First Baptist Church of Tyler Mountain, W.Va., was a small, aging church looking for ways to reach local youth when it found Centershot Ministries, which equips churches to teach archery as a way to reach out.
The archery training sessions meet once a week, and while half the group shoots under careful supervision, the other half does devotionals. After an hour, the students enjoy a break with snacks, and the groups switch stations. At the end of each session, rewards are given based on rankings and a final competition.
“I really enjoy getting the lessons done and learning more about Jesus,” says 13-year-old Preston Cain, who says he became a Christian through Centershot and became active in the church.
In 2008, First Baptist had 25 to 30 attendees, all between the ages of 40 and 85. Two years after starting the Centershot ministry, the eight-week archery courses remained full, with 10 to 20 students attending.
“It brought us together as a family and invigorated the church,” says 71-year-old attendee Dave Thompson, who led efforts to bring the ministry to the church.