Every year I say I'll help with Vacation Bible School.
Every year I regret that decision as VBS week gets closer. I start getting stressed out about getting ready (or not getting ready, since I'm a big procrastinator). I start thinking that the hassle is not worth it and I wish I would have let someone else do it instead of me.
Every year I'm so glad I helped with VBS after the week is over. This year was no exception. I've helped with Bible Stories for the preschool VBS for the last several years. This year I agreed to do the Puppets/Bible Story.
I hadn't done puppets before, but it was so much fun. The kids had a blast as they got to make the puppets talk and help tell the Bible story each day. We had stories about Creation, Angels telling the Good News to the shepherds, the Israelites being freed from captivity, and Jesus making a blind man see.
The kids loved it, as you can see. What always surprises me about VBS is how much I learn. Oh, I've heard all of the stories before. I know them well. But when I have to tell them to preschoolers, it makes me understand and appreciate them so much more. God's love for us, Jesus' miracles, the way the Bible helps us live and love God...all of those things are reinforced in my own heart. I hope I can pass that along to the children, too.
One of my favorite parts of this year was talking about Jesus setting the captives free. I brought a big paper chain and spread it out in a circle in front of the kids. I explained that sin can sometimes hold us captive, just like the chain. I had the kids put their hands through the links in front of them and pretend they were being held captive.
The children listened carefully as I talked about how sin sometimes looks ugly, like some of the links in our chain. Sometimes it looks kind of good to us, and I pointed out some links made of pretty patterned papers from my stash at home.
No matter how it starts out, sin always ends up holding us captive and getting us stuck.
After a while, we all said "Jesus sets us free!" and broke those chains.
I hope it made sense to the kids, but it sure convicted me of some things I had been doing mindlessly and reminded me that Jesus can set me free from any sin that is holding me captive.
I also did the opening and closing times this year, and one of the special parts of the morning was having a few preschoolers come stand by me and help close in prayer.
I keep praying that their week at VBS will stick with them and help them grow in their faith in God.
With faces like these, how could I not want to help with VBS every year? I'm pretty sure I'll be back again next summer...ready to learn right along with all of those preschoolers.
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:14-15 NIV)
Do you dread teaching or leading a group at church or in the community? How can focusing on God help you to enjoy it as you learn just as much (or even more) than the people you are teaching?