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Pennsylvania Conference Church, Students Plant Children’s Church

Story by Ray Hartwell
Published 3/6/2012

Pastor Mike McCabe spends time with some of the children who attend the Sabbath afternoon Oakbrook Project. 

When a church, a conference youth department and conference administration unite with an intentional focus on the calling of Christ for His mission in these last days, amazing things can happen! That is the testimony coming from members of the Kenhorst Boulevard church in Reading, Pa.

When the Pennsylvania Conference challenged churches and pastors to become intentional for mission, the Kenhorst Boulevard church took up the challenge. Together with the Pennsylvania Conference Youth Ministries Department Cool Camp team, they reached out to children in the low-income community neighboring their church. The week before Cool Camp, the Pennsylvania Youth Challenge student literature evangelist team reached hundreds of homes around the church.

As a result of these efforts, approximately 40 children attended their Cool Camp, with more than 35 kids accepting Christ as their Savior. When Cool Camp was over, Pastor Mike McCabe and the Kenhorst Boulevard members created the Oakbrook Project. Designed as a church-planting project, McCabe recruited a team of Blue Mountain Academy (BMA) students to be the ministry leaders for this Sabbath afternoon ministry. McCabe is mentoring these young people, guiding and teaching them how to lead, plan and implement ministry. A team of Kenhorst Boulevard members provide support and encouragement by preparing meals for the children and students each week, getting to know the children and praying for the ministry.

Compelling stories are coming from the children as Seventh-day Adventist youth and the Kenhorst church family minister to them. They’re coming not only on Sabbath afternoon, but are attending Sabbath School, church and Kenhorst’s Friday evening youth program, Youth Connect. Little ones quickly volunteer to have prayer during the meetings and share prayer requests honestly during the prayer time each week.

Church members are responding as well. Once a month, members bring bags of groceries for the children. So far they’ve provided enough bags of groceries that every child has gone home with their own bag. When given a bag, one 9-year-old commented, “This will really help my family because we don’t have much food.”

This is just one of the ways that conferences and local churches are seeking to recapture the Seventh-day Adventist calling to mission and empowering youth. Will you join me in lifting up in prayer these efforts to incorporate our youth and adults together in the mission and ministry of Christ all across Pennsylvania?

Ray Hartwell is president of the Pennsylvania Conference.

Blue Mountain Academy students lead out in song service with neighborhood children.

BMA students mentor boys from the neighborhood.