This week was Vacation Bible School here at the new church. It's a massive church, far larger than we're used to. They asked for help, and somehow I got volunteered. They told us to show up at 5:30 on Monday evening. We did. And they put me in charge of a group of 35 4th and 5th graders.
Yeah; 4th and 5th graders. Me. Thirty-five of them. I'm not really a kid guy. So when I showed up, and thy told me that was my assignment, I had to sit down and put my head between my knees.
As it turned out, I'm pretty good at corralling a gaggle of nine and ten year-olds. They can be extremely tiring, but I have to say, it's been rewarding.
Shawna had five and six year olds. The age span for the VBS was Kindergarten through sixth grade, so all together there were probably about 250-300 students. It was a daunting site, walking into the gym to such a massive crowd of children. In fact it scared me.
I've never really worked with kids before, but my expectation was that VBS was just overrated day care, and that my job would be nothing more than glorified babysitting.
It's a humbling experience to underestimate someone. And I was humbled this week. To realize that these kids have far more depth than we ascribe to them, than we give them credit for. The program was called "God's Big Backyard", and the theme for the week was "Serving". We talked about serving family and friends, about serving neighbors and the community, and about serving God BY serving others. We had prayer each night as part of our service to others. And my heart broke to hear a young boy ask for prayer for his parents who weren't doing well. And another girl asked for prayer for a friend at school who had a bad sickness. And, when we talked about the "rocky road" of life, one girl talked about her mom who was in the middle of a rocky patch because she's almost broke.
And a boy who, when the entire VBS group had their eyes closed telling God that they wanted to serve Him, walked over to his Dad and stood next to him, head down, praying with him and weeping silently.
They made food baskets for needy families. Washed the cars of elders in the church. Performed good deeds for family members. Became true servants--willing servants--and in doing so, served God.
Kids who really get it, who know what's it all about. I'm glad I had the opportunity to spend the week with a group of kids who are far deeper than you'd guess at first blush, who taught me as much about being a Christian in that week as I've learned in entire years.