FBC Plano giving hope to children through children

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PLANO – First Baptist Church aims to give hope to children and through children. With its current campaign, it’s doing both.

The children of the church started filling Texas-sized banks full of coins for the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger to feed hungry children in the state and around the world. The effort is part of the congregation’s involvement in Texas Hope 2010, a Baptist General Convention of Texas initiative to share the hope of Christ with every Texan by Easter 2010.

“I think it’s very important for children to be missions-minded and have a biblical worldview,” said Debbie Parker, the church’s preschool minister. “I think we as children’s ministers need to understand we talk about missions opportunities but there are missions opportunities right next to us that we need to take advantage of.”

Children have latched on to the effort. Some have emptied their piggy banks. Others are contributing from their allowances. One young man picked up a bank and filled it during a worship service, collecting coins from everyone sitting on the pew around him. A young girl crammed $52 in change into her bank.

Competitions are taking place in Sunday School classes over who can raise the most money. Parents have asked for banks and are raising money to feed hungry people. The church will continue filling banks until Easter 2010.

“[The banks are] ever present and visible as a reminder,” Parker said. “There are people all over the world and especially in Texas that are hungry. And we can do something about that.”

Parker said she picked up the idea of children collecting coins for the hunger offering during a BGCT Preschool and Children’s Ministry Summit. Diane Lane, BGCT preschool and children’s ministry specialist, applauded the congregation’s efforts, praising them for their desire to teach children they can reach out to others.

“At the Preschool and Children’s Ministers retreat in January, we emphasized Texas Hope 2010 by giving each of the ministers a Texas-shaped bank,” Lane said. “I could hear the ministers talking about what they would be able to do at their home churches with the banks. I am excited what FBC Plano is doing by involving the children. They have made a deliberate decision to involve children in missions. This is impacting the children, the church=, and those who benefit from this.”

People of all ages can learn about God’s love and share it with others, Parker said. Even if they’re only beginning to learn about it.

“One thing that children’s ministers try to do is be inclusive of all the children,” Parker said. “Especially when it comes to something like this – praying for others, collecting money for the hungry – that’s something all the children need to see.”

For more information about Texas Hope 2010, visit www.texashope2010.com. For more information about the Texas Baptist World Hunger Offering, visit www.bgct.org/worldhunger. To give to either effort, visit www.bgct.org/give.

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