What if you could go back in time to learn about and experience stories from the Bible? Follow along as children from east and west participate in BCC’s most recent Bible Kids Explorers’ activity.
By Sarah Martinovic and Laura Petkau
East Coast preparations
Welcome to the hall of BCC Ottawa! A buzz of excitement is felt as soon as you step inside. A large poster of David and Saul greets you, along with cascades of colorful balloons and streamers. It is still several hours before the children will be arriving, but youth and adult workers are rushing around, finishing the last minute preparations for this much anticipated day.
Today is Bible Kids Explorers! Bible Kids Explorers is a program for children ages 6-12 that explores Bible stories in an innovative way through the use of films, and both virtual and physical tasks. In addition to the Bible Kids bi-weekly Sunday School, the Explorers is an extra special virtual time travel the children get to experience twice a year. They get to ‘travel back in time’ to explore Bible stories and experience how God’s Word can help us in various situations.
The experience is made complete with Bible Explorers stickers, Bible cards for the children’s treasure chests, and special Bible Explorers “merch.” This time it is baseball caps for all the kids.
Read more about Bible Kids
The vision behind Bible Kids
Of course, there is a much deeper goal for the day than just having a good time. The vision for the program [as described by the BCC Committee on the Rights of the Child] is that: “What the children experience through BCC will draw them to Jesus for the rest of their lives. It will give them security, hope, and a longing for the heavenly. It will lay a foundation in the children and equip them to make good choices in any phase of life they may enter.”
With this in mind, and after entering the main hall filled with decorations and activities scattered throughout, it is understandable to wonder about the preparation and planning that went into such a day. There certainly are many practical efforts that took weeks and months of planning, from organizing children into groups with leaders, deciding and purchasing the food they will eat, who will order and pick up the highly-anticipated hats, decisions about decorations and how to make it a fun environment, etc.
“I want to be part of sowing God’s word so they can experience Jesus as a friend, helper, and a refuge.”
Stephanie has offered most of her day to cook and serve in the kitchen. The children will enjoy a pancake breakfast and pizza lunch today, and many hands are needed to make this run smoothly. Stephanie puts it simply: “Children are a precious gift from God. Jesus loved the children; they have a special place in His heart! They also have a very special place in my heart and I want to be part of sowing God’s word so they can experience Jesus as a friend, helper, and a refuge.”
Sam is a children’s worker who is responsible for boys ages 10-11. What motivates him to spend so much time with these boys? When asked, Sam laughs and says, “It certainly isn’t because I have a lot of extra time and don’t know what to do! What motivates me is that I have received something incredible from heaven. When I opened my heart to the message that we hear, and began to practice it, I received an incredible gift from heaven. I found the answer to all of my difficulties and became a happy person. When somebody has given you a great gift like that, it’s very natural to want to share that great gift with others.”
After hearing these two, there is no doubt today will leave the children with many good memories and valuable lessons for life.
West Coast happenings
On the opposite side of the continent, the Bible Kids groups in Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, Washington are working with the same vision to make this experience something the children will never forget. A group of twenty children and mentors from Vancouver are getting up early to drive three and a half hours.
“Are we there yet?” you hear Colin and Carter ask at least 10 times during the trip. These young boys are excited to get to their destination.
As you pull up to the hall in Seattle, you see the childen’s friends at the entrance, eagerly waiting to greet the carloads from Vancouver. Banners and yellow and purple balloons welcome you. The mentors from Seattle have also done a top-notch job decorating and prepping for the day’s activities.
A group photo is captured before the excited children are invited to enter the hall on a red carpet, cheering all the way inside. They gather for a short kick-off where they hear the exciting schedule that awaits them, and then energetically break off into their groups.
Bringing God’s Word to life
The day’s theme is Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the issues of life.” The Bible Kids are brought back in time to 1025 BC to hear the captivating story of David and Saul. They learn that David chose to keep his heart pure when he was young, and to be faithful to His God. At various parts of the program the Bible Kids are needed to complete various tasks, such as helping to choose a King for Israel, or finding a code in a cave where David can hide. Zip lines, potato guns, and a David and Saul capture game are all part of the plan to help focus on the theme of the day, making the Bible story – and God’s Word – as tangible as possible.
Judith, from Seattle, has done a lot of the behind-the-scenes work to make this day a reality. “Some of the motivation behind being part of the Bible Kids day was to help the kids understand the story of David and Saul better and get more of a love and interest for the heroes we read about in the Bible,” she shares.
“Hearing about those special stories and learning about the heroes of faith when I was a child has given me a foundation and love for God’s word later in life. It’s so good to be able to be a part of making it exciting and real for the kids now.”
A Unified Work
All too soon, vehicles on both sides of the continent load up again with children, Bible Kids merch in tow.
Alexa, age eight, expresses sincere thankfulness that she could come on this day trip to Seattle. When asked what she liked about the day, she shares: “Learning about God, David and Saul, and all the activities. All the mentors made it so good for us.”
“I’d sum it up as epic and unforgettable,” one of the mentors says with a smile. “It was a fantastic day for everyone. People are going home happy, and have something good in their hearts to think about and live by.”
“A story from God’s word has been brought to life in a creative way, and hundreds of children in North America have had the opportunity to learn the same Biblical values.”
You watch as several of the mentors start to clean up: one pushes a large broom across the foyer, while another pops balloons enthusiastically.
It seems to have been a successful day. A story from God’s word has been brought to life in a creative way, and hundreds of children in North America have had the opportunity to learn the same Biblical values. Whether from east or west, Bible Kids Explorers encourages young Christians to apply God’s simple laws to their own lives with the goal of helping them feel equipped to make good choices at every stage of life.