Beyond the Flannel Graph

As I sit here writing this blog, all of the anticipation of Kids Camp (our church’s version of Vacation Bible School) is swirling around in my head like the birthday kid in the wind tunnel ticket catcher thing at Chuck E. Cheese, about snatch 500 tickets out of the air with his bare hands.  (Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic, but you get the point).

Kids Camp (or VBS) is one of the biggest weeks of the year here at Grace Community Church!  Every year our whole church rallies together to design elaborate stage sets, decorate teaching rooms, prepare almost 1,000 crafts, wash hundreds of lanyards, purchase and prepare food for over 500 people and pray, pray, pray for God’s Spirit to open the hearts of children and adults who attend.  It is truly an entire church effort and we are blessed to have so many volunteers who love to serve at Kids Camp.

But how about the long term impact of something like VBS or Kids Camp on a child and her family?  What effect does Kids Camp really have when its only three hours a day, five days out of a year?  More than we can wrap our minds around.  Here’s 3 lasting marks made on a kid’s life when they participate in Kids Camp.

  1. Strong connections are made.  Kids need to make strong connections with solid Christian adults.  So many children today are struggling as they look for direction from a Mom and Dad who are not present (physically or emotionally) in their lives.  When you commit your time to serve at Kids Camp, you are not simply filling up a volunteer roster sheet and helping with a craft — you might just be filling a void in kids life that has become a gaping hole.  In their book “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity,” Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof discuss the importance of having other solid, Christ-filled adults to partner with Mom and Dad as they raise kids.  Kids desperately need Mom and Dad — but they also need other trusted adults to come alongside them and encourage them to love and follow Christ.
  2. Kids develop good connotations with God’s Church.  For some, this may be their first week at an event like Kids Camp.  For others, it might be the fifth VBS of the summer.  But no matter how many times little Johnny has darkened the doors of a church for VBS this summer, we have the special privilege of helping him form good connotations with the Church (Universal) that Jesus loved, bled, and died for.  Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:20 that “we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making his appeal through us.”  Our hope is that little Johnny will receive Christ as His Savior or grow closer to Him during the week.  But we also want to help him have such a blast at church that he leaves on the last night asking, “When do I get to go back?”  
  3. Kids hear the life-giving message of the Gospel.  The word gospel means “good news.”  In a world where kids are growing up with so much bad news all around them, it is refreshing to hear a good-news message of a Savior who loves them and promises never to leave their side.  We get to share that good news with the children who attend Kids Camp.  It is our GREATEST privilege as their leaders.  A conversation may arise during a special craft on Tuesday night; a question may come up after Bible study where a tribe leader can point a little girl to Christ; We do what we do to see kids become who God made them to be — adopted sons and daughters of the Most High.  

This week, remember the impact that a week like this can make in a child’s life.  This is way bigger than just serving up juice and crackers — you are making an eternal difference for the kingdom.