Loving God and Others

For the past seventeen years, some of the members of Creekside Christian Church in Elk Grove, California, have been leading a week-long baseball camp with two goals in mind: to provide kids with the highest level of instruction around and, more importantly, share the Gospel with members of the community who maybe would not typically visit a church or attend a ministry-related event.

This is Sandlot Ministries.

It all began at a weekly Bible study. “At one period, we decided it was great for us to get together and do Bible study,” said Darin Boyd, “but we should maybe get out there and do something.” At the time, Darin, who serves as an elder at Creekside, owned and operated a baseball training facility, and the rest of the guys in the Bible study similarly were experienced players and coaches. They decided to host a baseball camp for young kids and players, using that as a platform to present the Gospel to them.

“[We’re] doing something that we all love to do,” Darin said. “They love the game, they love being around the game, and they get to use that platform to share the love of Christ with the players.”

That first year, they hoped to get around thirty-five kids to come out. Ultimately, 125 showed up. . . .

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Being a part of the North American Baptist Conference family of churches means supporting one another as we do ministry together here in the present, but it also can mean extending the legacy of work established by our sister churches.

Christian Compassion Baptist Church of South Philadelphia (CCBC) was planted by Pastor Sam Slaffey in October of 1984. The mission of CCBC was to show the Gospel of Jesus Christ through meeting the needs of families in the community. The church provided daycare, free clothing, a food pantry, and biblical counseling. CCBC was a place of refuge for many. This great work continued until 2020. Then came the pandemic.

Like many churches, CCBC closed the doors of their physical building during the pandemic. Sadly, during that time, Pastor and First Lady Slaffey both became ill and went home to be with the Lord. The building was exposed to squatters, who came in and destroyed the church property. Over a three-year period, they caused extensive damage, filling the building with trash and stealing the copper pipes, which created massive water damage and mold. Unfortunately, the church was not insured.

In February 2023, just one month after Pastor Slaffey’s passing, Rahiam Bango was named pastor of CCBC. Since that time, Pastor Bango and the new Board of Directors have been able to secure the building. They cared for the squatters, taking them to nearby shelters to show them the love of Christ. Due to its condition, the church building remains closed, and the CCBC has only been able to hold worship services and Bible studies online. With no building to minister from, the church has only been able to provide limited resources to the community. This summer, CCBC provided back-to-school supplies in front of the church, but church leaders want to do more. CCBC has been sharing Christ and engaging with the community weekly, allowing them the opportunity to hear directly from families about their needs. Pastor Bango and the CCBC leadership wants to help meet community needs by opening the church up again to provide more resources and hold worship services again.

Pastor Bango has created a four-phase priority plan to reopen the church. Phase one, the “By Faith” Partners campaign, was able to raise the money needed to professionally clean out the church, but $170,000 is still needed. CCBC is faithfully believing that God will reopen the church.

Pastor Bango and CCBC seek to extend the legacy began in South Philadelphia by Pastor Slaffey. If you want to know more about how to help, check out their website at www.CCBCSouthPhilly.com or email them at CCBCSouthPhilly@gmail.com.

Every three years, the NAB gathers together as one, coming from churches across Canada and the US and from international fields around the globe, to celebrate what God is doing in and through us, to fellowship together with our large and diverse family, and to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24 NIV). With the next Triennial less than a year away, we wanted to share a sneak peek snapshot of the tentative schedule.

Thursday   Evening Session – Peace with God
Friday   Morning Session – “Family Style” Devotionals
    Evening Session – Peace in the Body
Saturday   Morning Session – “Family Style” Devotionals
    Evening Session – Peace to Our World
Sunday   Cameroon Celebration and Brunch

Triennial 2024 is shaping up to be a time you won’t want to miss out on. Registration is set to open no later than December 1, 2023. In the meantime, set aside July 11–14, 2024, in your calendar and check out the link below to find out more about Triennial.

Visit NABtriennial.com