22 Nov 2009 Conway K-Life: Going strong for 17 years
While only in his first year as area director, Wilkins has been working with K-Life in Conway for the past five years. He holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Central Arkansas but says he has always felt led to the ministry.
The Conway K-Life chapter has been around since 1992 and is one of the largest chapters with about 300 who would call themselves “K-Life kids,” according to Wilkins. He estimates, however, that they see about 500 on a monthly basis thanks to visitors.
At one time, the interdenominational ministry’s headquarters were located in Conway, but those headquarters are now in Branson, Mo. The ministry began in the 1970s in St. Louis, where a large chapter still exists. In addition to the Conway ministry, Arkansas has chapters in Fayetteville, Harrison, Ozark and Searcy.
When asked about the Conway chapter’s success, Wilkins noted that K-Life is in a unique position because they “get to come along and lead a ministry that’s solely focused on ‘discipling’ kids.” He went on to say, “We have a heart for wanting to equip kids with a strong foundation that’s rooted in Christ.”
Recently, K-Life held its 18th annual “tailgate” fundraiser that included dinner and a silent auction in a family-oriented atmosphere. In March, the organization will host its second annual 1980 5K, a 1980s-themed 5K race that takes place at dusk. And in May, K-Life will have its yearly golf tournament.
Aside from the golf tournament, Conway K-Life chooses to set its fundraisers apart from the pack with an emphasis on fun. For the 5K, participants are encouraged to wear 80s attire, and the tailgating event is casual and offers lots of games and excitement for attendees, as opposed to the typical formal banquet-style event. Though fundraisers bring in much-needed income for the ministry (even helping to pay off the fieldhouse), Wilkins said that equally important are monthly donations that assist with everything from paying utility bills for the building to purchasing materials for leader training.
K-Life meets weekly for what is referred to as “club,” a high-energy gathering that involves skits, games, worship through music, and a talk focused on the ministry’s theme for the year. This year the theme is “redefine.” Elaborating on the current theme, Wilkins explained, “We’re redefining how we live our life, how we view God, how we read scripture — all based on scripture itself.”
In addition to “club,” K-Life has several small groups that also meet weekly. Divided by gender and age, small groups are conducted by volunteer leaders. Volunteers are typically college students, but some young professionals are getting involved as well. Wilkins commented they need more male volunteers.
Conway.klife.com offers this quote from 1 Thessalonians 2:8 as a description of what K-Life is about:
“Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the Gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.”
I Thessalonians 2:8