Advent 2019 – Hope

We all hope in something.  We hope our kids grow up to lead healthy and successful lives.  We hope we get the promotion.  We hope our favorite sports team wins.  

We were created to hope.  

Hope is a great thing when it is put in the right things.  It is disastrous when it is placed in the wrong things.  This week we look at the promises of hope God made to us.

This message is from Jason Rodgers at our Munford Campus. If you missed a message or want to listen again, listen on-line or tune in to our podcast.

This message was recorded on December 1, 2019 at Gateway’s Munford Campus.

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Fostering Love For Tipton

Gateway loves families. We know that families take many forms in Tipton County. Not all children live with their birth parents, many live with foster or adoptive families.

Join the Community

Foster and Adoptive Parents, if you’re looking for others who are on this journey, we have a group for you. We’re foster parents, too! The easiest way to connect is to join the FaceBook group, Fostering Love for Tipton.

Gather with us at Gateway’s Atoka Campus on the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30 -7:30.  Come. You can plan and attend training certification classes, family events, and other fun stuff.  We have care and teaching for children ages birth – 5th grade. Pre-Register kids here. Students in 6th-12th gather at Gateway’s Munford Campus at the same time. for more information about that, click here.

“Pure and faultless religion is to care for the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

James 1:27

Helpful Links

For information about the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, click here. For information on becoming a Tennessee Foster Parent, click here.

Not everyone is called to be a foster parent.

As a matter of fact, most people in the Church won’t ever bring a child into their homes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an essential and necessary role to play in the lives of foster families. While we aren’t all called to do the same thing, we are all certainly created to do something.  That’s how the Body of Christ works.  For individuals who would like to help with this ministry, here are a few things that are needed:

1. Pray

Pray for families in our church who are currently fostering.  Pray for families to answer the call to foster.

2. Donate Clothes

Many times children enter foster care with no extra clothes. Consider donating gently used children clothing in sizes newborn through teens.  Collection boxes are located near kids check-in at all Gateway campuses.

3. Wednesday Childcare

Volunteer the first Wednesday of the month to help with childcare during the group gathering time.

Do Things Ever Get Better?

Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a bad story and we have no idea how it is going to turn out. Maybe you’ve thought, “There is no way that it could ever turn around or turn out well.” There are so many people in our church dealing with tragic circumstances. Death, cancer, difficult stages in life. So, in today’s message, Steve takes us to a passage in the Bible where the writer asks the very question that we do at times: “Do things ever get better?”

This message is from Steve Carpenter at our Atoka Campus.  If you missed a message or want to hear it again, listen on-line or tune in to our podcast.

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Free Family Fun – Summer 2019

School’s out for summer and raising a family is expensive! I’ve gathered a list of free or low cost FUN things to do together. These activities are in (or near) Tipton County.  Where possible, I included a link to the organization that is hosting for more information.

Help me keep this list up to date! If you know of a free (or cheap) fun activity for families, drop the details and a link in the comments.



  • WHEN: June 24-28. 5:30-8-m
  • WHERE: Gateway’s Munford Campus 145 Joe Joyner Road
  • PLAN IT: Register here to avoid lines at drop off
  • MORE DETAILS: This 5-night clubs are like a mini-camp for kids who have completed K-5th. Activities include: music, story time, games, snacks, and crafts.
  • WHEN: July 8-12. 6-8:30pm
  • WHERE: Gateway on the Square 101 W. Court Square
  • PLAN IT: Register here to avoid lines at drop off
  • MORE DETAILS: This 5-night clubs are like a mini-camp for kids who have completed K-5th. Activities include: music, story time, games, snacks, and crafts.
  • WHEN: July 15-19. 5-8-m
  • WHERE: Gateway’s Atoka Campus 1915 Rosemark Road
  • PLAN IT: Register here to avoid lines at drop off
  • MORE DETAILS: This 5-night clubs are like a mini-camp for kids who have completed K-5th. Activities include: music, story time, games, snacks, and crafts.


PARKS are always free!

  • Greenway Trail Phase 1 is open! It runs through Walker Park, then parallel to Walker Parkway down to the fire station.
  • Walker Park Pavilion, picnic tables, playground, walking track, soccer fields, restrooms, Splash Pad opens Friday May 24 – Labor Day, concessions, and restrooms available
  • Nancy Lane Park Nature Trail and 18 hole frisbee golf course, fantastic playground, picnic table, caboose, softball fields, concessions, restrooms
  • Pioneer Park lighted walking track, fishing pond, playground, picnic tables
  • Adkison Park lighted walking track, playground, picnic tables

You can host a birthday party at Nancy Lane Park or Walker Park – or the new fire station for a very reasonable fee! Visit their website for details. 



  • WHEN: June 21 & July 19
  • WHERE: Nancy Lane Park
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Bring your blankets, lawn chairs and some friends or neighbors for a great evening under the stars !


  • WHEN: August 3
  • WHERE: Walker Park
  • MORE DETAILS: This partnership event hosted by Gateway Baptist Church and the Town of Atoka is a summer tradition in Atoka. Thousands of people attend for free food, activities, games, fireworks, music, and more!


  • Atoka BBQ Fest – April at Nancy Lane Park
  • Safe Night Out – October 31, 2018 at 5:30pm at Nancy Lane Park
  • Christmas Tree Lighting – coming in November at Adkison Park
  • Santa’s Ride – Santa rides through the town on a Fire Truck. Welcome to Small Town, USA!
  • For details about Atoka Events, click here.

Not free, but worth mentioning:

The Town of Atoka also hosts tons of sports and recreational programs including soccer, softball, kickball and flag football, art classes, cooking classes, and camps. For details click here. 


PARKS are always free!

  • CENTENNIAL PARK baseball fields, playground, picnic tables, walking track, concessions, restrooms
  • CITY PARK gazebo & playground
  • POPLAR PARK playground, skate board park, tons of open space
  • HOPE PARK walking trail & exercise equipment
  • VALENTINE PARK pavilion (can be reserved for free!), 2 playgrounds, nature trail & disc golf course, soccer fields, restrooms, plus a brand new dog park.

Not free, but worth mentioning:

  • The Munford Skating Rink is open every Friday night from 6pm-9pm. Skating is only $7/person and includes skate rental fee. When school is out (spring/summer/fall break), it’s $5 1pm-3pm during the week.
  • They also hosts a HUGE selection of summer camps.
  • Munford also offers the usual sports and recreation programs. These aren’t free or cheap, BUT they do offer payment plans!

They also update their FaceBook page.


PARKS are always free!

  • PARKS:
    • Shelton Park – gazebo & fountain
    • Park on the Square – relaxing place for downtown visitors
    • Patriot Park – airplane: skyhook attack bomber
    • Cobb Parr Memorial Park – AKA Castle Park, playground, pavilion, walking trail, picnic area, Covington BBQ fest
    • Frazier Park – 1/2 mile fitness trail, 3 playground areas, 2 lighted outdoor basketball courts, 2 picnic pavilions, In June there’s the Frazier Fun Fest and In July there’s the Frazier Alumni Association 4th of July Family Picnic
    • Museum/Nature Trail – free admission, tons of events, classes, May festival on May 5

Not free, but worth mentioning: 

DIY with Kids

  • WHEN: 1st Saturday of each month
  • WHERE: Home Depot in Covington
  • PLAN IT: Register online
  • MORE DETAILS: Build something with your kids! They get to keep their craft. Plus other bonuses. On June 1: “Putting Green”
  • BONUS: Ladies, there’s a “Do-It-Herself” on the 3rd Thursday 6:30-8:30. Use power tools (under supervision!) and make and take a craft. On June 20: “Charging Station”


I talked with Sharon Timbs, Assistant Director, and she has SO MANY programs! ALL FREE!  The Library is a WONDERFUL place.  60+ this summer alone!! I’m going to list some of the programs below. Check out their website or their FaceBook page for information.

  • Preschool Story Time: every Wednesday at 10am
  • Kids Story Time: every Thursday 9am
  • Movies clubs
  • Book clubs
  • MAKE IT AT YOUR LIBRARY -STEM crafts and projects,
  • Family Story Time
  • Story Walk at Tipton County Museum (May, June, July)
  • Summer Reading Challenge in June & July


My darling friend Carrie Hamm is a Gateway Member and a  Master Gardner. (I’m so proud of her for earning that title!!). She told me about some of the things around the community. Check it out:


  • WHEN: Daily
  • WHERE: Drummonds Park
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS:  Tree Mapping at Drummonds Park. Which is a wonderful park! There’s an amphitheater, playground, and there are 30+ trees labeled. 901 rocks there!!

Pollinator Bed

  • WHEN: All summer
  • WHERE: Tipton County Museum & Park
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Museum & Park entrance are FREE. During the blooming months this is a beautiful place to visit. The Master Gardners also host a guided tour of these beds. Watch their FaceBook page for details about the events.

More Details about the Master Gardners here.


Thanks to Jeff Gautney, Gateway’s Missions & Family Pastor for this tip!

  • WHEN: Thursday evenings
  • WHERE: Urban Air, Cordova
  • COST: $35 – family of 5
  • PLAN IT: Call 901-334-9993
  • MORE DETAILS:  Jeff’s family of 5 jumped for 1 hour (which was plenty) plus enjoyed a pizza and water. Usual price for them was $60 for everyone to jump 1 hour, no food included. So while it’s not free, it IS a deal!


This is something my family really enjoyed doing!

  • WHEN: Anytime (go when the weather is gorgeous!)
  • WHERE: Memphis and surrounding areas
  • PLAN IT: Use this map to plan your route.
  • MORE DETAILS:  Make memories and hunt 100 tiger statues all over Memphis. All you need is a great playlist and a map of the locations. Enjoy showing your kids the town. Stop and inspect the incredible art on the Tiger statues & get photos of your kids. (Tag me so I can see!)


  • WHEN: Summer
  • WHERE: Various (use link above)
  • PLAN IT: You must pre-register for a trial membership <– use this link for the trial membership.
  • MORE DETAILS: This membership is good for 2 adults and up to 10 RELATED children. It expires 90 days from your sign-up date.


Visit for a list of allll the facilities and programs. You just have to register. SO COOL!

Not Free, but worth mentioning:

Thanks for this info, Maegan Traynom! Worth mentioning with kids bowl free- you can add a family pass for about $20, which adds up to 4 adults to your summer pass. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles- you can bowl free as a family all summer! 😄 She’s done this at Andy B’s in Bartlett.

This place is also a fun date night for adults!!


  • WHEN: Daily 11am & 5pm
  • WHERE: Peabody Hotel
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Come early and have your kids sit right up front by the red carpet for a birds-eye view (ha!). Ducks march to and from the grand fountain in the lobby every day. There’s lots of pomp and circumstance.


  • WHEN: Tues – Sat | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • WHERE: 140 E. Mulberry Street, Collierville, TN 38017
  • COST: $5/person $15/family (3-5 people)
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Visit their website for more info!


  • WHEN: Tuesdays 2pm-6pm
  • WHERE:
  • PLAN IT: Just show up!
  • MORE DETAILS: Don’t miss the Sea Lion Show at 3pm! There are a few restrictions about age and residency. Check out details here.


Wow! There are SO many places to eat free. Please call ahead to verify deals. Most require a minimum purchase


They offer different freebies every day. Follow them on FaceBook for details. There are three locations in Atoka (Rosemark and Tracy), Covington (51 and Bert Johnson Avenue), and Ripley (51, across from Dairy Queen in Unique Properties parking lot).

Your suggestions:

Thanks to Julie Hartsfield for this recommendation! “Brownsville refuge/ Oneal lake in Haywood County (free) is great place for fishing, walking, picnicking, etc. There are maps at Oneal Lake of the rest of the refuge. There are tons of lakes and ponds to fish in and lots of driving trails to see wildlife. There is also a great museum not far from there at the interstate exit that’s free. It talks about Haywood County, the South, and Tina Turner.
Fort Pillow State Park in Lauderdale County. It’s free. There are hiking trails, a lake where you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, etc. There is a free museum, a playground, places to picnic and a campground.”

Thanks to Nora O’Hara for sending the information about FREE MOVIES!

What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!