November 2, 2017

Making an impact through Kingdom Teams

Written by  Kaylene Derksen
At a Vacation Bible School at West End Mennonite Fellowship in Lancaster, Pa., Solomon Kakule, 14, does crafts with Zachary Hummel, an EMM intern who is helping lead summer Kingdom Teams. Kakule plays soccer at McCaskey High School and attends Westminister Presbyterian Church. Photo by Tammy Evans. At a Vacation Bible School at West End Mennonite Fellowship in Lancaster, Pa., Solomon Kakule, 14, does crafts with Zachary Hummel, an EMM intern who is helping lead summer Kingdom Teams. Kakule plays soccer at McCaskey High School and attends Westminister Presbyterian Church. Photo by Tammy Evans.

What are Kingdom Teams? These teams are made up of church youth groups who have signed up for a one-week service opportunity during the summer. Participants stay in a community setting, close to their outreach location in Lancaster, Pa., and receive discipleship training. They apply these discipleship and kingdom principles as they serve refugees and others. Activities have included serving refugee children and youth through a number of different activities and collaborations with local agencies as well as setting up an apartment for an arriving refugee family, sorting donations, or other projects that benefit local organizations serving refugees.

This past summer, one EMM Kingdom Team (K-Team) had planned to hold a week of daily Bible school and children’s activities for children in the community. But there was one problem — on the first day, only a few kids showed up! Not to be deterred, the K-Team staff and members of Petra Church youth group took fliers and went door-to-door. They especially focused on areas where refugee families live and invited them to the Bible school at West End Fellowship.

At one house they met a family from Syria. This family has found themselves on the edge of even the small Syrian community in Lancaster. But when the team knocked on the door, they were invited in by the family. One staff member recognized a girl and embraced her warmly, extending the invitation to her to attend Bible school. Hearing anti-refugee rhetoric is normal for these families forced from their homes by war and tragedy, but yet here was a warm hug from a North American. It made a big impact!

Despite the initially low numbers, the K-Team staff was not willing to give up. Word spread and more children came each day. The week began with four kids, but ended with 30 participants who enjoyed Bible stories, games, crafts, snacks, dancing, and general relational fun!

K-Teams are one way to bring the kingdom of God to earth here in Lancaster County.

Each year, EMM’s Impact Fund helps support K-Teams and other programs that provide training, resources, and opportunities for everyone to serve God and engage the world around them. If it is important to you to see these opportunities continue in our community and around the globe, please consider giving generously to the Impact Fund. May God bless you as you move in mission wherever you are!

Kaylene Derksen serves as Development director at EMM.