How it all began…
The GET REAL 4 Kids program began with a request from some college-aged young people to John Lanphear for help in starting a program for their peers that was relevant to what they needed and wanted at this time in earth’s history and in their lives. They felt like something was missing in what was currently offered to Christian young people. John told them he would pray about this, which he did on his knees.
As John was praying, he was given what he calls “a download from God” with the idea for the name “GET REAL”! He thought “that seems to be just what a lot of youth are thinking, and he ended his prayer thanking God for this name. As he got up off his knees, he seemed to get a strong impression that there was more, and to get back on his knees! That is when he was impressed that this name was actually an acronym, and upon asking God what it was, he said it was instantaneous: Go Everywhere To Reach Everyone Around in Love!
At the beginning, this program focused on the college-aged population and was led by two students at Andrews University with the encouragement and support of John Lanphear. The program was held in the barn of a local family and young people found a safe space to share, get support from each other in their walk with God, and receive Biblical knowledge, as well as having fun as a group doing wholesome activities.
Shortly after its beginnings, John and his wife Mindy were impressed to offer the GET REAL 4 Kids program at Otsego SDA Church, in Otsego, MI and the church board gave full support! The program was graciously offered to church members as well as the community. To get the word out, we walked around in the local neighborhood talking to families and handing out promotional flyers. Once the program began, word got out and the numbers grew to up to ~20 community kids who looked forward to “coming to church” every Tuesday night! Families could count on their kids having dinner provided and a safe place to have fun every week.
GET REAL 4 Kids is geared to children ages 7-14 (although younger kids are welcomed when accompanied by a parent). The program starts with a simple meal prepared in advance by volunteers or “take out” pizza, followed by a safe, supervised space to hang out and visit, play games, do crafts, or play outside (in the warmer months water games are sometimes involved! The group then enjoys a worship talk provided by our Pastor Sean Reed, John Lanphear, or Rob Quillin (our Pathfinder leader) followed by prayer time. The enjoyable time concludes with dessert.