Churches operate 54 percent of all the units in the Boy Scouts of America and more than 100,000 Scouting youth and adult members are being served through approximately 5,000 Baptist churches nationwide. Even though many of those churches offer other youth programs as an “inreach” to their churched youth, Scouting is an important part of their outreach for new youth.
The Scouting program can be a part of any Baptist congregation’s ministry to youth. For example, annually more than 3,000 youth in Baptist Scout groups earned one or more of the God and Country series or religious emblems as part of their spiritual growth program.
However, nearly 80,000 of the estimated 100,000 Baptist churches in the United States have no youth program beyond Sunday school. At the same time approximately 5,000 Baptist churches use Scouting as an outreach ministry to youth and families. Beyond that many thousands of today’s youth are unchurched, for many Scouting opens the door of faith.
Although Baptists have historically been strong on Christian citizenship, outreach, and community service, many pastors and lay leaders do not understand or recognize the Scouting program as a sleeping giant of outreach ministry. We hope the video above helps your congregation see the advantages of have a pack, troop, team and crew.
Many denominations use the Scouting program, but there are more Baptist churches in more places that are concerned about reaching youth that do not have a program for their youth mission. Scouting may help meet this need.
These five functions are in direct support of Scouting in Baptist churches.
Chaplaincy. Chaplains are provided for Cub Scout resident camps and Boy Scout summer camps, national and world jamborees, and national high adventure bases. In addition, materials are provided to local councils for selecting and training unit chaplains (adults) and chaplain aides (Boy Scouts).
Religious Emblems. The God and Country program series was developed and distributed by Programs of Religious Activities With Youth (P.R.A.Y.) and provides spiritual growth experiences for members of the BSA who are Protestant, as well as members of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. and Camp Fire Inc., and other youth.
- God and Me: For Tiger Cubs and Cub Scouts, grades one through three
- God and Family: For fourth- and fifth-grade Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts
- God and Church: For sixth- to eighth-grade Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts
- God and Life: For older Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and female and male Venturers
- God and Country mentor program (adult curriculum): A mentor is someone who serves as a living example for another person. The God and Country mentor program is designed to help adults look directly at what it means to serve as a Christian mentor and suggests how to have a positive, Christian influence on a child. The mentor curriculum is designed for an adult working with a young person who is enrolled in the God and Country program series.
(The mentor program is not to be confused with the God and Service Award [see below]). An adult who completes the mentor studies will receive a certificate and lapel pin for nonuniform wear.
- God and Service: A recognition presented to deserving adults who have given distinguished service to youth through Scouting in a local church or at the council, regional, or national level.
Venturing. In addition to Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops, many churches have established dynamic and comprehensive Venturing youth group programs. They view these programs as an excellent way to reach out to the youth in the community. Venturing can strengthen an existing youth group program by adding outdoor and recreational activities.
Religious Activities. Local council support materials are provided for a variety of religious activities, including annual Scout Sunday observances, retreats, Duty to God encampments, religious emblem recognition dinners, and Scouting show displays. An annual Scouting in the Church’s Ministry conference at Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico, attracts participants from across the nation who come together for a week to learn about the role of Scouting in local churches. Those faith groups with 15 or more participants in attendance have afternoon breakout sessions. If you are interested in attending Philmont, contact your local council service center.
Relationships. National liaison is maintained with more than 25 denominations that use the Scouting program as part of their ministry to children, youth, and families. This includes an Association of Baptists for Scouting.
For further information, write Boy Scouts of America, Relationships Division, S326, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079; or call your local council service center listed in the white pages.