Clinton Dixon

Harvest Kidz Junior Bible Boot Camp 2014: A Father’s Experience

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A father turns back the pages of time as he joins his six-year-old son at City Harvest’s Junior Bible Boot Camp 2014.

Harvest Kidz Junior Bible Boot Camp 2014: A Father's Experience

PHOTO: Clinton Dixon.

I became a Christian at the ripe old age of 27. As such, I never attended Sunday school, children’s church, church camps, youth groups and all the other fantastic programs catering to Christian youth. Now, as a father of two young boys who attend City Harvest’s Harvest Kidz, I not only have the wonderful privilege of watching my sons encounter Jesus but I also get to relive a childhood I never knew.

On Jun. 1, my son Nathan and I attended the Junior Bible Boot Camp at the church’s Suntec Covention premise; it was one of the numerous holiday programs organized by the Children’s Church for the June school vacation. Naturally, the name instantly had me envisioning military style Bible classes, extended workshops on how to effectively deploy spiritual warfare methods at the playground and drill sergeants yelling “drop down, soldier, and give me 10 memory verses, now!”

Thankfully, as the children (aged 5 to 12) assembled, the camp began–sans marching and uniform inspections—with a rousing round of praise and worship. It was quite a scene watching little raised voices accompanied by little raised hands praising God verse after verse, drawing deeper and deeper into God’s presence. I stood watching in awe from the back of the room as I felt the anointing fill the place.

The children were then divided into teams and sent to various stations, each one covering topics such as Biblical miracles, Bible verses and the second coming of Christ. I joined Nathan–just two months shy of his 7th birthday–in his group called Hope.

Station 1 began with teachings on the birth of Christ, Jesus’ early life and His teachings on God’s love. Station 2 brought with it the wonderfully animated teachings of teacher Joanna Sin explaining heaven to her young and eager audience. Both engaging and entertaining, she effortlessly swung from the spontaneous—singing “Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace”—to the thought-provoking, as she questioned the children on the teachings of heaven and the afterlife.

In answer to the question, “How does someone go to heaven?”, one child replied, “You have to be buried first.” He was gently  corrected, but not before sending the adults into peals of laughter; it demonstrated to me that it is possible to engage and meaningfully discuss complex Biblical topics with children of this age group.

An art and craft session followed where the children were encouraged to draw and paste together their very own version of heaven. My son’s “heaven” featured, of all things, numerous blue Ferrari sports cars (unsurprisingly, it was not too different from my ideal version of heaven).

Station 3 featured a “greatest hits” list of Jesus’ miracles: water turned into wine, the healing of the paralytic man and also the restoration of sight to the two blind men.

About four hours later, the Boot Camp started to wind down, with the children returning for another uplifting time of praise and worship. An altar call was given and many, many hands were raised, responding with enthusiasm to the call of God.

As I left the Camp with my son in tow, I was reminded of the words of Jesus from Matthew 19:14, “But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'” Camps like these are a wonderful way for children to come to Jesus, learn His ways and experience the kingdom of heaven.

My son and I both came away encouraged in our faith; Nathan learned something new about Jesus and I was myself blessed to be able to share that learning experience with him; it goes to show that sometimes reliving your childhood through your children isn’t such a bad thing after all!

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