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Question about starting an outreach

I was at a men's group meeting at my church today and we were looking for ways to reach kids in our community and their families. I brought up the idea of a flying ministry cause I remembered Josh Bixler always talking about one at his church. Turns out there was an older guy at the breakfast today that used to help build Apollo rockets. He did something similar in a church years ago that started with pinewood derby cars. They built the cars, then the track, the balsa chuck gliders and moved into motorized planes and eventually a custom rocket that shot an model of an Apollo module 2000 feet up. When he heard me talk about FT his face lit up. Then I discovered one of the kids that was there with his dad just started working at the local hobby shop. Sounds like we have some pieces in place.

Is there a place to get some guidance and info on starting something like this. I checked the STEM page but it was all grade level stuff. How would that be adapted to something like this. Any ideas or guidance?

My initial thoughts were to start with the FT chuck gliders and learning simple build stuff and teaching some flight concepts then move up to building better stuff. One thought I had was to create a small program where a kid sticks with it and works through to a point where they can build and fly and then they get a full kit including a radio setup. Am I on the right track? Is there a better way to get this going? I'm open to ideas and input.

Initially this would start as a once a month get together of a bunch of guys and kids in the community. We have a small church in the middle of a small town neighborhood but the field I fly at is on the edge of town overlooking the country and is only a few blocks away. So we have a field to fly.


Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
I too am getting something going, not at my church but at our school. Either way I think you can make it work. I've only held one class so far. It'll be 1 hour every other week which doesn't seem like much but it is a start.

First, define a primary and maybe some secondary & terciary goals so that you can justify eveything as somehow supporting that purpose. STEM is simple because everyone is supporting it these days at fed and state levels. Just check out the Dept of Ed sites on STEM and I'm sure you'll find explanations from their point of view why STEM is needed. I like the collaborative problem solving side of it. Working in a church is good because you can show how a Bible based background actually makes more sense with science. Many assume there is a tension between the God's word and science.

Make sure you define your target audience so that the lessons/challenges will fit their knowledge/skill level and take them to the next.

Money might be a problem initially but if you present it well you're likely to find some willingness to pitch in some funds to get things going. For this I outlined different phases of involvement that would incorporate more equipment as the STEMclub grew.

I'm happy to share more if you like, whatever I have. I'm happy to throw some ideas back and forth too as this STEM idea is new for me too and want to see good things for the kids.
Thanks for the feedback. The intention was not really STEM but it is of course a great side benefit of the whole thing.

Funding wise I don't think it will be a problem initially as it would be a few sheets of foamboard and hot glue. We can build in the basement and toss them in the sanctuary. (of course have Christian rock playing on the big screen. :D) We have some money in our men's budget to help if things start rolling...at least initially.

I didn't think of the interesting spin of tying the science of the concepts back to bible based program and that's kinda cool. I'm not the leader of the men's group and he has to balance my ideas with other suggestions that came in or will be thrown out. It may get some traction as his son is into RC trucks and recently got a quad. He doesn't come to church and this would be a good chance to get him involved. He was there this morning and I told him if this took off (pun intended) I needed his help. He was game.

Anyway thanks for the input and feel free to stay in touch with ideas and suggestions as your program grows. I may be in touch a bit if we get the ok and get this rolling. If nothing else I hope to get a men's outing at the flying field and do some buddy boxing with everyone.
I hope I'm not hijacking the thread to jump in and mention that I, too, am trying to get a hurch group going. I was hoping to have it going a few months back (about when this thread was posted) but my schedule has been hectic. I'm also pretty unsure of how exactly to get it going.
I've read these tips and many like it, but I was hoping someone could give some very specific instances of what they did to get theirs going. How did you define your goals? What were the phases you planned out? That sort of thing.

I'm not a teacher by nature -- my brain works very differently than others'. I haven't any experience starting any kind of group. I am being convicted to get this going, I have the support of the Youth Minister, and I know it will explode (doesn't hurt that we worship about 45 seconds from the grounds of Flite Fest), but I'm really afraid I'm going to mess it up. Also, I've delayed way too long already.

Any help here or via pm will be greatly appreciated!


Active member
I'm in this with you guys... Currently planning a one evening "Take Flight Night" for the youth with the support of several RC friends. Here are some activities I am planning.

1. Building chuck gliders
2. Buddy boxing
3. Flying small drones (tiny whoop races)
4. Drone demonstration (Mavic) and maybe even explanation of Part 107 certification.
5. Airshow with bigger RC planes
6. Card stock gliders and handouts for them to take home
7. Paper airplane contest for the younger kids
8. A community build of a scaled up FT model (maybe).
9. Drone, RC, and full scale simulators.
10. Devotional with an aviation theme/illustrations.

I'm looking for ideas also, so any feedback is appreciated.

Just out of curiosity, would anyone be interested in a ministry that could bring all this to a church/school for a day/evening? I have most of these items, but would need support/sponsorship to be able to travel with it; i.e. mobile FT Ministry. This is kinda my dream.

Very similiar at our church but the airplane is a bit too much upfront costs and the church gym is not quite bit enough for indoor flight.

I'm going the route of building the mini hovercraft ( similiar to the derby cars of yesteryear ), having different tracks in the church gym and racing them. Entry point is really cheap as emachine e10s are like $12. Foam for the hovercraft is negligable costs. I'm gearing mostly for 1st thru 4th grade but of course I'm sure the older kids will get in on it too. Also will be good in wintertime here in MN.


Knower of useless information
Sounds like what I want to do with Maker Faire. :) Your idea's a good one, I'm just not a religious type (nothing against those who are, just not for me) so I wouldn't know the first thing about a ministry in that respect.

But, flight is flight, and enjoyment and happiness at seeing kids throwing paper airplanes, gliders, rubber band powered free flight, rc planes, etc...Or even watching adults become kids again as they fly stuff, THAT is why I share the info and the bug of the hobby.