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Living like superheroes, working like bees in Jones County churches

 

William Beaver

C.J. Adams from Haddock Baptist Church displays a crawdad at Camp Creation. The camp was jointly sponsored by Haddock and Elam Baptist churches.

HADDOCK — “Superheroes” – that is what William Beaver, minister of education and family ministry at Haddock Baptist Church, wants the children of his church to become. He insists that he wants the boys and girls of the Jones County church to be able to conquer the “supervillian” (Satan) in the strength of the Holy Spirit.

Each summer Beaver plans a summer camp called “Superhero Camp.” This year the camp will be conducted on the campus of Brewton-Parker College, where Beaver graduated in 1989. Elam Baptist Church, also in Jones County, will partner with the Haddock church in developing and participating in the unique children’s camp.

The two churches combined their resources and took a group of 38 children and adults to 4-H Camp Wahsega in Dahlonega earlier this year to participate in another fascinating experience during spring break called “Camp Creation.” Beaver explained, “Holistic education is a high priority at both of our churches, and we knew of the terrific outdoor environmental education curriculum being offered during the year at Camp Wahsega and wanted to plug into it.”

“Camp Creation” was a hands-on camping experience where the children not only learned about the basic science of ecology and conservation, but also about the Creator and God’s calling to be good steward of all of creation.

“The workshops, led by trained educators, provided the fun and environmental education piece, and we worked together to provide the spiritual elements,” Beaver continued.

Elisa Riezinger, children’s minister of Elam Baptist, planned the Bible studies and crafts, while Beaver gave the campfire messages and provided self-guided “sealed orders” to help the children learn about Christ through daily quiet times. Riezinger and Beaver wanted the children to have fun during their spring break, but felt that it was a great time to help them with their education and lead them closer to God by helping them discover truths in creation.

William Beaver

At right, “Creation campers” learn the importance of teamwork during a challenge course. The camp was held at Camp Wahsega, a 4-H camp in Dahlonega.

Beaver commented, “The more kids learned things about entomology (the study of insects), herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians), and astronomy, the easier it was to make the connection to God and to realize how He is the centerpiece of all they discover.”

The four-day recreation-filled and discipleship-oriented “Superhero Camp” planned for this summer will help 3rd through 5th graders discover what contributes to supernatural spiritual strength. They will look at “superheroes” of the Bible as well as some modern-day “superheroes.”

“Primarily,” Beaver stated, “we want kids to leave camp beginning to see themselves on mission for Jesus.”

Those who know Beaver best are keenly aware that he is extremely creative and ingenious when it comes to developing children’s programs. He has developed Haddock’s own rotational, hands-on Sunday School called “Faith Village.” The children’s Bible study space has been converted into a replica of a Bible-times village, complete with Mary and Martha’s Kitchen (a cooking/Bible learning center), Solomon’s Lab (a computer learning center, Bible map, and timeline room), Joseph’s Carpenter Shop (a crafts/Bible study room), Greek Theatre (amphitheater for stories, movies, puppets, drama), and Temple Time (a mini-version of the Temple containing the Ark of the Covenant).

Beaver emphasized, “Kids learn all about Bible heroes, memorize Scripture, place Biblical books in proper sequence, learn theological concepts and Christian symbols, and best of all, dig into their Bibles each time they are in ‘The Village.’”

The Beehive Club is another brainchild of Beaver.

Elam Baptist Church

Elisa Riezinger, children’s minister at Elam Baptist Church, cautiously handles a snake at Creation Camp. Twenty-nine children from Elam and Haddock Baptist churches attended the camp.

“The Beehive Club originated from the little-known symbol of the Christian church, the beehive,” he said. “It’s a symbol that illustrates how Christians in a family of faith work together for the good of all. They produce fruit (sweet honey) and are very thrifty in their living. They are all focused on their mission.

“We have brought in real beekeepers to teach the kids real facts about bees and how they benefit us. The bee theme keeps it all together, but the kids learn a lot about themselves, the world around them, and the Bible. They learn the gospel message and how to work together to relay it to others.”

Five years ago the church decided to give the RA and GA leaders a mid-year break, and developed the Beehive Club for the summer months. During the first summer the children learned the Beatitudes and earned trophies for memorizing them. The next summer they learned the fruit of the Spirit, the Ten Commandments, and the 23rd Psalm. This summer the focus is going to be upon the Lord’s Prayer.

The Beehive Club also has some kind of mission project for each summer. They have ministered locally by seeking to meet the needs of homebound people and those in nursing homes and ministered globally by collecting money to actually buy beehives and bee colonies for Heifer International hunger relief projects.

Vacation Bible Schools have traditionally been “huge” at Haddock in Beaver’s estimation with more than 300 in attendance each summer. Beaver looks forward to another successful Vacation Bible School this year, because of the large number of willing lay leaders who roll up their sleeves and work hard to produce fruit (just like in a beehive).

For a town that has only one caution light, things are buzzing for the children at Haddock Baptist Church.