By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
Wednesday nights are “Live!” at First Presbyterian Church.
Joan Heslinga Boer, Christian education director at First Presbyterian Church, said the Wednesday Night Live! midweek program has been going for a bout 12 years now. The program stars at 4:15 p.m. each week, concluding by 6 in the evening.
Wednesday Night Live! programs take children through a portion of the Bible each week, explained Heslinga Boer.
“About three years ago, we started working our way through the Bible from Genesis all the way through to Revelation,” said Heslinga Boer.
Upon arrival at the church, there’s a worship time for the children, which includes music. The children then split up into rotation groups. One rotation group of children plays games, another learns a Bible story and another has craft time.
“Each one of the rotations is always about the story,” explained Heslinga Boer.
A meal is also a part of the program each Wednesday, Heslinga Boer said.
Having a midweek program at First Presbyterian Church is all about giving local children more time to learn about the Bible, noted Heslinga Boer.
“Myself and the other children’s ministers in town, we are trying to give as many possible hours and opportunities in this community to learn about the Bible and grow spiritually,” said Heslinga Boer, adding that a midweek program gives children “strength” and “spiritual weapons” to use when dealing with violence and temptations in the world. “They need to be reminded that God loves them and that they have a group of adults that also love them and care for them. We need to give them avenues to ask for help, to have a break, how to say prayers, how to ask for spiritual guidance during the week.”
Heslinga Boer said that the children who go to the church’s Wednesday night activities can rely on one another outside of the First Presbyterian Church’s walls during the week.
“It does give the kids a great chance to meet each other, and then when they do see each other in the community or at school, maybe they are having a difficult time — there’s a friend they know,” Heslinga Boer said.
The midweek program began after the church’s Sunday school activities started to gain strength, which they wanted to carry over into a midweek program, explained Heslinga Boer. She said the midweek program offers hope, inspiration and comfort during the week.
Although Wednesday Night Live! is geared toward children in ages 3 through fifth-grade, about half of the program’s leadership are teens, noted Heslinga Boer.
“So, the teenagers, although they are the leaders and the helpers, they are also getting the Bible stories and they are also getting the message,” Heslinga Boer said.
The large, fenced green space at First Presbyterian Church benefits those children participating in the Wednesday Night Live! program because it speaks to a diversity of activities for them, said Heslinga Boer.
“We offer a lot of variety because we want the kids to not feel like it’s just an extension of their school day,” said Heslinga Boer.
With a big emphasis on family, Heslinga Boer said they really want children to go home and visit with family members about what they learned during their time at the Wednesday Night Live! program.
“We really want to include the whole family in our Wednesday Night Live! program,” said Heslinga Boer.
To learn more about Wednesday Night Live! at First Presbyterian Church, search for them on Facebook visit www.oskaloosafirstpresbyterian.org/.
Are you a leader at an Oskaloosa-area church? Does your church have a Wednesday evening Bible study and/or youth group? Would you be interested in having the Herald do a story on those activities to be included in a series of stories?
If so, contact The Oskaloosa Herald at (641) 672-2581.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.