From Generation to Generation

July 2022 | Written by Ellie McGinty

     Breakaway Field Days may be one of the best examples at Gashland of Psalm 100:5, which says, “For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever and His faithfulness to all generations.” Breakaway represents almost every generation at Gashland EPC, from elementary school kids, to youth group, to young moms and dads, to grandparents, all striving to be faithful as God is faithful. This year, we had over 80 kids attend, both from the church and the surrounding community. Laura Cooper, who headed up Breakaway this year, said that she saw God work through many things during Breakaway, but specifically through the good weather, the number of kids who came, and their response to the gospel. She said she loved “watching the kids get engaged with the lesson each day, answering questions. I spoke on the last day and I asked some questions about what was their favorite thing, the best thing they learned, and one girl said ‘I’m going to get baptized!’ Another kid said, ‘We don’t have to work for heaven!’ Just to see them engaged was really cool. I also saw, personally, two families come to church from Breakaway, and someone else said they saw even more.”

     The purpose of Breakaway is to give kids the opportunity to hear the gospel, but also to help them associate the church with goodness and community. The church is broken, but it is still God’s body, and as He is faithful to the church, so we should be also. Laura said that Breakaway is “a fun way for kids to hear the gospel and engage with the Bible. I just think that’s so important. I loved Bible school as a kid. I still remember it, I still remember the crafts I made. I just remember I so looked forward to that every year. It’s just a fun way to get kids excited about church and about Jesus and about the gospel.” But Breakaway is not just about fun and games. The heart behind it is to reach the younger generation and help them know Christ, the true Christ: “We need them to know Jesus and to love Jesus and to see the church as a place they want to come to. If we can raise up a generation of kids who know Jesus and who love Him and who want to come to church, that’s going to have a huge impact on our community and on our nation. And they might even bring their parents to church! I just think it’s so important to have a fun way for kids to hear about Jesus, grow in their walk, and again, make church a place they want to come to, and I think Bible school can be a really good starting point for that.” 

Breakaway is also an excellent place to serve and start cultivating a spirit of service in kids, as well as encouraging growth and interaction between multiple generations: “I do think it’s important for all generations to be a part of this. No matter where you are in your life, you have something to offer a child, and you can gain something from it too. I would also really encourage young moms and young dads to get involved with Breakaway more. I know we all want our kids to serve, I’ve heard that a lot, but the best way to teach your kids to serve is for them to see you consistently serving at a church. Bible school especially is a really good opportunity to engage with your kids at church [and for them to see you serving.] To see your kids, what they’re doing each day and what they’re learning – I think parents would love it if they could see it.” 

While the concept of home is rapidly being deconstructed in our day and age, Laura’s hope for the kids from Breakaway is that they would truly find a home in the church: “I hope the kids are excited about church, that they see the church as a place they want to come and have it be a big part of their life. I hope that families start coming to church, because that would be awesome, to see parents, hopefully plugging into our church but also into any Bible believing church. I would love for us to reach more kids next year, more of our church kids, but also our community kids too.” The church as the family of God is also a beacon of light in the midst of the deconstruction of the family as well: “One of the coaches had a really good point during our volunteer debrief on the last day while we were discussing serving lunch. He said, ‘You know, we all grew up, probably, in a family where you had family meals together. A lot of these kids may not have that, so for us to be able to sit down and eat and talk about the day is a real blessing.’ I think that [the church] can model family to kids, to some degree. When they see men and women coming together and genuinely loving on them, that can model family to them.” 

Breakaway Field Days is always a highlight of the summer here at Gashland, and that is primarily because of the amazing volunteers, so Laura wanted to make sure that she said “A huge, huge thank you to all the volunteers. Every volunteer was amazing. I didn’t have to worry about anything, it was just awesome. I would say pray now about God working on the hearts of kids for next year, and to work on the hearts of the families, to get them to come to church. And make a plan of volunteering next year! I think you would love it. It would be a huge gift to our kids and the kids in the community, but also to you as a volunteer.”