Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I, (Hope), have always loved this verse and sentiment, because it first shows how Jesus loved the children and that they were important to Him. Also, and I might be reading into it a bit, but “there’s is the kingdom of heaven” is true here on earth as well. They will take over the earthly kingdom when we have all finished messing up what we can. These children that come to youth group and good news club, or Awana, are the future financial planners, judges, real estate developers, teachers, doctors, bums on the side of the road… what can we do to help or hurt???
Well, I have started teaching good news club weekly for about 20 kids that come right from school to the church for club. The fun thing is that less than half of the kids actually go to our church, so it’s a fun outreach as well as an opportunity to work with the kids. GNC is a part of Children Evangalism Fellowship. It stresses the gospel with every lesson, and is VERY structured, which is great, but keeps me on a short leash, which might be a good thing! We have to adhere to what is in place, because we will only be here a year, and then they take it over again, so it doesn’t make sense to change something and change it back.
The kids are great, of course! We have the three boys in the back that like to roughouse, but have lots of fun answers. The four girls who sit close on 3 chairs, whispering and answering for each other. The shy boy in front who loves to be called on, but is nervous to raise his hand. They really get into the lessons and games, but are shy singers. They are from 1st to 6th grade, and every face that looks up at me during that hour I have them every week makes me want to pour more time and care into how I present these stories of Jesus’ life, and His work on the cross. These precious children that Jesus loves choose to hang out at church after school, which means their hearts and ears are open to His word. If only we were that open as adults, giving up time during the week to hang out and talk about Jesus with the excitement I get from them.
We also are starting the youth group up again after a year of nothing! They will be 7th – 12th graders from the church and community. We’ve been told to expect 20 on a good day. They were used to the boys and girls going through separate studies, so we are really changing the format and getting everyone together for Casey’s teaching. We are kicking off on Super Bowl Sunday, and watching the second half of the game at our house, and then seeing what the group wants to study by having them ask questions they have about faith, the bible, God, anything they want to know about. We are praying that God will give us a clear direction for the youth group because there are really no parameters here, and the youth in this community really don’t have much to do, much leadership, not a lot of responsibility in the church, and seem to be the age most in need right now. You know when you get that fire in your heart when you see what God’s doing in a group or area, I don’t think these kids have had that for some time, and I am praying we can get that fire and vision, and show them that they matter to God and the church.
This church we are serving at does so much for so many ages and issues, and the kids are well loved. I get to be a part of that with good news club. Now we get to pick up the gauntlet with a small but important area that is less represented and create something new. Pleas pray for God’s guidance and will, and discernment with where these kids are, who will be good student leaders, not just fake it well, which we have a few of. Thank you for caring for the kids, both in our area and your own.