It was the first day of VBS this past summer. The decorations were up, the mascots were out front for pictures, the high-five guys were greeting kids enthusiastically, and the theme music was thumping (probably much to dismay of the church neighbors). I stood and welcomed kids with smiles on their faces as they were about to enter the heavily themed world of our Kidlife Campout VBS.
That’s when I saw them. A mother having to drag her child into the church. This isn’t a scene you often see for a school-aged child that has been on your campus before, so I stood to the side and listened.
The mom was saying something like this, “You will like this. This is VBS, it isn’t boring like Sunday morning!”
Frozen. That was me as I watched them walk by and I was still processing what I had heard. On one hand as a VBS director, I was excited that her mom wanted her to be there, but also as the children’s minister and leader of kid life groups on Sunday, I was mortified, hurt, confused, and, well shocked.
I am a verbal processor and while I wanted to immediately step in and say a few things (not sure if they would be grace-filled), I decided to press through the day and let this scene simmer in my heart and mind. So now that we are two months past this day I have some thoughts – thoughts as a parent and a kidmin leader.
Thoughts as a kidmin leader:
- I love the quote by Howard Hendrix that says “It is a sin to bore a child with the Word of God.” As a kidmin leader that strives to have a Gospel-centered ministry (often failing) I wonder if I am guilty of making other things more visible than the Gospel and the life-changing truths of the Word of God.
- Do the kids and families in our ministry only see VBS excitement level one time a year, or is it a common thread in all we do in our ministry?
- If my ministry is Gospel-centered, that means God is the center – not our ministry, not a theme, not an event, not decoration, not the leaders, and not “fun.” Do I allow what matters most to be pushed to the side for the praise/expectation of man?
- How am I making sure that each week we get to teach the Word fo God to children, the same amount of excitement and dedication is shown to kids and families?
- How am I modeling as a leader that holiness not happiness is our goal?
Bottom line: My job is not to entertain. I am called to proclaim the Gospel to kids and families, and in my humble opinion, there is absolutely nothing boring about that! My goal is to make the good news of Jesus the attraction whether it be on Sunday, midweek, camp, or VBS. I can probably be more faithful in that week-in-and-week-out and also be diligent in not allowing a themed week in the summer to get more glory than God.
Thoughts as a parent:
- If I teach my child (and remind myself) the truth that God’s Word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12) then each opportunity we have to be exposed to it can be an opportunity for growth, conviction, comfort, direction, and to see more of Jesus. Whether that time is themed with pomp and circumstance or not, it is anything but boring.
- I must be more intentional to model and teach my daughter that church is not a place of entertainment, but one of worship.
- The sheer fact that we have the absolute privileged and blessing to walk into a church, week in and out, without the fear of death or persecution is one we should not take lightly. In an age-appropriate way, I want to help my daughter understand and grasp that there are many that give their lives for the opportunity we can so often take for granted.
- How am I modeling as a parent that holiness not happiness is our goal?
Bottom line: My job as a parent is to point my daughter to Jesus and with His help may I do that as enthusiastically on a cold, rainy November Sunday as I do for VBS. I always said, before having kids, that I longed to minister to my own 24/7. Well, God blessed me with that opportunity and am I making the most of it?