Inviting Children to Encounter Jesus
By Kate Cupp
As many of you know, ECC ran a Vacation Bible School and Backyard Kids’ Club June 17-27th. What you may not know is that for a week, the chancel was transformed into the Australian desert, and the classrooms into the Arctic, jungle, and Serengeti, complete with wild animals that roamed loose throughout the church! (Alright, they were stuffed). Children ages five to eleven were invited to come and hear the stories of Jesus at the temple, Jesus’ baptism, Jesus walking on water, and finally His victory over death-- each “wild” encounter pointing to His divinity.
VBS was well attended. There were about twenty kindergarten and first graders in Michelle Nephew’s class alone, and as the designated “floater” for the week, I had the opportunity to watch them follow animal tracks to Bible verses under Michelle’s guidance, and fish for scripture in the blue laminate river she made. I was also able to spend time in Laura Lyon’s 4th-6th grade class, where I heard her present the story of Jesus’ baptism in a way that engaged the children on their level, prompting questions while also tying the Old and New Testaments together.
At Backyard Kid’s Club, we, for the fourth year in a row, partnered with Powersource Ministries, an inner-city ministry in Hamilton.
The two weeks each presented their own challenges. For VBS, the majority of the children had grown up in the church, and the lessons were spent not just sharing what were familiar stories, but emphasizing how they point to Jesus’ divinity and why that matters. At BKC, the stories were new to most of the children-- there were audible gasps in my classroom during the story of Jesus walking on the water-- and I was challenged to make sure I provided enough context to the children for the stories to make sense.
Overall, both weeks were a success-- not only did the children have fun, they were presented the gospel in a child friendly way and heard the message that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, and that if they admit their sins, believe Jesus is God’s son who rose from the dead, and confess that He is their savior, they can go to heaven. These were certainly big concepts expressed in a short amount of time, but it was a blessing to share the fundamentals of the Gospel!
A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this happen-- the community groups and individuals who provided meals, the craft team, the teachers, the tech crew, game team, music leaders, skit actors, set producers, intercessors, and Powersource Ministries. These were critical outreach opportunities that required enormous efforts, and you rose to the occasion-- well done, and praise God for His provision!