Amanda and I had the privilege to teach 1 of the 4th grade groups at our Vacation Bible School this week. As we began the week, she stated, “We both are used to being in charge in these type of situations. This is either going to go great or not so much.”
It went great. Amanda is such a gifted teacher and does such a great job. I just marveled at the way she would share the gospel each day (even if that wasn’t on the teaching plan, she would just go there) with these precious kids.
Since this was my first VBS as Family Pastor, I really wanted to be in the middle of things to see how they are going. This was also Julie Ridgeway’s first time at leading VBS and she did a great job. The team that led crafts, music, recreation, snacks, and teaching all did a fantastic job.
We changed a few things up this year and I heard so many great comments concerning more teaching time, mission focus, and even logistical improvements. We had a huge amount of children, and everyone was so flexible to adapt to the needs.
I got the unique privilege to speak to a gym full of children from K-4 to 5th grade every morning before we sent them off in groups. It was incredible how well they would listen and get going for the day.
While this season is an absolutely busy time as we are getting ready to relaunch our family ministry in a few weeks, I really wanted to make time to be a legitimate part of VBS and here is why:
- Children need to be connected to their pastors. It was incredible to get to know so many kids this week. While I have known their parents, getting to share with them the Bible, recreation, conversations, hi-fives, and so much more was so beneficial. As our church grows, I always want to be close to the children in it (Jesus taught me that – Matt. 19:14). It was great to have Jeff take time to share the gospel with the children and be around during activities. It is important to be relational with these precious gifts (Ps. 127:3)!
- Can’t see the whole picture without seeing all the pieces. We are evaluating and improving everything regarding family ministry right now. No stone is being unturned. I want to get my head around every aspect of it. While I felt like this was necessary, it wasn’t a burden or a chore – it was a privilege to invest my life into these children.
- Don’t change for the sake of change but change for the sake of effectiveness. It is always good to ask the question, “Why do we do that? Why aren’t we doing that? Is there a better, more effective way?” Too often we don’t evaluate things in churches. Making sure our children understand the gospel should be a thing we evaluate constantly. I am so thankful for a wonderful staff and leadership who has done this with VBS for years and I am honored I get to be a part of that team now.
- Children need to see men lead them spiritually. We are blessed that we had men in our church who took the week to invest in these children. While many churches are blessed to have godly women lead our children, they also need to see godly men who are passionate about Jesus invest in their lives. In many churches, men are tragically absent from the spiritual development in the home and in the church building. Weeks ago, Jeff called our elders to come and pray with those who needed prayer in one of our worship services. In the 9:30 hour, there were only a few available. I knew a couple were out-of-town, and I knew many of them led discipleship groups at that time, but I was unsure about the rest of them. As I walked into our children’s group, I noticed that three of our elders were teaching large groups and leading small groups of our kids. I was never so thankful we were missing so many elders with our adults!
- There is no better use of our time than investing it in our children. Since summer has been crazy for us with camps and planning, many people had told me, “Travis, you don’t have time to do VBS. Just lead the 10-minute devotion and then do what you need to do.” Investing the gospel in our children is what I need to do. In addition to planning and teaching the large group, I wanted to be in the middle of one of our small groups. Can you think of a better use of time than spending 15 hours of the last week with twelve 4th graders? Can you imagine the potential impact any of us can have with such concentrated time? Could I be a part of a greater work than investing the gospel and my life in them (1 Thess. 2:8)? I sure can’t. While I am busy and I have a list a mile long to get done, I don’t regret this week at all.
It was a complete honor and joy to join a great team at North Side’s VBS. Can’t wait to see the kids worship tonight and the opportunity to share with their parents. God is doing mighty things among us and I am just hanging on for the ride.