Backyard Bible Club is one of the most effective means of "outreach ministry" (whatever that is) that I think Riverview does. It has some of the most direct interaction with the community - much more than other "outreach ministries" that actually "reach out" by inviting people to church. Not so with ByBC. This ministry begins in the home and proclaims the gospel from where people live. There's a significant difference between this kind of ministry and inviting someone to an event or even to a church service.
Although the ministry is geared toward children, there's a significant amount of family outreach as well. Children Desiring God (our ByBC curriculum publisher) does a fantastic job of involving families in what their children are doing throughout the week. Not only that, but relationships between parents are formed, and families who hold a ByBC at their house are solidified as a believing household within the community. Who knows what kind of impact this could have in the future? Maybe someone from the community needs counseling or is going through something difficult, or has questions or doubts about the faith. Well, now they know of at least one family in the neighborhood who they could talk to or pray with. What a great opportunity.
My sister Rachel, who has faithfully held Bible clubs for the past five years, has said that what she likes most about holding a ByBC is that her children are essentially transformed into "mini-evangelists" (her words, not mine). Her kids openly ask their friends to come to their house and learn about Jesus. This communicates volumes to their friends. Essentially what it says to other kids and families is this: "Our family loves Jesus, and we want you to love him to. In fact, we'd like you to come over to our house and hear about Jesus." This is totally different than asking someone to come to church to hear a minister or speaker talk about Jesus. This is personal. This is the real deal.
The impact of ByBC is hard to measure, but one thing can be sure: the gospel is going out. I have been reminded of this as I've gone from club to club this week leading songs and taking pictures and videos of the clubs. While leading songs at my sister's house, I realized that my voice bounced off some of the surrounding houses quite well, especially since I was speaking loudly so as to be heard by all the kids. I bet my words echoed all the way down the block! Not to mention the kids singing the words from 1 Peter 3.18 and John 1.12 at the top of their lungs. You can't miss these messages. I smirked when I realized that the next door neighbor was rinsing out his garbage cans, listening to us talk about Jesus and the gospel. Hopefully he was eavesdropping.