Archives For grace

Well friends, our VBS ended last Friday.  The end of VBS is always bittersweet but we had a good week.  There were so many ways that I saw God working but I’ll share just a few:

Our volunteers were rock stars!  They were so ready to jump in and serve in various capacities, whether leading games, helping to keep our building safe, leading meaningful discussions, being crafty, serving snacks or making sure that our sound was up and running.  In fact, many of them took time off from work to be with us for the week.  It was great to see our volunteers come together to make the week great!

Hearing stories of meaningful conversations happening at VBS, in the car or at home were so inspiring.  Children were asking good questions and really grappling with what they saw and heard.

Seeing children worship was great!  They were not only singing, they were worshiping.  I know that God was pleased.

Here are a few pictures from Day 5:

Our thank-you gift to our fabulous family leaders (A Pinterest-inspired idea)

Our thank-you gift to our fabulous family leaders (A Pinterest-inspired idea)

Our family leaders made VBS s'more fun!

Our family leaders made VBS s’more fun!

 

All week, our children were asked to bring in food for a local food pantry we support.  Humphrey the Camel liked what we collected. :)

All week, our children were asked to bring in food for a local food pantry we support. Humphrey the Camel liked what we collected. 🙂

Day 5 also included taking down much of our decor so that we could prepare for our Friday night celebration service and picnic.  This was the first year that we held our closing worship service on Friday night – we usually hold it on the Sunday following in lieu of our ‘normal’ worship services – but because of our church’s core values is connecting, we wanted a way to connect families to each other as well as to their child’s leaders.

The service lasted approximately 40 minutes and highlighted many of the songs the children learned in addition to a special visit from ‘Moses’.  Our picnic (complete with inflatables, games, prizes and food) was a great ending to the day.  Seeing families connect was a beautiful thing.

All in all, when I think back to the week, the two words that come to mind are grace and beauty.  I described grace earlier in the week (you can read that here) but here’s how it was beautiful.

Seeing inter-generational ministry happening is one way that our VBS is unique.  Seeing teens serve with older members of our congregation is one of the strengths of our program.  Because of this, our VBS is something that seems to rally our entire church like no other event.

Seeing our staff come together and support our VBS makes me grateful to serve alongside my colleagues.  Every department in our church made a contribution to our VBS.  It truly is an all-church, all-staff endeavor.

Seeing the giftedness within our congregation makes me thankful that God makes us all different.  Some have a knack to make things pretty; some are extremely organized; some are fun-loving; some are deeply passionate about seeing children learn about God in a Bible-based environment and want us to keep the main thing the main thing.  VBS is truly a collaboration of gifts and talents.

Seeing the Holy Spirit move in the hearts of our children reminds me that despite all of our efforts, it is the Holy Spirit who prompts children to be receptive to the message of the Gospel.  We want children who don’t know Jesus to accept His free gift of salvation and we want children who know Him to know and love Him more.

I am truly thankful to my fabulous team who worked so hard and tirelessly to make it a fabulous week.  Once we all recover, we’ll celebrate! 🙂  To God be the Glory!

“I will bless the Lord who guides me.”

Psalm 16:7

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Today we kicked off our five-day Summer Bible Camp (aka VBS). Here I talked about how we were getting ready.

Yesterday was our set-up day and it was refreshing to see so many volunteers (of all ages) pitching in to transform our church into the wilderness.  When the majority of the set-up was complete, I left the church in a very reflective mood.  In fact, I was in a reflective mood for much of the day, thinking about the extravagant grace that God has extended to me time and time again.

You see, some Sundays I walk in to church more confident than others – yesterday was a day where I felt pretty good but I just couldn’t shake the feeling of being so thankful for God’s graciousness toward me and the ministry I lead…for the many, many ways that He has provided for our needs, for the awesome privilege it is to be able to share His love with children and seeing it ‘click’ in their eyes and the list goes on.  And as only God could orchestrate, one of our SBC volunteers came up to me yesterday, thanking me for being gracious to her (she felt that she was ‘out of the loop’ because of a family issue) but the fact that she still wanted to give us a smidgen of her time, we were thankful to her!

As I stood before the campers and volunteers this morning, my heart was again filled to overflowing.  All of our months of planning and preparing had brought us to this point.  At that very moment, I was thankful to God for His grace for all of the details that have consumed my thoughts and time for the past few months.  I was truly thankful for each and every child, teen, and adult in the room.  They were my very first God sighting for the day!

As I walked through the building for the duration of the morning, children were engaged and learning, volunteers were teaching and engaged with the children (I heard, “That was soooo cool!” countless times), team leaders were leading, and everyone was owning their piece of the VBS pie.  It was truly a beautiful sight.

Verse for the day:

“God answered, ‘I will be with you.’ “

Exodus 3:12

Here are a few pictures from Day 1:

Our main set

Our main set

Day 1's God Sighting Poster - I can't wait to see footprints covering this tomorrow!

Day 1’s God Sighting Poster – I can’t wait to see footprints covering this tomorrow!

A closer view of one side of the stage - I LOVE the color of the mountains!

A closer view of one side of the stage – I LOVE the color of the mountains!

The other side of our stage - our campfire was a big hit with the kids!

The other side of our stage – our campfire was a big hit with the kids!

One of our tribe signs

One of our tribe signs