If one could describe the biggest focus for the Dodge Center Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Dodge Center, Minnesota, it would be evangelism and outreach. Last fall, the church prayerfully prepared its congregation to host a 21-session Bible prophecy seminar entitled “Revelation of Love,” presented by Pastor David Machado and Revelation of Love Ministries.

While the series was targeted at adults desiring to learn more about the book of Revelation and prophecy, it also included a special Bible seminar aimed at children ages 4-11. After much prayer, Lydia Fleming (Union College ’19, LLU ’23), answered the call to lead out in this children’s portion of the Revelation of Love series. Concerned about finding volunteers to preach a sermon each night, Lydia prayed hard about whom to ask. “I prayed and prayed and made a few phone calls, and God answered that prayer right in front of my eyes,” Lydia stated.

One of those phone calls was to the teachers at Maranatha Adventist Christian School and Ascent Adventist Academy. Lydia, Andrea Vassel of Maranatha and Josh Ahn of AAA, started talking and realized that there were exactly 21 students between grades 3 and 10 – just the right number of “preachers” to present sermons each night for the children’s program.

The children in both schools worked hard with their teachers to prepare 30–45-minute sermons which included a Bible story, a central lesson or biblical concept, and a memory verse. The series’ primary goal was to teach the kids about the Bible and Jesus’ love for them, but it also focused on concepts such as the Sabbath, salvation, heaven, healthy lifestyles, baptism and what happens after death. Attendance for each meeting ranged from 19 to 30 children and, along with the sermon, the program also consisted of songs, a craft and a science video.

Each meeting offered the opportunity for children to memorize a verse that correlated with the featured sermon. The children received prizes if they learned the memory verse. Lydia said that kids started begging their parents to come each night just so they wouldn’t miss a meeting.  “I had one parent tell me that their kids were sick one night and the kids sat home crying, saying ‘I can’t miss a night, just take us!’” Lydia reported.

At the end of the meetings, kids who attended more than 15 sessions received a Bible as a final gift. More than 20 Bibles were given that night, with many students gathering around their new Bibles after the meetings were over. One child said, “I wish this could go on for a whole year!”

For Lydia and many in the Dodge Center Church family, the most beautiful aspect of the seminar was having the children who attend Maranatha and Ascent Academy present to peers of their own age. Not only were the children in attendance more engaged seeing their friends present, but the students who participated in sharing about Christ were actively witnessing to their friends. The Dodge Center Adventist Church is thankful and blessed to have teachers who are committed to spreading the Word of God and teaching their students how essential it is to their personal walk with Christ.

This focus on children both sharing and receiving the message of Christ’s love has had a profound impact on the young and old of the Dodge Center Church.  Having gained 25 requests for baptisms or requests for preparation toward baptism, the Dodge Center Church has felt the immense outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the past few months in their small town. The world is hungry for the Word of God, and the members pray that, as they continue to minister to others around them, they would be able to reach ALL people who have a passion to learn about God.

“If I could share one message with other churches considering hosting a seminar for their community,” said head elder Tyler Coleman, “it would be to not forget the children and youth in the planning process.  It is incredible how God led in this aspect of our Revelation of Love series.”

Information provided by Lydia Fleming and Malachi McNeilus