Working with inner-city children, students at Oklahoma Christian University are reaching out to the Capitol Hill Church of Christ children’s ministry to provide them with an “open door” to consistently hear about the Bible.
Members of the men’s basketball team, in addition to club members and those at the Memorial Road Church of Christ, play games and lead the children in prayer and songs each Thursday and Sunday.
“One of my favorite parts about being involved at Capitol Hill is seeing many of the kids grow up while I have been there,” senior Kaler Campbell said. “The Memorial Road youth group pushed to get some of the teens involved there during my 11th grade school year, and I decided to go and help out. Since then, I have been going practically every Sunday and Thursday, and I have worked as an intern for the past six summers.”
The congregation, which provides “opportunities for spiritual development through weekly worship services, Bible classes and personal Bible studies, for relational development through strong adult, youth and children’s programs and for physical needs with food and clothing,” is an inner-city church on the south side of Oklahoma City. Campbell’s primary role at Capitol Hill has been working with the nine and ten-year-olds, though the program serves children from infancy through high school.
“While my main job is to teach them, I try to mentor as best as I can and try to know each kid on a personal level,” Campbell said. “I first started helping out with the preschool class and some of those kids have stayed the whole time and are now about to be teenagers.”
Although the children’s church meets bi-weekly during the school year, Capitol Hill also offers a daily summer program from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., which provides the children with Bible classes in the morning and literacy lessons in the afternoons.
“I had always known about [Capitol Hill] growing up and it was always my dream to work somewhere like it,” senior Hope Judd said. “Two years ago, I saw a post for interns and decided to apply, and I have not left since. I think it is good that the children have positive role models in their lives. A lot of them have never thought about going to college, but with people like us in their lives, they are able to see it as more of a reality.”
The Oklahoma Christian men’s basketball team began helping with the ministry this fall, because, according to Assistant Coach Kendre Talley, it helped teach the team the need for service.
“They have a platform as basketball players, and Capitol Hill is a great environment and opportunity to use it,” Talley said. “It is a chance for our guys to go out and be role models to those children. There are kids who come from a little bit rougher area and may not have their parents in their lives or someone to look up to, so our guys are able to build relationships with them.”
On Sundays, the team leads an opening prayer and songs, followed by setting up nets so the players can play basketball with the children.
“It is so cute to see them all having so much fun,” Judd said. “It is good for the kids, because this way, they are not out getting into trouble, and I think it is good to have so many positive role models in their lives. I think they probably help us more than we even help them sometimes.”
Students who are interested in volunteering at Capitol Hill can email Judd or Kaili Tucker. Each event is Ethos approved, and according to Campbell, is a way to gain exposure to other cultures, which reflect in the church environment.
“I would definitely encourage OC students to get involved, because the inner-city demographic we serve does not typically show the strong and healthy support that these kids really need,” Campbell said. “By showing up and spending time with them, they will feel encouraged and want to come back. This opens the door for these kids to consistently hear about the Bible and learn to grow in a responsible, Godly way.”