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Curbside Ministries



Story by Emily Robertson

When you walk up to one of Curbside Ministries gatherings for the very first time, you can’t help but wonder what is going on. It’s loud— there’s always fun music playing and kids laughing and yelling. It is high-energy— there are children running and playing several games of basketball, soccer or jumping double dutch. Even to a first time volunteer, you can tell it’s full of love—volunteers and staff are setting up and preparing for lessons and dinner, and hugs and words of encouragement are aplenty. Week after week, since 2011, kids show up to Parker Bennett Community Center, Lee Pointe Apartments and a site in Glasgow, to be outdoors, enjoy good food and fun and hear about God’s love.  

“We first hit the streets with a handful of volunteers,” Curbside Founder Terri Sheldon says. “We had no idea what God had in store for us. My goal was to do nothing more than hand out free ice cream and get to know those that came to receive our gifting. The ultimate goal was to share Christ. However, I knew this would never work without getting to know our guests individually. Hence, we never shared Jesus corporately for approximately two years. The early years were full of nothing but fun and games and free ice cream.”

Curbside’s primary mission and goal is right in the group’s motto: “show love and share truth… bringing it straight to you!” Curbside aims to provide an outlet for local children to have a safe, fun weekly gathering where their spiritual, physical and emotional needs are met. Now that the organization has grown, their gatherings have grown as well. Now, when the Curbside van shows up to each site, children know they will have worship time, dinner, activities and ice cream, all at no cost to them. The Curbside volunteers provide a wide-range of activities to appeal to children with all kinds of interests from board games to athletic equipment, from fingernail polish to bubbles and sidewalk chalk. 

Now, the ministry has grown to host three different sites that attract approximately 300 children each week, with 60 to 80 volunteers and three staff members: Hannah Minton, who serves as Director and Administrator of Ministry, Ellie Bardin, the organization’s Community Impact Specialist and KellieMae Sutherland, who works as a Ministry Assistant. Volunteers are given freedom to decide exactly how they would like to be involved at the gatherings and can use their individual giftings and talents to interact with the children. Sheldon and the entire Curbside staff encourage volunteers to make personal connections with the children that come to Curbside and invite them into their daily lives of church, visits to the lake or family gatherings.
“We are always looking for and welcoming more volunteers,” Sheldon says. “ The more we have, the more we can accomplish a goal of one-on-one relationship building. And anyone can be a volunteer for Curbside. From a small child volunteer who can play and learn that that is a form of serving to a senior citizen who can bring their wisdom and mentor or sit in a lawn chair and read to a little one.”

For Sheldon, the idea for Curbside Ministries began back in the 1990s when she says God begin to nudge her to engage in the lives of children, even beyond her own five that she had at home. Each time she would come up with an idea for a ministry, her husband, Steve, a businessman, would encourage her to come up with a plan, but no specific idea ever stuck.

“Because of our own parenting good and bad, we recognize the need for establishing relationships built on love and truth,” Sheldon says. “We have always wanted to show and teach our children how to love Jesus and love others. During all the attempts to plant seeds within our home, God has never let me rest there. He has continued to prod me to go outside the walls of our home and our church. He reminds me daily that our area of ministry is not just within our home. Today, I am paying attention to the tension that stirs within me. That tension led me to action once more. While driving down a busy street in town one day, I saw an ice cream truck for sale. It was in that instant that God revealed this entire ministry. I phoned Steve immediately and shared God’s revelation. Once more, Steve asked for the objectives and goals of the ministry. This time, however, was different. He embraced the entire vision from the onset. He, too, knew the time was right and this was “MY MUST”.

Curbside is funded completely through love offerings from individuals and some ministries in the area. They do no fundraising events, but Sheldon firmly believes that God continues to provide and that followers of Christ will continue to give an offering to Curbside over and above their yearly giving to their churches.

Curbside continues to grow, with plans for a new after-school program beginning in the fall in the North Lee Street community, as well a yearly Thanksgiving meal distribution in the North Lee Street community, in addition to the existing one Curbside serves at Parker Bennett. For Sheldon, she is incredibly thankful that the idea that God gave her 8 years ago continues on and grows each year.

“I am thankful for the opportunity and consider it a privilege to share Christ with others,” Sheldon says. “If we all believe in God’s word, we must go! Curbside is a simple vessel. We desire to make it easy for you to share Christ with others. The vessel, Curbside, is in place! We encourage everyone to make the ministry their own. Just maintain the integrity of the truth. Bowling Green has been nothing but gracious towards us and our endeavors to Share Christ with others. Our goal is to saturate this city with Jesus…”

To learn more about Curbside Ministries, go to their website at www.curbsideministries.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. 

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