Children’s program inspires faith, delight

Adults and children walk with God in doubt and conviction at PA 2015

By Laura Kraybill

“Okay, Penguins, it’s time to go shear sheep.” This might cause confusion if you were not at the children’s program of MWC. For the 281 children attending PA 2015 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, it caused excitement. Participants hastily finished snacks to line up in their activity groups, named after animals, for their next event.

Watching sheep shearing is just one of many activities that inspires delight for young conference participants. Each day, children make their way through six stations: Bible story, Bible games, imagination station, creation crafts, indoor/outdoor games, music and movement.

MWC-kidsprogrmBible stories coordinate with the day’s theme.

On Wednesday, “walking in doubt and conviction” was adapted to “doubt and faith” for children.

“We talked about how the disciples doubted there would be enough food with Jesus’ instructions to feed the 5,000,” said Becky Degan, of the children’s program planning team.

Caleb Metzler, a 10-year-old participant from Stonebrook Mennonite Church in York, Pennsylvania, thinks the story is “amazing because it started out as five loaves and two fish and they just kept grabbing and grabbing more food.

“It tells us to believe God is able to do anything,” said Metzler.

He enjoys all the activities, but particularly the crafts where the children spend all week creating a long banner that says ‘Walking with God.’ “I’m drawing three crosses and then people at the bottom,” said Metzler.

Metzler wants passersby “to trust in God that he will come back like God told Peter.” This ties into the same Scripture passage used in adult worship on Wednesday: 1 Peter 1:3–9.

Sharing the love of Jesus with kids is the main goal of the week, according to Degan. As groups toss a parachute in the air or help each other go “fishing” in a kiddie pool, they are also learning to love each other.

And if the chorus of laughter after each bleat from a sheep is any indication, children are not only learning about God’s love, but having a great time in the process.

Laura Kraybill is from Elkhart, Indiana, and will begin studies at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary this fall in the Master of Divinity program. For the past five years Kraybill directed the theater program at Hesston College in Kansas.