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Blackville Church Reaching the Community through Soccer

Blackville Church Reaching the Community through Soccer

Blackville Church Reaching the Community through Soccer

Members from Blackville First Baptist realized there were no soccer teams in their small town.

They saw it not just as a void in recreational activities but as a missed opportunity for community engagement. Blackville, SC, a rural town with about 2,000 residents, sits around 40 minutes outside of Aiken.

Bringing a Soccer Camp to the Community

“We recognized a segment of our population that we’re not impacting,” Ken Frederick, Pastor of Blackville First Baptist, said. Seeing the potential of soccer to unite families and bridge cultural divides, Frederick reached out to the Columbia International University (CIU) Men’s Soccer team about coming to lead a soccer camp for children. Their partnership created excitement and credibility as the university’s diverse soccer team came to Blackville for a weekend camp. 

“We got to advertise that we had the national champion soccer team in town,” Frederick said. Student-athletes from 14 different countries not only taught soccer skills but also shared their faith with the attendees.

Columbia International University’s Men’s Soccer team led a soccer camp at Blackville First Baptist.

Planting Seeds

Beyond providing an outlet for children, Frederick wanted to try to engage families with the soccer camp. At the conclusion of the weekend, the church hosted a cookout for the attendees and their families. 

For Frederick, this was just the beginning of their mission to reach the unreached and serve the underserved. “My desire has been to see us as a church help our community. Soccer was an opening for us to do that,” Frederick said.

Yet, the road was not without its bumps. Even with a core group of volunteers, navigating logistical hurdles and juggling multiple ministry opportunities with a small staff posed challenges. “We’re just trying to figure out how we can be a resource and be there, ultimately not for sports or other things, but for Christ,” Frederick said.

The church hosted a Resurrection Celebration on the church lawn.

Engaging in Outreach

In addition to the soccer camp, the church also engages its community by partnering with the local elementary school. “Every Tuesday I speak to the students and every week several of them want to know when soccer is starting back,” Frederick said. “This open door to our school has been a real blessing.”

Robbie McAlister, People Group Strategist at SCBaptist, spoke during the camp. “I applaud pastor Ken Frederick and the First Baptist Blackville leadership for such an innovative approach to reaching one of our rural communities through our SCBaptist churches,” McAlister said. “Such engagement strategies are life-changing for many of our smaller communities that often feel forgotten.” 

“We try to impact the community, but we don’t always see a result of what we’re doing on this side of eternity,” Frederick said. Despite the uncertainty of immediate outcomes, the church remains steadfast in its commitment to serve, making Christ’s love known to the residents of Blackville and beyond.

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