Faith through fun and gamesPublished 11:00am Friday, June 21, 2013
A group of youngsters, roughly ages 6 to 13, hurled balls back and forth while others tried to guard their castles on the lawn of St. John’s Lutheran Church. It didn’t look like the most Christian activity in the world, but the message got across.
“How do you guard your heart?” Troy Miller asked a heavy-breathing group of youngsters.
“With a shield of faith,” Owen Lillis, 7, quickly answered.
Troy, the director of Christian education, his wife, Stephanie Miller and more than a dozen other volunteers have led vacation Bible school activities all week at St. John’s Lutheran Church in northwest Austin, telling youngsters God is king. Dressed like knights and citizens of Medieval times, volunteers used the theme Kingdom Chronicles to teach lessons to more than 60 children ages preschool through eighth grade. Each day the groups used a separate message from a program called Answers in Genesis. On Thursday, they focused on avoiding the troubles Satan may throw at them and turning to the Bible for truth. Clearly, 7-year-old Owen was grasping the concept.
“The shield of faith protects you from the flames of the devil that the devil tries to shoot at you for making a mistake,” Owen said.
Inside the church, another group watched Pastor Thomas Ogilvie talk about Satan with a puppet in front of a castle.
“Satan throws things at you to try to get you to sin,” he said.
Ogilvie then asked the group if they were kings what they would ask of God.
“I would ask to be a good man and what to do because being a king would be hard,” said Noah Sash, 7.
Down the hallway, another group watched a film while at the other end a group made crafts and listened to Christian music with the help of some of the older participants.
“We found that’s a good way to get the older kids involved, give them a little responsibility,” Stephanie said. “They’re still learning.”
Every year, members of the church hold the vacation Bible school at St. John’s Lutheran Church with a different theme. Troy has worked with youth for about 10 years and has seen how games and activities can help deliver a message. This year, he wants the children to remember where to look for truth.
“In a world where truth is somewhat shifting, we want to go to the Bible where we can find that truth,” he said.