Some churches think of Scout troops and Cub packs as annoying groups that simply use the church as a meeting space. On the contrary, the presence of hundreds of unchurched youth meeting in our churches offers an opportunity for congregations to minister to the needs of youth.
Pastors should help congregations view scouting as a way to serve their communities and a method to introduce unchurched young people to Jesus Christ.
Over 17 percent of youth in scouting experience church for the first time through membership in a Cub Scout pack or a Boy Scout troop. Additionally, surveys conducted in United Methodist churches indicate that approximately 50 percent of youth that meet in these units come from unchurched families, underscoring the need for reaching out into the community, inviting youth into the life of the church, and eventually making new disciples.
In order for a church to take advantage of this well-kept evangelistic secret it must commit to two responsibilities:
- Providing a meeting place in the church building.
- Identifying, selecting, and approving adult leaders.
Church-sponsored units enjoy many benefits from the local Boy Scouts of America (BSA) council including youth-protection training for its leaders; liability insurance; low cost accident insurance; access to camps and high adventure facilities, including rustic chapels; and basic and ongoing training for all registered adult leaders.
All this in addition to the opportunity to reach out to unchurched families in our communities and disciple boys to become principled Christian men.
This article is featured in the Men’s Church/Women’s Church (Aug/Sept/Oct 2011) issue of Circuit Rider
Author: Larry W. Coppock is Director of Scouting Ministries for the General Commission on United Methodist Men.