Ministry is such a multifaceted , mysterious word. Maybe it shouldn’t be. Because, when you’re doing it – when you’re over your head, surrounded by children who need to know Jesus – it doesn’t seem that complicated. Just love them like Jesus. To minister you don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to have it all together, you don’t have to be thoroughly versed in the theology of Christianity. You just have to care. That’s what I learned last week. Vacation Bible School changed my perspective… again.
Every year it changes my perspective. Every year I learn and unlearn things during that one precious week of ministry. I learn that ministry is never one-sided; both sides grow and learn through it. I learn the diversity of the gifts of my church family. I never expected to see one of the elders in an eighties hair wig and fake mustache surrounded by five and six year olds pretending to be sheep. Never.
Vacation Bible School, ministry: two subjects too often put in boxes by me and (I suspect) the rest of the world. Two things that grow my faith. I fear that I have failed to capture them here. I fear that the things I’ve learned are even now, only a week after, beginning to fade from my mind. So I will leave you with a piece written in the thick of things. One day that I week I managed to steal a few moments and write…
Jesus loves the children. The children love innocently, wholeheartedly not yet fully corrupted by the world’s ways. They love simply, truly, and wholly. When they fall they fall hard.
I love the children too, but probably for more selfish reasons. I love to see them smile and say my name as they rush over for a hug. I love the big eyed “Can I sit with you?” and how sitting involves leaning in close for a constant side squeeze. I love the feel of little hands in mine, and I love the brief connections of smiles. There is that moment of success with the difficult ones that is worth more than words can say. There are giggles and beautiful grinning faces.
Jesus says to be like the children. Even when they throw a tantrum they return to equilibrium shortly.They trust wholly, and they don’t worry about their futures.
There are so many things I love about the children- many attributes to be mimicked and taken note of. There are many moments to be celebrated and many lessons to be learned. But the thing I love to do most with the children, and the thing that I’ve been blessed by most this week, that is to hear the children pray earnestly, honestly, and simply. They pray with young voices to their Creator and Savior Jesus Christ.
So there you have it. God is working in me and in the children. God works through imperfect people. God uses ministry to effect not just the children’s hearts and minds, but the teachers’ too. That is what I learned and experienced last week.