LCN Article
Get 'Em Started Young!

November / December 2018

Jason Fritts

A few months ago, while my family and I were traveling home from Sabbath services, our four-year-old son, Cooper, asked if one day he would be able to fly. That day’s sermon had addressed the incredible power and glory of God, and how we, as future newborn members of the God Family, will inherit the tremendous characteristics of our Creator. I had talked about God’s ability to manipulate His own physical creation, travel faster than the speed of light, pass through walls, fly among the clouds, and disappear into thin air. At some point during the message, little Cooper had heard something that piqued his interest, something that grabbed his attention. But of course! Who among us doesn’t get excited about the awesome potential of our future inheritance? So, my wife and I attempted to explain a few details about God’s wonderful promises to His children. Does our little guy now fully understand the incredible human potential and our ultimate destiny? Absolutely not. Nevertheless, his journey has begun.

The Bible is God's mind in print. It is living and powerful. It is His word, His message, and the deepest desires of His heart—shared with His prospective family. We often dig through its pages hoping to uncover another piece of the puzzle, striving to catch a clearer glimpse of the coming Kingdom. And while none of us fully understand every detail of what is coming, we can be encouraged by what we know of the exciting promise and significant purpose given to those who choose to live God's way of life. As the Father draws us to Him, He requires us to share His encouraging truth with our children, and with this in mind, the Preteen Camps of the Living Church of God seek to reinforce the godly instruction our kids must enjoy at home. It's never too early to learn the powerful message of God, so let's "get 'em started young!"

In Deuteronomy 6:4–6, we are admonished, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart." But He doesn't stop there! He continues, "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (vv. 7–9). His way of life is to be seen in everything that we do, and shared diligently with our children. Therefore, the primary mission of the Living Youth Program is to partner with parents in helping these young ones connect to the wonderful truth of God.

At the LYP Preteen Camps, we strive to foster a fun and challenging environment, an atmosphere centered on God's way of love and encouragement. Preteen Camps are paced more slowly than Teen Camps, yet similarly formatted with procedures that have served us well throughout the camp program. Dorm life encourages children to build relationships with one another. Action-packed activities are opportunities to promote new skills and experiences. And of course, whether music, sports, arts and crafts, or our Christian Living classes, all of our activities make developing more of the mind and character of God the goal for each of us in all things. We strongly emphasize the need for campers to learn from the Bible's examples, and to apply biblical lessons daily. We teach them that the Bible is the word of the living God, not just a storybook with colorful characters, and that it describes the real lives of real people, just like us, along with a Father and Elder Brother deeply invested in our future.

It's true that for now, Cooper will struggle to fully comprehend the incredible gift and potential that is before him. Nevertheless, we're told in Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." As parents, we have the joyful responsibility to share God's awesome truth with our young ones, and we pray that the Preteen Camps will continue to serve as a profitable complement to the godly instruction they receive at home. Let all of us continue working to unlock the mysteries of the Bible for excited children as they embark on the journey of a lifetime!