GRETNA, Neb.—Light rain on the morning of Jan. 21 turned into large, beautiful snowflakes as 70 teens gathered at Gretna Baptist Church for its annual Winter Games. The students all came from 12 churches fellowshipping with the Nebraska Association of Regular Baptist Churches. After enjoying donuts and hot chocolate while playing an icebreaker, the students, in grades six through 12, moved outdoors for creative games. They pushed friends on blocks of ice in a relay race, melted ice cubes in cups until the water reached a line marked in each cup, attempted to thaw and put on frozen T-shirts, and played dodgeball with the objective of knocking down a frozen milk or pop bottle.
Thoroughly chilled in the 30-degree weather but with smiles on their faces, the teens headed indoors to answer trivia questions related to ice and the movie Frozen. Their toes began warming up, and their souls were soon to follow as Blane Barfknecht, pastor of Chalco Hills Baptist Church, a church plant in the greater Omaha area, shared that true love means putting others before yourself (John 15:13). “The evangelistic message and Christian encouragement was refreshing and challenging as he used contemporary events and icons to illustrate and apply the Biblical statement that true love is a self-sacrificing commitment to someone else,” says Shawn Rittmiller, pastor of Park Lane Baptist Church in Omaha.
After a taco buffet dinner, the teens loaded into vans to ride 12 miles south to Mahoney State Park. There they ice-skated and enjoyed a large indoor play area. Rittmiller says, “The cooperative efforts among the NARBC churches makes this a successful and anticipated annual event.”