Another tropical storm system was traveling through. It was cold and wet and windy. Yet families came to Camp Chair Meetings. Two of the last three weekly outdoor gatherings were surrounded by rain and changing temperatures, yet families bundled their children and left their dry, warm homes to gather for thirty short minutes, in community, to read the word, toss some discussion questions in the air where children were full-on participants with the adults, prayed together and sang a benediction.
With the previous Sunday’s sermon as the jumping off point, families are gathering in small groups each Thursday evening to extend the message offered by our clergy team. Each Monday following the message, I am curating the sermon and other sensory elements onto a bitmoji classroom which we call the virtual parking lot for families to access on-demand. It sits on our social media pages and on the church website on the Children’s page.
Information to curate might include a Chuck Knows Church teaching on baptism if we had a baptism or John Wesley if the message is on Wesley’s Three Simple Rules. We’ll collect a couple of read-aloud children’s books related to the theme, a science experiment on the physical benefits of doing good, or a song with motions or the story of it’s making when our senior pastor ended a sermon singing I Have Decided To Follow Jesus. Linking all the references from YouTube videos already online to the virtual parking lot (bitmoji classroom) arranges the plethora of materials for what we find to be specifically relevant and developmentally appropriate for children of all ages and stages. Why children? Because I believe, “What’s good for kids is good for everybody.” (Mark Burrows)
The agenda or any text that is not available online is placed in a Google Sheet and linked within an image in the virtual parking lot for easy reference. In the agenda we place scripture reading, discussion questions, and any next steps we are offering for individuals or families to take the sermon message from the seat to their street.
With the sermon fresh on my mind on Monday, the Camp Chair Meeting virtual parking lot and agenda are prepared for Thursday, but published online on social media and the website for the in-person meeting on Monday afternoon, as well as available on-demand for anyone wanting to take it on the road, on vacation, or to the ball field to be shared at the tail-gate dinner before or after practice.
Two of the last three weeks we’ve been covered in rain and dipping temperatures, yet at least three families remain faithful to attend outdoors with their camp chairs under the entrance portico. Just found out that one family changed their Tae Kwon Do night to make Camp Chair Meetings a priority for their family for this season.
When I was a band mom, you would always find me in the stands every Friday night to support my son and his drum line. Rain, storm, freezing temps, melting heat or sunshine. The best part? There were plenty of others doing the very same thing! It’s what we did. It’s what we do. I will always do for even one what I would do for 100. It’s always about the ‘who’.
Each Thursday evening in September and October, families are gathering in small groups with camp chairs. Rain or shine. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.
“You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” Psalm 139:2