GLASGOW—What started six years ago with 40-50 kids has grown to an at-home missions opportunity for 340 kids, grades 6-12, from 37 churches serving 75 ministry sites in three counties from June 3-6. LoveLoud 2018 is sponsored by the Liberty Association of Baptists in South Central Kentucky.
Students participated in projects in their own communities, including a "no donations accepted" carwash, a backyard Bible club, a sports camp-type activity, construction projects, cleaning up the campus of a YMCA, and hanging out with senior citizens.
"I think one of the inherent values of a summer missions camp in your own town is it gives adults and students alike the opportunity to see their community through a missional lens in a way that they just don't as they go through their normal routine," Jordan Woodie, LoveLoud coordinator and associate pastor at Coral Hill Baptist Church in Glasgow, said. "LoveLoud gives people that live in this community a way to engage people and neighborhoods they may have not had the opportunity to meet in their normal routine."
Liberty Association's LoveLoud was patterned after what an association in Alabama was doing six years ago, combined with what was then a North American Mission Board initiative. Now the event extends "beyond the bounds of the Liberty Association of Baptists. It's really grown into a cooperative effort that's extended beyond Baptist boundaries," he shared.
The community has responded, in turn, by encouraging words as well as applying for the kids to come do projects through the association. "Just this week, we've gotten three text messages from people who have nothing to do with LoveLoud that have had some type of encounter with the team in the community talking about how impressed and thankful they are that there are students here that want to spend their time serving others," Woodie said.
Each night, all participants gather for dinner and a worship service that's open to the public.
Rebecca Maxwell, a recent high school graduate from Calvary Church in Glasgow has been helping with LoveLoud since she was in eighth grade. Although she's had some great moments while out physically working, her favorite experience of the week is worship. She loves "just being able to come alongside friends and be there for them and pray together."
"In worship service on Sundays at church, it's difficult to step out as a teenager, because there're so many adults there. Here it's all teenagers and you can openly praise God in a way that you want to—If you want to lift your hands, if you want to go to the altar," she said. "I know we can do that on Sundays at church, but it's so much easier to just come together as friends and be there and encourage each other. I think that's the most amazing part."
Ethan Driver, also a recent high school graduate, participant for five years, and member of Calvary Church, realizes that although he thinks he's being a blessing to others through LoveLoud, he's really the one receiving the blessing. "It's really a blessing to us, seeing what you're doing carry on throughout the real world.
He added, "You're really full and you want to keep giving and doing. That's the whole idea that makes you want to go back and keep carrying love loudly throughout the whole year." (WR)