Archery ministry to be offered locally
A new archery-based Christian ministry is starting in Jackson County to teach youth and families the fundamentals of the sport and to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
On Target for Christ is a new ministry started by Marty DeVader of Holton, members of Holton First Baptist Church and other community members that is set to launch in January.
“It started 20 years ago when I met Ted Nugent, and he told me that if I took up archery and would work with kids, it could change their lives,” DeVader said. “He also told me that if you took a kid hunting, you would never have to hunt for your kid. I never forgot that.”
DeVader said his life was changed by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and his involvement with Wanamaker Woods Church in Topeka.
“We started On Target for Christ there and then John Motto and David Ent (both of Holton) brought their kids to be a part of it,” DeVader said.
The men agreed that the program would go over well in Jackson County and have been seeking donations and organizing the program since April.
A board of directors for the ministry was formed, and On Target for Christ received donations and grants for the purchase of equipment from the Justin Corbet Foundation (www.justincorbetfoundation.com), Miller Construction, Greive Construction, Lifetime Eye Care and the Holton First Baptist Church.
“We’ve just now been able to purchase $4,000 worth of equipment,” said board member John Motto, including mini bows for young children. “We’re getting everything lined up so we can start Jan. 10.”
On Target for Christ will meet every Saturday morning for nine weeks at the Holton First Baptist Church, 404 Juniper Dr. Each lesson lasts an hour and a half and will include a 30-minute Bible lesson followed by an hour of archery fundamentals. The final week of the session is reserved for a group tournament.
The sessions are open to anyone from first grade to adult, and the men noted that many families work through the program together.
“On Target for Christ is an opportunity to bring the community and families together for fun and growth in their relationship with Jesus Christ,” DeVader said. “The program reveals to the kids the importance of who they are to God.”
Two local children who have worked through the archery program, Jalee DeVader and Dalton Ent, have competed in the Ad Astra State Tournament in recent years and placed first and second, respectively.
“Not every kid is a football player or a wrestler or a basketball player, but we can teach most anybody to shoot a bow and arrow,” DeVader said. “There’s nothing cooler than watching a life be changed, and I’ve seen it through this program and through archery. It’s just awesome.”
DeVader and Motto said that archery teaches kids many life lessons.
“It’s all about discipline because you need patience when you are hunting,” Motto said. “We also have a strong emphasis on safety, and the kids have to follow instructions in order to shoot.”
DeVader said he has seen the program help children gain confidence and refocus on the right things.
“Archery is about being on target, and life is the same way,” DeVader said. “If you want to go through life doing drugs and drinking and those types of things, you aren’t going to get much out of life. But if you want to pursue something and study and go beyond what you think you are capable of, you’re going to get more out of life than you expect and you’ll be on target.”
Currently, the program has five instructors, but the men are looking for at least 10 more. Certification training for instructors is being held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 at the Holton First Baptist Church.
“Archery is just a tool that we are going to use to bring kids to Christ or bring them closer to Him,” Motto said.
There is a $20 charge for workbooks, shirts and snacks for the nine-week session, but some scholarships are available.
For more information, or to sign up for the first session, visit www.ontargetforchrist.net or call DeVader at 785-410-1089, David Ent at 785-207-0784 or John Motto at 785-554-4687.