Chemistry and the Cross

Ministry leaders at Cross Point Church in Beckley, West Virginia, understand that one of the best ways to reach out to families in the community is to involve children. After nearly two years of praying, planning and fundraising, the church’s children’s ministry team hosted what they expected to be only a one-time outreach event last September: The Amazing Chemistry Show. 

The brainchild of Josh Denhart, both a former high school chemistry teacher and a children’s pastor, The Amazing Chemistry Show set up 170 science experiments at stations throughout the church and put on a stage event featuring “explosions,” all of which kept children’s attention. Denhart—who created the show as part of his traveling Kidmin Science ministry—also preached to the crowd of 1,000 onlookers.   

“It’s just really cool that he shares the gospel of Jesus Christ through all of these chemistry demonstrations,” says Rhonda Duckworth, the children’s pastor at Cross Point, which has an average weekend attendance of almost 500 people. “It’s really neat, and it keeps the kids engaged.”

Cross Point sent invitations to every school in Raleigh County. The event proved so popular that Cross Point ended up holding two more of these science-based events. The church also used its established partnerships with local schools to hold science days at two campuses at which students seized the opportunity to build and fly rockets, construct a bridge, conduct experiments, perform a bounce test and other fun and educational activities. 

“We had nothing but praise about the event from the teachers,” Duckworth says.

The science days and the stage show connected the church to a number of local families, many of whom went on to participate in Cross Point’s fall festivities and Christmas events. Ultimately, that was the goal—to attract families with children to a community outreach event with a gospel-oriented message. 

“Every month, we’ve been able to invite them to something,” Duckworth says. “We’ve had lots of new families come just as a result of being invited.”

Nadra Kareem Nittle
Nadra Kareem

Nadra Kareem Nittle has written for Outreach magazine since 2009. She has written about faith and other issues for a number of publications and websites, including the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education,'s Race Relations website,, PRISM magazine and the Inland Valley Times. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles.