Did you know 71 percent of Christians in the U.S. are introduced to the faith before age 14? As a result, the phrase ‘4/14 Window’ has gained popularity, referring to four to 14 year olds, which is the time when many people are most open and receptive to spiritual and developmental input.
BHITC and its partner churches leverage this opportunity during the school year through ministries such as literacy and tutoring programs, which are an effective first step in connecting families to urban churches and addressing educational needs. While school is out for the summer and tutoring programs are on hiatus (for a little while longer), BHITC partnered with two area churches to continue sharing the hope of Jesus with children through creative and fun-filled programs this summer.
Summer camp reinforces reading and resisting peer pressure
‘Keep Calm and Do Good Under Pressure’ was the theme of this year’s summer reading camp at Hope Alliance Bible Church in Maple Heights. During the week-long program, 20+ kids enjoyed reading and scripture-based activities focused around the theme of how to handle peer pressure well.
“The children might not get nurturing, love, or even a hot meal at home,” saysLeslie Motton, the camp’s director, who has been involved with the summer camp at Hope Alliance for the past four years, “but they are bringing home Christ’s light into the darkness. We are teaching them to take back confidence and take back that they’re important,” she says.
The summer reading camp, which had 100 percent attendance all week long, is based on sharing the message of Jesus with the kids. “There is no better feeling than knowing you are being used by the Lord,” says Ronald Morrison, Pastor of Hope Alliance Church, who, along with his team, taught and showed the love of Christ to the kids all week.
Neighborhood outreach to children fuels new church plant
MetroAlliance Church, a church partner of BHITC’s located in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, hosted a summer outreach program called Metro Kids each Saturday throughout the summer as part of its future church plant at Family Ministry Center. An average of 30 children attended each week and participated in outdoor and indoor activities such as art, reading, sports, music, dance, drama and singing while also learning about Jesus through the Bible.
“This summer, relationships have begun with new families in the neighborhood because of the Metro Kids summer program. We’re continuing to work with the kids, and we’re excited about the possibilities it presents us to appropriately follow-up with families and build into the families in the neighborhood,” says Juri Ammari, Pastor at MetroAlliance Church.
A total of 60 children pre-registered for Metro Kids, and of those, only five had any prior church connection. “The opportunity is vast for the Church to impact whole households by reaching kids,” says Juri, who reports this year’s Metro Kids participants are already asking about next year’s summer program.
Please join BHITC in continuing to pray for the Spirit to move in these neighborhoods!