June & July are truly Kingdom-Building months as vacation bible schools or similar programming reaches out into the community of little people to offer a snack, a craft, a new song, and a fresh word all for the cause of Christ. All this and you don’t have to wear a tie.
SHARE – one of the first things we teach little people in weekday preschool is that Jesus likes it when we share. If you are a smaller church, call a larger church and ask what you can do to help. If you are a larger church, call a smaller church and ask what you can do to help. The children’s director at my home church does this exceptionally well. She invites smaller churches to coffee/tea gatherings in March (immediately after confirmation retreat) to begin encouraging smaller church directors with all the tips she has learned over the years. She also invites these folks to take a small part in the decorating at her church (100 paper lanterns) only to be blessed beyond measure with sets and props and extra resources to be picked up on the last day of her VBS. “Blessed to be a blessing.”
SERVE – another one of those things we encourage of our own congregations. Ever consider serving in someone else’s VBS? It is a guarantee of getting fresh ideas and learning more about how to provide an excellent VBS in your own house when you serve in someone else’s. AND it blesses the socks off of a Director to have a section leader or crew leader who comes with experience and an enthusiasm he/she doesn’t have to provide herself. AND it let’s a director “PLAY,” which few get to do anymore.
VISIT – This year I have the pleasure of sharing our multi-vbs-at-other-church experience with a family friend who has chosen to spend her summer following graduation serving the LORD through vacation bible school. On the 3rd day of VBS, at the church we are helping this week, the church invited her to serve at their church on Sundays. They had no idea she came all the way from Massachusetts to serve in vbs’s and didn’t even attend that church. Made us both smile.
NETWORK – Use facebook/social media to find out when and where other churches are having their Vacation Bible Schools (we used Children’s Ministry of North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church). Then begin making phone calls to find out what you can share, where you can visit, even where to go when you are blessed with 10 more kids than you had planned for and need memory buddies or tshirts or whatever. Then, be willing to make the drive to make it easier.
PASS IT ON – We are helping one church (new church start, just moved into a permanent building, presenting their first vbs to their community), who were blessed with leftover resources from a larger church, who will be passing their leftover resources (and those they didn’t use from the larger church) onto to us. After our week of VBS at the end of June, another church will pick up our goodies (and the leftover goodies from the other 2 churches) from our house to bring to their house to present their vbs 2 weeks later. Blessed to be a blessing.
INVITE – Invite the community to get involved. If you go to Stevi B’s, they’ll give you certificates for your vbs attendees AND your helpers/leaders/teachers. Our local Steve B’s actually came to the church we are helping this week and asked if they could drop off some certificates. If you fill out a “donation request form” at your local Chik-Fil-A 2 weeks before your VBS, they will graciously give you these huge paper “VBS Graduation Certificates” for a free 6-piece nugget for your students. When we were talking with the manager, he told us that he was helping at his church’s vbs this week during the day and working at night: “I offered to serve in the snack area since I work in the food business.”
Then when you go to pick up these precious donations, be sure to treat yourself to a small Banana Pudding milkshake because that’s how we roll for VBS in the south.