Last summer when we visited with Arkansas native Brent Clark, he had recently been named lead pastor at Ashworth Road Baptist Church in West Des Moines after having spent five years as its associate pastor. He was quickly settling into his new role and talked about changes he envisioned for the church.
Among the goals he has accomplished since then, as we discovered when we revisited Clark in late August, is the implementation of additional youth programming and adding staff members to oversee it.
“It’s been a year of change and one of the things that the church wanted to do was to reach out to children and empower them,” says Clark. “We decided that instead of just seeing kids for one week during the summer we’d have vacation Bible school every week by offering new programming. We want them to be excited and engaged year-round.”
Earlier this year, the church named Ryan Lenerz as its team pastor of students and community life. Lenerz, who recently graduated from seminary school, shares ministerial responsibilities with Clark and leads the church’s junior and senior high school youth groups.
The church also welcomed Kerri Clark as its children’s director and leader of its Ashworth Road Kids (ARK) program. The pastor’s wife previously worked as an elementary school teacher and has spent most of her life serving in church ministry.
“I’m excited about the opportunity God has given me,” she says. “The curriculum is highly interactive. We have Kids Quest on Sunday mornings, Critterland on Wednesday nights, and we’re remodeling the basement of the church to be a kids room. We also will have a kids blog.”
Lenerz says he wants participating youth to do more than merely memorize biblical text. He wants them to understand the grand theme of the Bible and to apply their spiritual knowledge in daily life.
“Kids have the faith of their parents, but there comes a time when they transition and make it their own. We want to give them that foundation so that they understand what it means to them,” he says.
Ashworth Road Baptist Church
5300 Ashworth Road
Sunday worship services
Contemporary: 9:30 a.m.
Classic: 10:45 a.m.