Church’s prayer births children’s ministry
By Isaac Olivarez (10/17/04)
Members of North Oakland Church in Waterford, Mich., prayed for one year for God’s direction on how to effectively reach out to residents of nearby Pontiac. Soon, says John Gunn, who had pastored the church for 14 years, God made it clear the best way to reach the city of 67,000 was to start a children’s ministry.
“We met in an old YMCA and for our first session we had 23 children and an old bus,” says Gunn, 51. “We told them we had a new Bible club for kids called Power Company Kids Club.”
Gunn says he and church staff members worked bus routes and taught children by busing them to the church. But after nearly four years, Gunn and his wife, Michele, resigned as pastors of North Oakland Church, sold their home in upper middle-class Waterford and moved to an apartment in inner-city Pontiac to start the ministry full-time.
That was eight years ago.
Today, PCKC is part of the fabric of Pontiac, and reaches out to 2,000 children weekly in three Saturday sessions. The ministry also sponsors two character-building assemblies in the public school system each week as well as an annual Harvest Festival each year in conjunction with the Pontiac Police Department. The children are bused in with a fleet of a dozen school buses.
“We don’t look at what we’re doing as radical,” says Gunn of his move to inner-city Pontiac, which is plagued by drug addiction, gangs and prostitution. “God, because of His heart for the children, opened doors we couldn’t have kicked down.”
Children’s services consist of puppets, games, prizes, object lessons, skits and Bible stories. In 1998, PCKC started a children’s choir with 30 children and a Friday night service called Power Surge where 70 middle school and high school students meet for youth group-style services.
“I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Power Company,” says Dustin McClellan, 14, who first started attending PCKC in second grade. McClellan accepted Christ as Savior at a meeting and now senses a ministry calling.
Kuantele Sangster says lessons stuck with him throughout the week, causing him to think about Christ.
“Even though you go for the fun and games, eventually it draws your attention and grabs a hold of you,” says Sangster, 16. He says accepting Christ as Savior changed his life.
“The people I was hanging around with didn’t seem as appealing to me as before,” Sangster says. “I looked at those things as taking the place of going to church and Power Company. What fulfilled me was there. There was no need for getting in trouble.”
Gunn says McClellan and Sangster are examples of why Power Company Kids Club seeks to reach people at their most receptive age — as children. Sangster agrees.
“Children are the future,” Sangster says. “If you affect them now with God’s love, tomorrow will be a lot better than if Power Company wasn’t there.”