Dec 21, 2017

By Pastor Glenn Denman

Vibrant! That is how our youth program at the Central Washington Seventh Day Baptist Church of about 22 members (plus attenders) in Yakima, WA, is being described! The scripture says, “let others speak well of you, and not you yourself.” In looking back, we have had some pretty good youth meetings, with one recently being attended by some 35 people. However, that was a bit out of the ordinary, as we typically have about 10 to 20 people in attendance at out monthly Sabbath evening meetings (Saturdays).

We do not call it “youth night” or “youth group.” These imply a meeting with one or two leaders overseeing a bunch of kids. We prefer to call it “family/youth” night. We have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends (and kids, of course) attending. The meetings are geared more toward a night of family fellowship rather than a youth fellowship. In the meeting of 35 people, 18 of those were youth. There are usually as many adults as kids in a given meeting. A benefit we have here in Yakima is that the size of our lot is 2.5 acres. Since we have so much room, many of the activities we have are outdoor things like frisbee, kickball, basketball, and other outdoor activities. The entire lot is not finished, but we do have a fairly good-sized lawn area. We also have indoor things like games, coloring, and ping pong.

During the meetings, we have food (dinner), and part of the activities is actually cooking the food, or making cookies, and other kitchen stuff. We also have prayer, Bible readings with a lesson, some trivia, or other spiritual time. We try to have something for all ages. Parents or guardians bring their own activity ideas and games, but the church provides materials and other support.

During a recent meeting, one of our regular youths brought a friend who wanted to be baptized. We were able to sit down in our fellowship hall, open up a couple of Bibles, and determine that she had indeed received Jesus as her Savior, but had yet to be baptized. After a couple more meetings, she was baptized during one of our regular church services.

This got started two years ago during a business meeting. We had been discussing how our building was lacking the facilities for a true youth program, since the building is designed around the sanctuary, fellowship hall, and a few classrooms. Some members had been discussing building a space onto the church that would be geared toward youth, where we could have activities without as much tear down and set up. The previous pastor mentioned that it would

be great to build on, but figured we (the new pastor) could start something right now. So, we did! Now we have monthly family/youth meetings. In the meantime, we’ve had some building plans drawn up, and now we are going through the county’s planning department. We are hoping (praying) to start construction by the end of February of 2018.

I don’t know how “vibrant” our program is. We had a family of four who recently joined move to Florida. We have another family of five who will be moving out of the state in about six months. While we see these as setbacks, we will continue to plan. Jesus says we are to be fishers of men. When we fish, we can’t see what’s in the water — so we fish by faith, not by sight. God has truly blessed our church!

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