SAULT SAINTE MARIE, MI – As fans of the writings of C.S. Lewis know, Aslan was the main character in Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books. Lewis said that Aslan typified Christ in his novels. Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) church planter to Native Americans, Bill Haas says, “Like Aslan, the Lord is on the move among the Native American people.
It has been an exciting summer in ministry among Native people. In June, Bill Haas and Grace Fellowship held their very first Vacation Bible School (VBS) outreach in Sault Sainte Marie. A visiting team from the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina came to the “Soo” and did the Lifeway “Submerged” VBS. Seven children from the Sault Chippewa Reservation gave their young hearts to Jesus!
In July, Haas loaded up youth from Sault Sainte Marie, Bad River Chippewa Reservation (Odanah, Wisconsin) and Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Reservation (Wisconsin) and headed south to Windermere Baptist Conference Center on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. They joined more than 740 other Native Americans from the U.S. and Canada for the Warrior Leadership Summit (WLS) 2016. Eighty-three different tribes were represented among the attendees of the Summit. WLS is an annual Native discipleship conference for Native Americans ages 15-35. There are Native Christians attending as well as unbelievers invited to the summit to hear the Gospel. This year, more than 240 Native American young people responded to the Gospel and began a new relationship with Jesus.
Native American youth from Michigan joined over 740 other Native Americans from the U.S. and Canada for the Warrior Leadership Summit (WLS) 2016. (Photo by Bill Haas)
In one service, a long wall was covered with a huge sheet of white paper. The young people were challenged to be willing to say to Jesus “I’m all Yours, Jesus! I’m all in.” Those who accepted the challenge signed their name to the wall. About 125 young Native Americans rose to their feet, moved to the wall, and made their commitment. Many used their phones to take pictures to remind them of their commitment.
A few weeks later, Haas hosted a visiting team from Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Kentucky, and they put on a VBS Mega Sports Camp on the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Reservation in northern Wisconsin. There was a record number of 63 registered Native American children during the week. This was the largest VBS ever on this reservation. Parents, grandparents and other caretakers were excited to bring their children. Ten children responded to the Gospel message, and gave their hearts to Jesus.
Haas says, “Doors are opening for more ministry among Native American people in Michigan and the entire Great Lakes region.” He will be traveling to Indian Falls Creek at the beginning of August to speak to more than 1,000 Native youth. It is a Native American family camp, and the largest gathering of Native American Christians in North America. Last year, more than 3,000 attended. Haas will be teaching youth, and promoting the great need for church planting in Michigan among Native Americans in the Great Lakes region.
Many years ago, Dr. Billy Graham said in an Albuquerque conference: “The greatest moments of Native history may lie ahead of us if a great spiritual renewal and awakening should take place. The Native American has been a sleeping giant. He is awakening. The original Americans could become the evangelists who will help win America for Christ! Remember these forgotten people!” Haas says, “Like Aslan, God is on the move among Native American people.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Haas is a church planter for the BSCM.