The danger of summer children’s ministries

By June 2, 2016

Central Asia (MNN) – It’s summer in the northern hemisphere, and in the United States, this usually means it’s time for summer Bible camps and vacation Bible school for churches. But for churches outside the U-S, this is a dangerous privilege.

SGA_summer Bible camp

(Photo/caption courtesy Slavic Gospel Association) Each summer, hundreds of children have the opportunity to attend church-run Christian camps across Central Asia.

The Slavic Gospel Association helps to support churches in Central Asia in providing similar Bible camps to children, but things can get tricky. Joel Griffith with SGA explains,

“Depending on where you are in the former Soviet Union, you can have places where these summer camps are held by the churches openly, ministry with the kids just as fantastic and goes very well. You have other places though, such as Central Asia, where opposition to Evangelical churches is very strong. And that forces sometimes the churches to have to use very discrete methods to be able to hold the camps.”

Imagine the creativity, a gift from God, that goes into helping make these camps a reality. Churches have been known to meet far out in woods to have the privacy and safety of sharing the Gospel with these kids. And by doing this, churches are able to impact kids’ lives for Christ.

“As we’ve seen so often in our children’s ministries, when a child comes to know Christ as Lord and Savior, and they take home their children’s Bibles, children’s literature that they provided or maybe a Bible lesson they’ve learned at camp. Sometimes these little children can be the most effective Evangelists in beginning to reach their families for Christ as well,” recounts Griffith.

200 children and teens heard the Gospel at a summer Bible camp 2015. (Photo, caption courtesy SGA)

200 children and teens heard the Gospel at a summer Bible camp 2015.
(Photo, caption courtesy SGA)

Kids in these camps take part in various activities ranging from what would seem normal vacation Bible school games to outdoor camping and more depending on what the church is able to do. But the one thing all these churches have in common is the desire to share God’s word and lead these kids in Christ.

Still, the question remains, where’s the danger. Though there is great encouragement in the work these churches are doing in Central Asia, there’s still a significant amount of pressure on these camps. In the past, children’s ministry camps have been raided, shutdown, pastors and other workers in the church have been taken into police custody for questioning, and church workers have even been threatened.

So as the sun comes out, frozen lands thaw, and others head to the beach would you remember to pray for SGA’s summer camp season running from now up until August. Pray for the safety of those involved, provisions for the camps, and for the Gospel to impact these kids’ lives.

To learn more about SGA’s Summer Children’s Ministry camps or to donate, click here.

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