“The largest Scout program of any church of any denomination in the nation.” That is how Chris Karabinos introduced his church’s Scouting program during an interview at the 2017 National Jamboree. Karabinos’ primary Scouting position is the Scout Coordinator at John’s Creek Methodist Church in northern Georgia. Like he mentioned, his church is home to the largest Scout program, with over 460 youth registered at that one church. This consists of 4 packs, 3 troops, and a crew. Talk about a robust program!
It is this church’s Scout program’s robust size that makes it so special. Karabinos explains that, originally, about 50-60 percent of Scouts aren’t involved in church because their parents don’t take them. When they are able to join the John’s Creek Scouting program because it is in their area, or for whatever other reason, they are introduced to God and church for the first time. Their first time walking into a church for a Scouting activity de-mystifies religion a little bit for them. Through each activity, they get a little more experience with religion, just a little bit at a time. “They begin to get little seeds of Christ, and before you know it they are taking a God and Country or Christian Education class,” Karabinos said.
At John’s Creek Methodist Church, they put on an annual program that families can come to participate in. Every year there are about 20-70 youth who have parents that don’t go to a church anywhere. This program pulls families together in a religious setting. So, through programs like this and other Scouting activities, whole families are pulled into the church.
For Karabinos, this story can be backed up by his own experiences. Originally, he and his family were Episcopalians. When they wanted to start a pack that was closer to their house, it just so happened that John’s Creek Methodist Church was the place to do it. They spent so much time Scouting there that they were asked to join in on member meetings. To the surprise of the church leaders, they found out the Karabinos family were not even members! Long story short, Chris and his family did move to the new church and become members of John’s Creek Methodist Church.
Karabinos and his wife took that pack they started, which had been the fourth unit there, and they developed the program into the eight units that are now there. That is where you can find the 460+ youth that are a part of the “largest Scout program of any church of any denomination in the nation.”
The Scouts of John’s Creek Methodist Church show that families can come together and even grow closer to God through Scouting.