God's Child collections underway

Teresa Wood, Loudon County Baptist Association ministry assistant, and Phil Holmes, LCBA director, straighten presents already donated for the God’s Child program.

Visitors to the offices of Loudon County Baptist Association will find tags with the names of children needing help for the holidays.

The tags are part of the God’s Child program, which for four years has been an effort to provide children with an outfit, new pair of shoes and at least one toy from a wish list.

“These kids are not very picky, a lot of them are simple,” Teresa Wood, LCBA ministry assistant, said. “We do have a few that are wanting bicycles, but most of them are just looking for little toys and things like that, like dinosaurs and baby dolls.”

Children in the Head Start program, along with their siblings, are chosen each year for some holiday cheer. This year 108 children will receive gifts.

Collections started Oct. 18 and will go through Dec. 9. Gifts must be wrapped and labeled.

Although gifts are special, Wood hopes the ministry provides more for families. Gifts are distributed at a Christmas party where families are provided a meal and offered a gospel presentation. This year’s party is Dec. 11 at Central Baptist Church in Loudon.

“I think the most important thing to provide the families is the word of God and to show them that it’s much more than just the gift, that it’s about Jesus,” Wood said. “Of course for kids, we want to bless them with things that these kids probably won’t be able to get a lot of because of their living situations, so it gives us an opportunity — and our churches and people in the community — to show the love of Christ to these families and to these children. But most importantly for us to share the gospel with them and to tell them the true meaning of Christmas.”

Only 24 angels remain, but LCBA Director Phil Holmes said help is still welcome after the tags are gone. Volunteers are needed for Christmas party food and gift distribution.

“At the party we need people to provide crock pots of soup, chips, cookies and then also we need lots of volunteers to help with gift distribution because you think with 108 kids and maybe several gifts each we have to sort through those gifts and we have them labeled by number, so it takes up a pretty big space,” Wood said.

“The distribution is often with not just for the children at Head Start but it’s their siblings, too, so we end up with quite a number of families that are in there,” Holmes added. “Just they line up at certain tables and we just need a lot of people to help give those gifts out to assist in getting that done.”

Holmes said he sees the ministry as an outreach.

“As we think about how do we reach out to people who don’t know Jesus as their savior, this is an opportunity for the churches to come together and say, ‘We care about your children. We also care about your salvation’,” Holmes said. “It’s wonderful to care about the here and now, but it’s most important to care about eternity. We don’t want people dying without Christ because their destination is not heaven if they do. Just sharing the gospel message with people is what really this is about and this gives us an opportunity to do that.”

For more information, contact Wood at 865-986-2292 or teresalcba @gmail.com.

“I think the name God’s Child puts it out there that these are not just children,” Woods said. “These children belong to God and these are God’s children. We should love for them and care for them just as Jesus would, and it gives us an opportunity to do that.”