Lake City (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church recently transformed itself into a life-size version of the popular children’s board game Candy Land as part of its summer ministry for kids.
About 65 kids turned out at the church earlier this month for the event, which featured various stations set up around the building with place names picked from the Candy Land game, such as Peppermint Forest and Chocolate Swamp. Each station had a Scripture verse or biblical life lesson associated with it, said Wendy Vrieze, the church’s worship and children’s ministry director.
The theme of the night, “Path of God’s Sweet Love,” came from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, in which the apostle Paul describes the aspects of love. For the verse about love persevering, a kiddie pool was set up filled with Skittles candy and one single M&M candy.
“The kids would break into different teams, and the whole team is trying to find the one piece of candy that has an ‘m’ instead of an ‘s.’ We teach a lesson during that—love perseveres, it doesn’t give up on people when things aren’t going well, when it’s not easy,” Vrieze said.
The Lake City church has had a summer program for kids for three years, with one event per month, capped off by a major event at the end of the season.
“Last year we had a race car-themed event where we had a bunch of race cars come to our church parking lot. We had different drivers share testimonies. They revved up their engines and did little demonstrations,” Vrieze said.
Most of the kids who came to the event come from the surrounding community. Vrieze said the summer program has helped bring at least a dozen new families into the congregation.
“We meet these families—these kids and these parents—at these summer events, and then we start seeing them come on Sunday mornings,” she said. “It’s cool because it doesn’t even stop there. Some of those families have become members, and they started serving. It has just been so rewarding.
“These events have been the first step in the door for so many kids, and consequently, their parents and their families, and to see these families start to grow in Christ and in turn, begin to serve, has been amazing.”