Inchelium Launches Kids' Club

It began with tent meetings the little Inchelium (Wash.) Church held in the community in 2014. Along with the large tent for adults, Inchelium Church members put up a smaller tent for the children. To their surprise, more Native American children than adults attended the nightly meetings. The kids joined wholeheartedly in the singing, crafts and gospel presentations via the Truth4Youth program.

During the two weeks of nightly meetings, members presented many of the Truth4Youth topics, but there were many more programs the children had not heard. Members asked, "Why not continue the meetings on a weekly basis? Would the children come?"

The kids did, in fact, return, and 10 to 12 children faithfully attended, with about half being from the Native American community. Each Tuesday evening when the children arrived at the church, members offered healthful snacks and then moved into the program, ending with a craft.

Following the completion of the Truth4Youth program, the group did a series based on Psalm 23, with lots of interactive elements. The kids loved it — especially the “paths of righteousness” and the “valley of the shadow of death.” By the end of the series, most of the kids could recite all or part of the Shepherd's Psalm, and all had a much deeper understanding of what God could do for them and in them.

After a summer break, a local parent insisted members start up the weekly program again — and offered to round up children herself. With this encouragement, how could the Inchelium team refuse?

This time, they gave the program a name, Kids’ Club. The very first week, about a dozen Native American kids ages 4 to 12 attended and enthusiastically participated. The kids are going through the Bible, starting with the creation story. It’s been thrilling to hear children who had had no concept of the plan of salvation not only learning but sharing what they know with others. A 10-year-old girl reported having spoken with more than 20 of her friends about God’s power during the previous week.

Along with the program, members offer a quality craft each week — something in which the children take pride and will treasure. The program also offers fun prizes and a take-home poster or tract kids can share with a friend.

The Inchelium Church has had a hard time reaching the community. Members tried many things, but although the locals are generally warm and friendly, they have seldom responded to the gospel. A dozen children may seem like a small number, but, to this church congregation, it is huge. Members believe that many parents will be touched through their children — and they are already seeing this happen.

One parent — the mother of a lively little boy — said, “Thanks so much for teaching my son.” She then asked if church members would be willing to pick him up for Sabbath School as well. Several other parents have attended church services and have requested Bible studies.

Offering a quality weekly children’s program is quite a large undertaking, but church members have rallied behind the project and are assisting in many ways, including picking up children, preparing and serving snacks, providing prize items, handling registration, running equipment, leading song service, doing graphic design, and, of course, presenting the program. Other church members have volunteered to be part of the Adopt-a-Lamb program, in which individual children are matched with a mentor who connects with them, shows them God’s love and prays for them.

The Inchelium Church family knows there will be setbacks — the enemy will see to that. Most recently, the local school scheduled weekly sports activities on the evening Kids’ Club meets. However, members also know that if they are faithful, God will bless — and they will see these precious children in the kingdom.

February 14, 2016 / Upper Columbia Conference
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