“Kids’ Ministry Is What It’s All About"
"Attention!” Every Wednesday evening at 6:45, Pathfinder director Mel MacPhee calls the Hood View Mountaineers to order. Standing in a “U” formation, the 23 Pathfinders and seven staff members face MacPhee as he leads them through the Pledge of Allegiance, reciting the Pathfinder pledge and law, and listening to a devotional thought before heading off to work on honors activities.
MacPhee first experienced Pathfinders as an 8-year-old tagging along with his two older sisters. His dad was a counselor in the club, so MacPhee was able to participate in the activities and campouts before he could “officially” join at age 10.
Today MacPhee is still involved in Pathfinders in addition to being a husband, father of six, optometrist and church elder. "Being involved in Pathfinders has made me prioritize what’s really important," he says. "Loving God with everything we have and loving others are at the top.”
Under MacPhee’s leadership the Hood View club has changed focus from classwork and points-based programs to honors and activities. “We want to create a good, healthy, fun Christian environment while ultimately looking to lead kids to the cross.”
The Mountaineers have enjoyed tubing, skiing, archery, rock climbing and even geocaching. MacPhee planned a “Discover Scuba” class for the club where the kids could try on the gear, get tips from a certified instructor, and swim around in a pool trying out how to breathe under water. In addition, MacPhee has updated the club’s t-shirts and sweatshirts.
Tracy Wood, Oregon Conference Pathfinder director and associate youth director, affirms MacPhee’s ministry and vision. He says last year MacPhee wrote and submitted the wakeboarding honor to the North American Division Pathfinder Committee, and it was accepted. “This year, he has a teen Pathfinder, [Ryan Robinson], creating the unicycle honor,” says Wood, “and Mel is teaching him the process.”
MacPhee feels called to teach kids what they need to know to be good people. His goal is to introduce the kids to Jesus and to good Christian fun, and he believes it is important to teach them about loving God, working as a team and serving others.
“Kids’ ministry is what it’s all about; without the Bible, we’re just Scouts.” Quick to credit the dedication of his talented staff and the support of the church congregation, MacPhee says, “we’re blessed at Hood View.”