BKC for the Glory of God
“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” This verse, familiar to me since I learned it in my Baptist private school Bible memory program in first grade, was our theme verse at Power Source Backyard Kids Club last week in Hamilton. And what a week!
Every year all of us who volunteer are blessed by the children at Power Source and blessed by the Lord Jesus with the special joy of serving him by reaching out to those kids. But this BKC was, for me, a beautiful experience beyond any previous year.
I didn’t see it coming though. A late start in planning due to uncertainty regarding Covid restrictions, a seeming shortage of volunteers, a curriculum shift, and a major renovation project happening in my house seemed to me prophecies of stress and uncertain results. But God is bigger! Here are some ways he worked.
- Family ministry. All volunteers but one were part of a family group serving together--siblings, parent/child, grandparent/grandchild (that was me). This is the delightful fruit of ECC’s family discipleship philosophy.
- Simplicity that allowed the Word to be our focus. We went with a program meant for an online club during a time of social restriction. There was no elaborate skit, no decorations, no music videos. Instead, we used an unscripted video sketch with live interaction to introduce the day’s theme. We chose our own music to emphasize our memory verse. And we closed out each day asking the children to tell what they had learned, helping us to stay centered on what God’s word showed us about Jesus.
- Using God-given talents for his glory. We always try to plug volunteers into positions that best use their strengths, but this year was special.
Matthew Rudolph and Matthew Quarry adapted the short daily video sketch/skits, infusing them with their own creativity and personality. The result was a simple and fun way for the kids to engage and interact with the guys on the platform without actually stealing the emphasis away from the central Bible lesson and putting it on a skit’s storyline.
Eliana Boerner, Linnea and Sofia Doughman, and Kim Quarry were the perfect blend of fun and compassion and creativity for personal engagement with the younger children.
Michelle Nephew’s classroom experience and gentle personality brought focus to that group’s Bible lesson.
Cybele Risma’s gift of organization and Anna Boerner’s artistic talent worked in unity to offer some useful and keep-worthy craft projects for the kids (not the kind that gets left behind at church or surreptitiously thrown away by mom a few days later).
David Rudolph and his boys came up with some great energy-burning fun games that tied into the secret-agent theme for the week. (In case you didn’t know, this is David’s super power.) And Christina Doughman graciously came alongside to help.
- Technology. Lucy Marsh put together a tech team with her brother Peter, friend Will Moore, and Jacob Rudolph that worked together with creativity, innovation, and perseverance in overcoming issues and in using video, photography, and music to give the children sensory engagement. They loved seeing themselves in the slide shows Lucy produced.
- Male leadership. Caleb (whose last name I don’t remember) from Power Source’s parent church, Princeton Pike Church of God, and Evan Miller were team leaders for the older kids. Their presence and interaction were magnetic. Many of these kids do not have a consistent father in their lives. I believe these two guys were a major factor in the following blessing.
- Attentiveness. This year, more than ever before, the older kids were attentive and respectful and positively engaged during the Bible lesson. I’m sure there are multiple factors involved in this, but I see these as key: male leadership (as mentioned above), ways the Lord has grown me as a teacher over the past couple of years, and direct answer to prayer. As Matthew Rudolph mentioned in his testimony on Sunday, we prayed specifically for this to be so, and of course, God answered for His glory.
- Leadership development. Noelle Nephew and Chai Risma are long-term Power Source BKC veterans, having volunteered every year since we first began going in 2016. They have led the music for several of those years, but this year they, along with Lucy Marsh, took on the additional challenge of finding the right songs for each night’s lesson theme. And their selections demonstrated maturity and helped keep the focus of the evening on the Word of God. I already mentioned the tech team handling difficulties, and I could go on about teens rising to the occasion to lead in prayer and sharing when they hadn’t felt comfortable doing so, people stepping up to share with you in last Sunday’s service, creative problem solving, and more.
- Gospel seeds Attentiveness, the way the simple skit involved the children in understanding each night’s theme, the focused music, and the teens leading the kids in memory verse activities, all worked together in a dynamic way to highlight the truth about Jesus and to keep the focus on the gospel. Every night the kids were able to tell—with enthusiasm—what they had learned about Jesus.
He can forgive our sin because He is God, and we need that forgiveness more than anything else.
He has power over life and death, therefore He is God.
He died as a criminal to take our place and pay for our sin.
He rose from the dead because He is God, making the way for us to come to the Father through him.
As you can tell by the length at which I’ve written, I experienced a lot of joy in the week of ministry. But I want to share one more thing. I personally was so moved by my own Bible study in preparation to teach the lessons to the children. The story of Jesus saving the thief on the cross hit me like never before. On the very morning that I used it in training our crew in how to share the gospel with kids, we went to Alan Fothergill’s funeral service where Isaac Gould preached the gospel from that same passage.
And the Lord stirred my heart to see the eternal importance of the message. I came into the week of BKC with eternity in mind. Every child there will stand one day before the Lord. I pray that the seeds of the gospel planted in those four days will fall on good soil and grow into fruit of a heart changed forever.