By Pam Vig, Director of Children’s Ministries
Bethel Lutheran Church, Northfield
Wednesday afternoons at Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minn., always begin with a BAM. BAM (Bible, Arts, and Music) is a weekly after-school program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
This ministry has been in place in various forms for over 20 years. It began with a children’s choir rehearsal and has grown into an afternoon of activities including choir and chimes rehearsals, snack, chapel, Catechism class, and a Bible video. Also included is Kclub, a 30 minute activity time for kindergarten students; TNT (Trying New Things); game and art activities; and BLAST (BAM Leaders and Servants Together), a special servant leader experience for grades four and five.
The congregation contracts with a local bus company to transport children from their schools to the church. A pool of over 50 volunteers rotates in and out each month to serve 166 students. A nursery is provided for younger children of volunteers.
“Often parent volunteers get their feet wet by volunteering for a short stint at BAM once a month or so. This successful experience creates a comfort level with volunteering that eventually benefits our youth ministries and ultimately the entire congregation as families move forward together through the years,” states Barb Farmer, Director of Youth Ministries.
The afternoon ends with an opportunity for families to dine at Bethel Bistro where another team of volunteers serves up a home-cooked meal to families picking children up from BAM and those arriving for the congregation’s Wednesday evening activities.
Pam Vig, Director of Children’s Ministries at Bethel, states, “Every year our BAM ministry draws in several new families who have heard about us from their children’s friends who already participate in BAM. Our BAM children have become some of our best evangelists!”
Hannah Mahr, a former BAM participant, summed it up well in her original poem,
Bethel BAM is buzzing with bumblebees.
It is a beehive with lots and lots of honey.
The bees love it in the hive!!!