By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
Many Oskaloosa area churches offer Wednesday evening activities and First Assembly of God Church is no exception.
The Rev. Troy Renter, student ministries pastor at First Assembly of God Church, said there's a wide variety of activities that take place each Wednesday night through his church.
The church offers spiritual and social enrichment for all age groups beginning with pre-school children all the way up to adults.
Renter explained that each age level of class for children builds upon one another and have a common theme each week.
When children reach junior high age, they can join the church's youth group for that age of students, which is part of Fist Assembly of God's “Wednesday Night Live,” explained Renter. This youth group meets at the old Whittier School that the church owns, also known as “Straight House.” The goal with this group is to grow and develop the youth, Renter noted.
“It's a lot of high-energy, live worship,” explained Renter. “They play some crazy games. We build what we call, 'connection groups.' We break them down into smaller groups to discuss the topic for that night and then we have a relevant message for them for their age bracket and what they're dealing with now.”
Although it's held on Sunday night, as opposed to Wednesday, the First Assembly of God Church has a senior high group that meets at the Straight House. A church flyer notes that this group “is a great opportunity for Senior High students to experience life together in a real and relevant way.” It also notes that the group provides an “opportunity to connect with each other, to be encouraged and grown in their faith journey with Jesus.”
Renter said all children learn differently. He noted that children involved in his church's activities learn social and spiritual skills.
“Our goal is to not only grow their spiritual relationship, or develop their spiritual relationship, but also to teach them how to connect with other people,” said Renter.
Encouraging young people to be a part of their community is also important, Renter said. He also noted that children, and their parents, have been a part of fund-raising efforts to build water wells in Africa, as well as helping bring food to children in Haiti.
On Wednesday nights, it's not all about giving children in different age groups spiritual opportunities. Renter noted that many parents are involved in their adult Bible study, which takes place at the same time as the children's activities. Adults and children are able to build upon what what taught at that Sunday's service on Wednesday nights, added Renter.
So, why is it important to offer activities and opportunities to people of all ages beyond the traditional Sunday morning service?
Renter said the teachings offered at Sunday morning service and Wednesday evening can build off of one another in order to promote social and spiritual growth. It gives children something that can perhaps help them from that time period in the middle of the week until the next Sunday morning, he said.
“I believe if you took most of the churches' Wednesday night activities out, the kids would just wander the streets — have nothing to do, nothing to be involved in,” said Renter. “It gives them something to look forward to, to be involved in.”
To learn more about Wednesday evening activities at First Assembly of God Church, visit www.oskyag.com.
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.