A Little History
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." ~Matthew 19:14
Big A was founded in Detroit by the Southern Baptist Convention with a mission to disciple students in "A
right relationship with Jesus Christ". The mission, and the name, have never changed. Our relationship with "Big A" started about 15 years ago when we began
partnering with Reverend Bishop at the H.O.P.E. Baptist Center located
next to Cass Park. Under Rev. Bishop, Big A had a huge outreach to a nearby neighborhood called the Jeffries' Housing Project. Every day in the summer, we would walk through Cass Park, across Third Avenue and pick up students for our Vacation Bible School. Through this time, we got to know Rev. Bishop and a ton of neighborhood families. Rev. Bishop graciously took the time to teach us about ministry
in the city and great ways to mentor and disciple our students.
Eventually, the Jeffries' Housing project was torn down and replaced with a neighborhood called, Cornerstone. Our students were scattered, with a large portion of them dispersed between three new neighborhoods: The Diggs Homes, McDonald Square, and Brewster Homes. We were firmly convinced that God still wanted us to love on our kids, so we began picking up our students with whatever transportation we had available and bringing them to the H.O.P.E. Baptist Center. Unfortunately, we were faced with another challenge when the H.O.P.E. Baptist Center closed its doors. However, undaunted, we were firmly convinced that God still wanted us to invest in and love on our kids, so we began a partnership with People's Missionary Baptist Church (thanks to a connection from Rev. Bishop). Big A now meets at People's Missionary Baptist Church where they graciously allow 80-130 students into their gym to laugh, play, and best of all, hear the Gospel.
How Groups Are Involved
During the summer, our visiting teams pick up students from their homes and bring them to Big A. It is not a small task to pick up and drop off over 100 kids using whatever vehicles groups bring, but somehow God always works it out. Because pick up generally takes an hour, some of our volunteer team oversees what we lovingly call "chaos time"...a time when our kids play a variety of games in the gym (basketball, jump rope, 4 square and whatever other creative games groups bring) as they wait for everyone to arrive. Once everyone arrives at Big A, we have a large group time where we pray, review the rules and sing a few songs (led by our visiting teams). After songs, students are divided into groups based on age (preschool, 5-9. 10-14 and 15 and up) and are led by the volunteer groups through 3 stations (story, games, craft and snack). The stations are approximately 15 minutes each. After the station rotation is complete, we gather back together as a large group for a calm closing song and ending prayer. We then begin the task of taking students back home. Again, a group of our volunteers oversees "chaos time" and works to make sure we have the building clean and ready for the special needs ministry that will use it the next morning.