We had a very full schedule on our recent speaking trip to the northwest, with lots of opportunities to share the truth about Creation and God’s Word with children, teens, and adults. In all, we did 44 presentations at 22 locations in 2 weeks… Wow! These included churches, creation groups, a university, Christian schools, homeschool groups, and public school kids. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but we are privileged to come alongside so many others who are reaching out to touch people of all ages with truth.
I have been especially encouraged by the way some very dedicated churches and individuals are reaching out to children and youth through release time and after school programs. In one community, a dozen churches have joined together to support a Christian Education Release Time class. They raised money to build a facility adjacent to the public high school in which they minister to students informally by providing lunches, snacks, and a place to hang out with friends. They also have a daily Bible class that students can attend as “release time” from public school. This program takes a lot of dedicated time and money, but is reaping fruit in relationships and opportunities for young people to hear the gospel and be encouraged in their faith.
In another community, we were privileged to minister to public school students in a creative afterschool program. The school has an “early release” every Wednesday which creates both a challenge for working parents and a wonderful ministry opportunity for a nearby church. The church provides transportation from the school, snacks, a variety of classes, and homework help for grades K-5 students from 1-5 PM every Wednesday. Each week they have a 30 minute Bible class, followed by times for arts and crafts, gym activities, cooking, and other electives – all staffed by dedicated volunteers who give of their time to help parents and enrich the lives of kids. What a wonderful opportunity for the church to serve and impact the community in a positive way.
Other programs we have seen, or heard about, on this trip include; a weekly Bible Club in a public elementary school (also part of a release time program), afterschool Good News Clubs, a creative homeschool program that offers lots of electives, science enrichment classes offered by a creation club, and weekly evangelistic outreaches at a university. Some of these even include science activities that encourage creative thinking and offer a Biblical alternative to the strong evolutionary teaching kids get elsewhere. We are much encouraged by the adults who faithfully serve in these programs which minister to students.
Wouldn’t it be great if every community had programs like this to reach out and minister to real needs of families while offering creative teaching and activities to enrich the lives of children? What about your community? What might YOU do? How might YOU and your church become a catalyst for meeting needs and reaching families with the truth of God’s Word? It’s a big job, but with willing workers and God’s empowerment, YOU can make a difference.
by Mary Jo Nutting
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