Pathfinders Reap Harvest of Souls

November 18, 2017 | Richie Brower

What do kids miss if your church doesn’t have a Pathfinder club? The answer came home to me in a flood recently.

Every year a church (or five) struggles with whether or not they will offer club ministries to the young people in their congregation for the coming season. The reasons for the questions vary from losing key staff members to actually questioning whether they want to support the club model of ministry.

In Upper Columbia Conference (UCC), more and more churches are realizing that Pathfinders is an evangelistic and discipling tool they don’t want to be without. This year our prayers for more clubs have been answered with three new Adventurer clubs starting and six new Pathfinder clubs coming online.

The Pathfinder year had barely begun when it was time for our North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) Camporee in Twin Falls, Idaho. Twenty-three clubs and 329 UCC Pathfinders plus their leaders made the drive to the Twin Falls County Fairgrounds. What awaited them besides exciting activities like blacksmithing, fun exploration of local history and trails, and new friends from around the union was a rich spiritual feast. Bill Kilgore, from Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, held the Pathfinders spellbound as he led them through the stories of Daniel and his friends — encouraging the group with the words, “If you won’t bow and you don’t bend, then you won’t burn.”

The answer to my opening question, “What do kids miss?” came Saturday night as Kilgore closed the weekend with an appeal to the Pathfinders to commit their lives to Jesus. I stood near the stage watching as more than a thousand Pathfinders and staff poured out of the bleachers to accept Jesus as Savior, make decisions for baptism and renew the commitments they had already made. Joy and awe coursed through my body as I watched groups of young people and staff bow their heads together in prayer. Heaven drew near to join us in celebrating this moment of eternal significance.

Then it hit me: “Kids who don’t have access to a Pathfinder club miss THIS.” The mission of club ministries in Upper Columbia Conference is “The Salvation of His kids.” Adventurer and Pathfinder clubs partner with parents and churches to “mentor, model, equip and call” children and young people for the purpose of leading them to make personal decisions to follow Jesus. Then we invite these energetic believers to join Jesus in His mission to reach the world. At this year’s NPUC camporee, 173 Upper Columbia Pathfinders chose to follow Jesus, 41 made decisions to prepare for baptism, and, most importantly, 138 renewed their commitments to continue pursuing a relationship with Jesus. We praise God for the harvest of young, vibrant souls.

Want information on starting a life-transforming club in your church? Contact the Upper Columbia Conference club ministries department.