Tennessee church’s kids ‘buy the farm’ for missions

Published 7:08 am Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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GORDONSVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – New Middleton Baptist Church began a Kids on Mission program in 2017 in an effort to involve people of all ages in the church in missions.

Glenda Baker, who leads the program, said the church turned to former pastor Kim North and his wife Kathy, who were serving as missionaries in the Philippines, to kick it off.

“Talking directly with real missionaries really kick-started our program,” Baker said.

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For the past three years, the church has collected supplies for New Salem Baptist Association’s mission trip to Guatemala. When members discovered the need for missionaries to have clean water, they collected change to buy water filters for Woman’s Missionary Union’s Pure Water, Pure Love project.

From an article in WMU’s Mission Mosaic magazine, the children learned how to make jump ropes from T-shirts, Baker said. They sent jump ropes on mission trips to North Carolina, Jamaica, Haiti, and Guatemala.

“This year our project was through the Send Relief network of the North American Mission Board,” Baker said, noting that New Salem’s director of missions, Marty Dodge, shared the Send Relief catalog with her class.

“The catalog offered different animals to purchase to help fund practical solutions to poverty while sharing the hope of Jesus,” she said. “A cow could help a farmer with his crops or chickens could provide food and income for a family in poverty.

“Since we couldn’t decide what animals to buy, we decided to ‘Buy the Farm’ which includes one of every kind of animal for $588. We asked our school cafeteria manager to save 50 milk cartons for us and our class painted the milk cartons red and black to look like coin barns.”

Baker said the children presented the idea to the church in mid-February. The children shared posters of animals and provided all the information about collecting money to “Buy the Farm.”

She said the children agreed that $588 was a lot of money and doubted they would get that much.

“One week later we started counting and rolling change, and the total was almost $400,” Baker said. “The children were excited about the thought of reaching our goal so quickly, and we reminded them that we still had more to count.”

By the next week, the church had collected more than $1,000.

“When it was over, we were able to buy two farms and 10 water filters with our money,” Baker said. … All Christians are called to make disciples but in our class, we stress that to leave your friends and family and go somewhere to share the Gospel with people who don’t have anyone else to tell them about Jesus, is why we pray and support missionaries.”

New Middleton pastor B.J. Thomason said the church is “blessed” to have someone like Baker.

“She has a tremendous heart for missions and sharing that passion with our children,” he said. “We believe in being a Great Commission church and involving all ages.

“The importance of teaching children to be on mission with Christ can never be stressed enough. It helps them come to know Christ personally and then the joy of seeing others come to know Him.

“Missions brings a sense of purpose and worth to children and helps them understand that it’s something all followers of Christ should be doing.”