OK..close your eyes so you can better imagine the following…
Wait. Hmm…you can’t really read this if your eyes are shut…HEY! OPEN YOUR EYES! This won’t work!
OK…this time with your eyes open try to imagine the following: It’s summer. It feels like summer: it’s hot, sweaty, and humid. You can feel the energy in the air. A large group of kids is standing in front of you, jumping up and down, all eagerly excited for the song time during vacation Bible school. Everyone happily sings along with the upbeat music that is both fun and about Jesus. The adult leaders smile at each other, trying to take in all of the excitement while also trying to keep things from getting too crazy. Lots of hard work have resulted in an awesome opportunity to reach out to the kids in the neighborhood.
SO…where are you?
Church. Duh! It’s vacation Bible school. Where else would I be?
But what church? Where?
I was having several conversations with different people this past week about what my bag of tricks are. In other words, when I end up wherever I’m going, what is it that I’m going to do? Better yet, what am I good at? What do I get passionate about? What’s my thing?
If you’ve ever been around me when I’ve had at least 3 ½ hours of sleep (preferably at least 4 ½) you can probably tell that I love kids (check out the contents of my backpack if you didn’t catch on). Two summers of Camp ministry have definitely taken me from being a shy, to-myself kind of guy into a slightly more boisterous kind of guy.
Add on top of that two school years worth of experience now being a leader for an amazing youth ministry (I’m only a little bit biased), and you could probably guess that I’m alright when it comes to working with kids.
So…why did I have to close my eyes at the start of this post?
Oh yeah…getting there…
So youth ministry/camp/working with kids all kind of translates well into a lot of what I’ve also done: vacation Bible school (VBS). If you didn’t catch on from the start of this post, VBS is used by EVERYBODY. I’ve seen VBS by a lot of missionaries, whether they be in the States or abroad. I’ve helped lead VBSs for churches in Florida, Michigan, and Texas, I’ve helped missionaries working with kids and their families in Guatemala and in Peru, as well as with Burmese immigrants in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
What’s the big appeal of VBS? First, of all, VBS is a great way to reach out to kids. Often times, (I myself being guilty of this) we can focus just on trying to reach out to adults. But the reality is that everybody needs Jesus, kids included. Everybody can believe, kids included. I remember one VBS that I helped with when I was about 12-13 (so I don’t remember it too clearly), when one of the girls coming to the VBS who lived in the neighborhood but didn’t go to that church asked if she could be baptized. Duh. That’s what we’re here for! All of that hard work and all of those months of preparation in making the VBS happened as a tradeoff for one person coming to a saving relationship with Jesus—totally worth it! So we should be making sure that we reach out to kids.
Second, VBS is a great way to connect with the parents. Time after time, I’ve seen parents get connected to other ministries at a church after their kids are sucked in by the VBS. And like I mentioned earlier, I’ve seen this happen inside and outside of the United States. And that’s just mentioning a couple of things that make VBS awesome.
So, looking back at my bag of tricks (i.e. what I could implement in my ministry wherever I get called to be a missionary), probably one of the biggest ones for me is VBS. I’m good with kids (at least, I’m pretty sure that I’m good with kids…). I can kind of do music (I should probably be practicing my guitar some more). I have enough leadership experience to direct other people. I’ve got a bunch of other skills that relate to this.
Not to say that this is my only thing that I can do, nor saying that I shouldn’t be working on growing other skills, but this is probably the one that I know I could do, wherever I go.
Oh yeah…and you can still open your eyes if you’re that person who still hasn’t opened them. HELLO! YOU CAN OPEN YOUR EYES NOW! HELLO!