Do you sit at home bored after church on a Saturday? Do you spend the last hour of the Sabbath waiting for the sun to go down? Do your kids need something to do? Look no further, because I have just the thing.
As I was growing up in the Adventist church, me; my family; and other church members would always close out the Sabbath by coming back to church an hour before sunset. It was there at church that we engaged in a program called the AYS(Adventist Youth Society) program.
The purpose of the program is to engage youth in activities which teach about the Bible. The activities include singing, games, devotions, and prayer. Although “youth” is within its name, anyone of any age can participate in the program, because we’re all His children.
Unfortunately, not all good things last. Somewhere along the line people within my congregation, people decided coming back to God’s house just to close out the Sabbath was too much for them, so AYS was moved earlier to after the fellowship meal. Was it better- not so much. Church members were too busy fellowshiping with one another to want to go to the back and do any other activities.
Last Saturday afternoon was the first time in a couple of years we had AYS an hour before sunset. We decided to bring it back to that time because we have a couple of new families coming into the church with young people. The youth of the church always need something to do. If you don’t think of them, they might walk away from the church as they get older. God doesn’t want to lose any of his sheep.
We began the service by singing a couple of songs. I was excited to bust out the Advent Youth song books we hadn’t used in a long time. The singing was even better when newcomer David Sael played on his guitar. Though he wasn’t familiar with the song book, it took only a few chord strikes for him to figure out how to play the selected hymns.
After song service we played about ten rounds of the Sword Game. The swords in this case is the Bible. In this game, The host calls out a scripture(ex. Genesis 3:10), yells “charge”, and the contestants quickly turn pages in their bible until they reach the text. Upon reaching the scripture, the first person to recite it wins the round. Playing this game reminded me that I have to open my bible more to familiarize myself with where every book of it is.
After we sheathed our swords, we then played a game called Miracles & Pitfalls. In this game there are four categories- character, place, object, blank. When you land on any of these categories on the game board, you must answer Bible related questions. Should you answer the question correctly, you roll the dice and advance. It gets interesting. Upon the board are spaces marked Miracles and Pitfalls. Miracles mean good things, such as advancing forward several spaces. Pitfalls mean trouble, such as going back a few spaces or losing a turn. The first person/team to get from start to finish is the winner. This game is an outstanding way to put your biblical knowledge to the test, as well as build up a bit of interpersonal communication if you’re on teams.
Overall, I thought AYS was a success for its first time back an hour before sunset. Seventeen people were in attendance, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I pray our numbers will continue to grow. You don’t have to sit around at home bored after church. You don’t have to check the clock every few minutes waiting for sunset time to hit. You can praise, learn, and have church fun with your brothers and sisters in Christ as the day dies in the West.
Have a good day and God Bless!