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Church with ‘No Kids’ Turns Summer Camp into Year-Round Children’s Ministry

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The Catoctin View church reaches dozens of non-Adventist children each month through children’s ministry programs.

A church with “no kids” has turned an annual summer camp program into a year-round children’s ministry.

For the past three summers, the Catoctin View church in Thurmont, Md., has been a hub of youthful energy and learning, thanks to its Noah’s Ark Summer Day Camp. Catering to children aged 5-13, the program has offered daily activities each July, ranging from Math and English tutoring to local field trips. It also features one of the largest outdoor slip-n-slides in the state of Maryland.

However, the congregation wasn’t satisfied with limiting their children’s ministry to just the summer months. To build on the success of the summer camp, the church has launched a year-round children’s ministry. Bi-monthly children’s services are now held on the first and third Sabbaths of each month. These kid-centric worship programs regularly attract between 15 to 20 children from non-Adventist homes, some of whom are transported to and from the services by a church-operated bus.

The expanded focus on children’s ministries has already borne fruit, leading to seven baptisms so far.

Alvin Payne, a Bible worker at Catoctin View, revealed that a community survey identified high-quality children’s programming as the top factor for attracting people to a church in the area. Payne observed that the renewed emphasis on children’s ministries has allowed the congregation to engage community members who might never have otherwise visited the church.

Cesar Gonzalez, the pastor at Catoctin View, noted the strategic importance of children’s ministries. “This type of evangelism reaches the audience that every church needs—young families,” he said. “It is the starting point of an important relationship and an integral part of our cycle of evangelism. From there, we can lead a family to other programs and services that meet their needs, ultimately providing them with the opportunity to make a decision for Christ.” 

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