants about God and lead them into a relationship with Jesus Christ through outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking and camping.
In the past, most outdoor oriented events and programs have focused on boys, but when God gave me the plan and structure for this ministry program, it was clear that it should be open to both boys and girls.
One of the interesting factors in The Great OutDoors Club is that the enrollment includes as many or more girls than boys. When field trips are scheduled, generally more girls and their families have attended as well.
Which leads to another interesting result. Once their children are involved, if you will provide opportunities for the parents to easily participate in the outings and activities, they will. Through the children, you are able to gain an audience with the parents to build further relationships that lead to spiritual conversations.
The Great OutDoors Club can be used as a mid-week service program at your church or as an after school program, either at your facility, at the school or a local community center.
The format for the weekly meetings is very simple:
2) Pledges - American Flag, Christian Flag, G.O.D. Pledge
3) Opening Prayer
4) Topic Introduction
5) Bible Devotional
6) Topic Related Activity and Badge Requirement
7) Closing Prayer and Announcements
The entire meeting can be completed in approximately one hour. One and a half hours is recommended so that you do not have to rush through the information.
Item #6 on the above list is where most of the relationship building happens. Earning badges and incentives is a great way to keep students focused on activities that will lead them to discovering new things about God and themselves. The tasks should be a challenge, but not so difficult that they can't be completed in a short time span.
In our Great OutDoors Club curriculum packet, the activities are laid out very clearly and systematically so that you can successfully lead the children and their parents.
One of the keys to the success of this portion of our Great OutDoors Club, is the fact that the children are allowed to experience success early on. Some of the tasks that they must complete includes simply drawing pictures or filling out a journal entry. The "small achievements" may be huge to children who have never received an award for being the smartest or the fastest. Parents appreciate watching their children succeed.
This is where most people feel that they need help in carrying out this type of ministry effectively. Don't worry, I am always available to answer questions or to conduct training sessions for those who wish to begin an effective outdoor oriented ministry program at their church and remember, God will equip you for what He has called you to do.
All of the outlines and lesson plans, certificates of reward, merit incentives, student manuals, leader's manuals and training are available through our ministry.
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A Few Testimonies
Here are a few testimonies and comments that we have received from parents of students involved in The Great OutDoors Club:
"Thank you for having this program. I don't know much about fishing or outdoor stuff, but my child likes that kind of thing. You've given us something new to do together."
"My children have asked me about the Bible, but I didn't know the answers. You've made it easy for us both to understand."
"Do you mind if I sit in on the class today?"
This has led to being able to pray with moms and dads about personal issues and family issues. We have seen several come to know the Lord and begin attending church.
Another Key To Success
In order to spend adequate time in building relationships, we have found that you should keep the adult/child ratio in the program at one adult for every 8 children, if possible. I have personally stretched it to one adult to 12 children, but sometimes even that ratio quickly brought us to weeks that felt like it was a struggle to get the message across and spend adequate time with each student.
Others who have done similar programs have found the same to be true. If you start your program with one adult and limit the membership to the first 8 students who sign up, you will find that because of the success of what you are doing, other adults will be interested in becoming involved, which will lead to being able to accommodate 16, 24, 32... children in the program.
Remember, the whole purpose of the Club is to build relationships that lead people to Jesus.
So, How Do You Get Started?
Remember to pray for God's guidance and leading in every step.
1) Obtain appropriate curriculum and programming materials.
2) Familiarize all workers with materials and teaching methods. (Be sure to do the appropriate screening process for your volunteers and workers. Background checks, etc. - I can point you in the right direction)
3) Identify a suitable location - church, school, community center, etc.
4) Circulate flyers in your target area.
5) Sign up potential members and conduct a program orientation meeting with parents. (Remember to limit the number of actual members to keep the adult to child ratio at an effective level. Having a waiting list also keeps the existing members motivated to complete their badges.)
6) Begin weekly meetings and see God work in your community!!
For Information On Great Outdoors Club curriculum, training or becoming an Affiliate Chapter, please click here.
For More Ministry Resources - Click Here
New Outdoor Ministry In The Works
We are also in the process of beginning a new outdoor ministry called The Great OutDoors Club Ranch.
For Information, Please Click Here
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