Church to start after school program

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'... You don't have to tell people about Jesus when you show people who Jesus is."

By Zac Oakes


 A new after-school program is in the works that could benefit local students.

Pastor Montel Richardson of First Baptist Church in Campbellsville, located on Broadway, said the church hopes to offer the after-school program beginning next school year.

When Richardson first arrived in Campbellsville as pastor of the church around six months ago, upon meeting with people in the church, he realized that they wanted to find a way to become more involved with children in the community.

Staring out the window of his office one day, Richardson said the Holy Spirit instilled in him an idea. It was called “The HOPE Project.” HOPE serves as an acronym meaning “Help Out People Everyday.”

That later brought about the idea of starting an after-school program for area students. It seemed like a perfect idea, as Richardson mentioned that the church has a number of individuals who have made careers in education, coaching, and have ties to local schools.

Richardson said they want to “build a bridge” to connect with the local school systems as part of the program, and the buses can drop students off at the center who want to attend. Then, parents can take their children home or members of the church will take students home.  

Among the ideas Richardson mentioned for the program include cultural studies, a computer lab, art, and subject-specific tutoring involving Campbellsville University students. The program will be Monday-Thursday, and will be open to all local students, regardless of church membership.

“We want the young people to be strong academically,” Richardson said.

The program will also include a snack when students arrive, and a meal before they leave.

“They’re not going to leave here hungry,” he said.

Richardson, a native of Christian County, is relatively new to First Baptist and the city of Campbellsville, but said he loves the city and believes the program will have a great impact on the children of Campbellsville while also strengthening the church.

“I believe the church is only as good as the community it sits in,” Richardson said. “If we’re here representing Jesus Christ, we can’t overlook everyone around us… If we all come together and use our spiritual gifts together, I think this program will be phenomenal, and it’s going to be a blessing for the kids… and we aren’t going to push the Bible on anyone, but my motto is this, you don’t have to tell people about Jesus when you show people who Jesus is.” 

While Richardson said the church has been actively working toward funding the program itself, he thought the idea of a community fundraiser would be a great way to bring people out to the church for fellowship and to enjoy some home-cooked food.

They’re calling the event “A Taste of Imani,” which takes place Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Imani Center.

Several members of the church will be cooking their favorite dishes, and for $10, people can come and get a taste of a wide variety of foods. All the donations go toward funding the after-school project.

Those who are not able to get to the center can call the church office at (270) 465-7513 for delivery.

Sharon Hoskins-Sanders will be the executive director of the project, Vanessa Taylor will be the treasurer, and LaWanda Irvin will be an advisor for the program.