Vacation Bible School preparations started about three months ago with a group of six praying and planning for the incredible week we’ve been experiencing together. It’s culminated in a week where there’s been dinner nightly for nearly 100 kids and the 50 some volunteers. We’ve enjoyed living Bible stories, creative crafts, and games that left kids flushed and sweaty but smiling big. We’ve sung our hearts out in worship songs and have learned more about how we are treasured by Jesus. One eight-year-old told me that their favorite part was “all of it.” As I said it’s been an incredible week.
If other kids are like my own when VBS ends they will be a little sad and miss it. While if other leaders and parents are like me, they will be grateful for some rest and that VBS is just once a year. And yet I think there are valuable lessons we can carry forward as a church as we reflect on the beautiful things that have happened. I’ll share three.
Lesson One: It is incredible what we can do together. There has been a ratio of about one leader for every two children involved in VBS, plus all the parents that came to guide the littlest ones through. That’s what the incredible week required of our church to pull this off this way. We also partnered with Advent Health which gave a generous donation, a church in Missouri literally loaded us up with our best decorations, and friends from our sister Adventist churches in the area helped. It took extra time and coordination to pull everyone in but seeing kids give their hearts to Jesus makes it so worth it. As Paul tells us, the body of Christ is made up of each of us and truly cannot function as it should in all its glory without the contributions of every disciple. The more we can do that pulls us all together the more and better we will represent Jesus to the world.
Lesson Two: Doing together brings us together. That may seem rather obvious but what I mean is this. In our VBS efforts, I have met people from our church that I didn’t know existed. Getting focused on a mission we all care about brought people out of the shadows, both volunteers and members and nonmembers whom we hope will be future members. We have bonded as adults, the children have built friendships and the bridge between younger and older members has been fortified. This leads me to lesson three.
Lesson Three: We should do this more often. While we may be glad VBS is once a year, we would love to see our church grow all year long. This will require ongoing prayer and planning but as we’ve seen, the results will be well worth it. Tom Deutsch says he’s never seen this church more active and the credit for that falls on Jesus moving on the hearts of those who came together to dream a big dream and walk with Jesus one faithful step at a time until it was accomplished.
If you want to experience and reveal Jesus more in this community as He invites us to, I urge you to come together in service in a consistent way. This is where some of the greatest joy in the walk with Christ is found. It is what His heart beats for. I’ll close with words from Paul and Jesus. I invite you to reflect on what they mean for your life.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. - Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20 ESV