Vacation Bible School time is almost upon us again. Oh, you may not think so if you are in third grade and summer vacation still seems a lifetime away; but if you are a Sunday School teacher or a parent in a local church congregation, chances are the VBS leader has already approached you and asked if you will volunteer in June, July, or August of this year. You may already have your preparation materials in hand. Many years I have rushed, with others in my family and church, from my regular day-job to nighttime VBS, barely having time to grab a quick dinner, during that busiest week of the summer; and I must admit that at times, I have wondered if it was all worth it. One year I had a particularly difficult teenage boy in my middle school class, who disrupted the class, did everything he could to get attention, and told me every night that he wouldn't be back the next evening. Well, I could only hope. I was surprised, however, when his mother came to meet me after the closing program on the final evening. "Thank you so much for all you did this week," she said. "My son has been working in construction this summer, and some evenings he was barely able to get a shower and get here on time, but he absolutely refused to miss it. All he could talk about all week was your class and all the things he was learning here."
Yep, it's worth it.
There was another summer when I was, once again, in a new church (see prior posts about military moves). I approached my good friend Pam, who was the VBS director, and said, "Pam, I will be happy to do ANYTHING you need me to do for VBS. I can do music, crafts, teach lessons. . . ." Lesson One: Never tell a VBS director you will do ANYTHING.
"Great!" said Pam. "We are planning to serve a light dinner each night to all the kids and workers, since a lot of people don't have time for dinner before they come here. You can be in charge of cooking for the kids."
Are you kidding me? Cooking for 100 kids or more each night? I really was not much of a cook. "Uh, Pam," I said, "I don't think you understood. I can do VBS things - you know, music, crafts, stories. I'm really not comfortable working in the kitchen every night."
Now, you would think that the average VBS director would sigh and say, all right, I'll find someone else, but not Pam. "Debbi," she said, looking me right in the eye. "God is asking you to step OUT of your comfort zone. I need you to stretch your abilities and work in the kitchen."
Well, clearly, I ended up working in the kitchen. The amazing thing was how much I learned from the other ladies who were working on the adult workers' meals in there. On my husband's next duty assignment, we ended up at a college Academy, where I frequently had 20 or more college students coming to dinner. God had been preparing me for the next job He needed me to do.
We have moved a few more times, and we again have found ourselves at a church where Pam is directing VBS. I'm a little bit afraid of VBS this year!
If you happen to have an excellent VBS director who has the gall to ask you to step out of your comfort zone, give it a try. It's only for a week, and you might just learn something. And trust me, it's worth it!