Barbara Loera was already attending a church when Trevor Cooper, pastor of First Baptist Church Cypress, California, knocked on her door.
“I just live right around the corner from the church, and my husband likes small churches, so we decided to try it out,” Loera said. “It was such a loving and intimate church. We loved it right away.”
Finding that loving neighborhood church also made all the difference in the life of her 94-year-old father, Louie Perez. She convinced him to join her, and when he did, he accepted Jesus as his Savior and became active in the church.
‘Ready to serve’
He served as a volunteer at the sports camp the church held June 11 as part of Crossover, a series of evangelistic events leading up to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Anaheim. Loera volunteered, too. She registered children as they arrived and said she was “so excited” to see the response of the neighborhood.
Cooper said events like the sports camp show the community the church is there and ready to serve. He said when he first got to Cypress and started meeting people in the neighborhood like Loera, many said, “Oh, there’s a church here?”
“Our church was not on the map,” he said. “So we’re trying to make an identity for this church through the gospel and through our sports camp, just inviting the community to hear about the gospel and hear the Word, but also to know that we exist for the community.”
The sports camp was the third one the church has hosted, and Cooper said they’ve been “really impactful.”
During the camp, children from pre-K through sixth grade and students in grades 7–12 move around different stations and play soccer, basketball, gaga ball and street hockey. They also go to one station where Cooper shares a Bible study and the gospel.
“Every kid has a chance to hear the gospel at least once and a Bible study, but we also have incredible volunteers at every sport who are sharing their testimonies, who are praying with kids,” he said.
That way they not only hear a clear presentation of the gospel once but “also hear stories of the gospel and how Jesus has impacted others’ lives,” Cooper said. “So it’s a pretty incredible day, and we’re having a good time.”
Sports has been a powerful way to reach out to people in the community who might not otherwise come to the church, he said. “It’s a platform to jump off and share this gospel of Jesus Christ.”
For more stories from the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, visit thebaptistpaper.org/sbc2022.