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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

vbs on the road

Lest readers wonder if I have lost the searchlight/lighthouse theme... I have not... just felt like reporting on General Assembly was the responsible thing to do. I may have one or two summary pieces left to write, as I have been asked to do so for publication... but on to the searchlight!

Tomorrow night we are doing a first for Good Shepherd - in response to the call to become more of a searchlight church, we are taking our Vacation Bible School (held at church two weeks ago) on the road to one of the housing projects behind the church. We have a community room and are hoping to have lots of neighborhood kids turn out to play with us and share the love of Jesus. I'll let you know how it goes!

Update (Thurs pm, post VBS):

We had the first VBS tonight (Thurs) and it was far beyond my wildest imagination. We were expecting 5-10 kids and more like 30 showed up, with some older siblings joining in the fray. I was also blown away by the response from our church - about 12-15 people... a middle schooler, a high schooler, a college student, a 20-something, a couple of parents of small children, several in their 50s... and here's the part that really got me pumped (okay, there are several things...): this was not a church program, but a group of people who have heard me for two years running challenge every member of the church to find a personal ministry and mission. The staff didn't plan this... we had nothing to do with it. The elders didn't form a committee or call planning meetings. This was initiated by two parents who caught a vision for the children of our neighborhood and they ran with it. They didn't recruit volunteers heavily - just said, "If you can join us, come on!" So everyone who came did so because the Lord moved them to do it... everyone there wanted to be there, wasn't guilted or pressured in to it, but sought out this opportunity to love our neighbors.

Here's the other thing that blew me away... I just about melted into a weepy puddle when a single mom and her 11 yr. old daughter conducted the lesson (again, not handed to them, but planned entirely on their own 'cause they felt called to this)... and they did a skit on the parable of the wedding banquet. The 11 yr. old was dressed up fancy and was throwing a party and sent out invitations to all her rich and powerful friends - her mom delivered these to various kids sitting around, who had been dressed up as baseball star, doctor, mayor, etc... - each then read the excuse on the back of the invitation as to why they wouldn't make the party. Finally, the mom returned to say that no one could come - all the powerful people were busy. And the 11 yr. old sends her mom back out to invite everyone to come to the party. Then they read the verse about how Jesus came for the poor, the lame, the blind... and man, the Gospel was preached to all those gathered 'round. It was electrifying.

One bonus... near the end of the invitations, one was given out to a really cute 4-5 yr. old girl who couldn't read. Instead of reading her line and making an excuse to not go to the party, she went running up to the 11 yr. old (who had been playing with her for the past hour), hugged her, and said she would come to her party. I'm about to start crying again typing it on my screen. Wow. For those who have ears to hear...

I've been at Good Shepherd for 6 1/2 years... I've been preaching on being a searchlight church for two years. Change and growth is slow; but tonight I saw the light shining bright as day. God is on the move!


thekingpin68 said...

Lest readers wonder if I have lost the searchlight/lighthouse theme... I have not... just felt like reporting on General Assembly was the responsible thing to do.

No problem, as blogs need a variation in theme at times.


Todd Hester said...

Robert, I've sent this post to Northminster's Session as another way of rethinking how we do ministry. Great idea. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Robert, just wanted to add that I felt the same way after Brighton Place's VBS. Instead of leaving with a spirit of having served, I left as one who had been filled with the amazing love God has for each of us despite the worldly, false barriers we place between one another. Thanks for all you do to help us knock these down and point us to the Light.

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