Change The World Ministries celebrated their 12th year of ‘Mission Madisonville’ this week with a number of constructive activities and religious-based lessons for the community’s youth. The camp, which has grown substantially over the last decade, is led by young and promising religious leaders from across the country.
“When we first started, we would just knock on people’s doors and from there it was basically backyard Bibles, old school stuff,” said Zach Schroeder, a Madisonville native who started the project to give back to his community. “From there, we have seen kids from all across America apply to be a leader on this trip. All of them have to go through an admissions process and we bring the highest quality of leaders to Madisonville, but they come from all over. We have kids from probably eight different states.”
The majority of the counselors come from Tennessee, but California, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico were also represented. They make their own way to Madisonville after acceptance to the program and spent their nights at Madisonville Christian Fellowship, a partner of CTW.
The counselors participated in a team-building exercise on Monday before canvassing the community to spread the word of the organization’s return and the week’s festivities. By Tuesday, a large number of children were in attendance to participate at the Madison County Extension Office. In recent years, the program has also been extended to older kids over the age of 12, who learn leadership skills at MCF. The workers also go out into the community to help in any way they can.
“When I was a kid growing up, white people and black people did not really interact in their own environments or communities,” said Schroeder. “There was a bit of a racial divide at the time. That has gradually gone away but there is always tension in America and we want to break those kind of barriers everyday. That is why we come back and we wanted to ultimately give these kids a chance to hopefully continue making Madisonville a better place to live.”
For the second time, missionary Billy Johnson attended Madisonville for the camp. As a youth pastor, Johnson was a missionary in Ireland and, according to Schroeder, understands and has a heart for the next generation.
“These high school juniors to college graduates are the next generation of church leaders ,” said Johnson. “While they are here, they are reaching the generation after them. That is something I really love. We want to empower those who come on our trip to serve with leadership skills and a strong foundation so they can be impactful when they go back home.”
For more information on CTW, visit www.ctwmissions.com.