One of our paid youth leaders is leaving us to take employment in another town. That has forced us to consider how Cally's leaving will impact our youth ministry and what new steps need to be taken to keep things going great. We've talked about a number of different approaches, but I have to admit, we never thought about offer assault weapons as an incentive to get kids to come. I guess we're just not with it. After all, it apparently is working for Windsor Hills Baptist Church.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKla. - After one of its organizers suffered an injury, a church was forced to cancel a gun giveaway at a weekend youth event.
The Windsor Hills Baptist Church planned the giveaway as a way to draw new participants to the church's annual youth conference.
The gun in question: an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle.
Windsor Hills canceled the giveaway Friday evening after announcing that Pastor Emeritus Jim Vineyard, who was running the event, had suffered a foot injury and would be unable to attend.
A video posted on the church's Web site contains a shooting competition from the 2007 conference, which also included a gun giveaway.
Church leaders defended the decision to hold the event.
"I don't want people thinking. 'My goodness, we're putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn't respect it who are then going to go out and kill,'" said Bob Ross, the youth pastor at Windsor Hills. "That's not at all what we're trying to do."
Past attendees also defended the conference, stating the focus is on helping teens find faith, and not on firearms.
"You make a lot of new friends down here. You get to meet new people," said Vikki Goncharenko, who attended the conference. "There's a bunch of things going on."
Ross said the gun, which had already been purchased for the event, will be given away at next year's conference.