How to love kids
Last week, I met with a couple who are planning to join Chapel Hill this fall. As they shared their individual faith journeys, they both pointed to a clear moment in their childhood when they knew they belonged to Jesus. Each of these moments happened at VBS. The Holy Spirit used flannelgraphs and Bible songs with motions to show them God’s love for them. I wonder how many of you have a similar story. I know that I do. VBS was an important part of my childhood here at Chapel Hill. I have a distinct memory of watching teenagers act out the story of Jesus calling the disciples. The disciples were in a fake boat with tackle boxes and fishing rods, and plastic fish were thrown at them as Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” When they jumped out of the boat, threw their fishing rods to the side, and followed Jesus, I asked myself what I needed to cast aside to follow Jesus. It’s a question that I still ask myself.
VBS has been an important part of Chapel Hill for years. If you look at our Flashback Fridays on social media, you’ll see frequent pictures of staff dressed up in silly outfits, scads of team members in matching T-shirts, and smiling kiddos running around the gym. It is part of our DNA to “mobilize the next generation”. VBS really gets that next generation moving!
And this year was no different. We had 226 kids learning about how our God is Monumental! Our kids heard that God loves them no matter what, that he is everywhere, that he is in charge, stronger than anything, and surprises us with what he can do! That is a great message for our kids to hear. And they heard it through songs, games, science, art, bible stories, and the dedication of 143 leaders.
For me, it has been fun to hear about VBS each afternoon from the Hawkins girls. My younger daughter has been having a tough time with an upcoming move (don’t worry, we’re only moving five miles from our current house). On the second day, the KidVid Cinema was a story of two kids moving with their family, and the verse was Joshua 1:9: For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. It was just what she needed to hear. My older daughter was a co-crew leader for the first time. She said it was ‘the best week of her life…better than Disneyland!” That’s high praise! And she told us how she was able to encourage her group by sharing her story of having special needs and knowing God is in charge. Even our goddaughter visiting from Switzerland got involved and has loved co-leading a crew.
For the next few weeks, all of us parents who had kiddos at VBS will fight that mental battle of VBS songs playing in our heads as our kids beg to have them played on repeat. Those songs are written to be earworms. Every year during VBS, my mental song shuffle plays about 30 years’ worth of them. This year, I was reminded of the life-changing impact of those songs and lessons. I hope that our kids are singing about our Awesome God for decades to come! And I hope that we all join with them!
Thank you for being a church that doesn’t just love our kids. Thanks for leading them through the hallways, praying with them during snack time, acting a fool while doing motions, and showing them what it looks like to love and serve the church. I know that someday they will tell someone a story about learning about our Monumental God at VBS.