August 18, 2014


During the last week of July 2014 I had the opportunity to take my children and their friends to Vacation Bible School, and in doing so, I witnessed a live version of 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

A couple years ago I interviewed several VBS directors, including the pastor who runs my local church’s summer program. She explained, “It’s a team effort, and I have a great team. Without the volunteers we wouldn’t have a program.”

I wrote the article (“Vacation Bible School,” May 24, 2012). And while I knew that the exemplary VBS stories would touch and inspire readers, I truly didn’t have the understanding a hands-on experience would provide.

Now I do.

VBS started out a bit shaky as a large group of walk-in attendees created a messy (albeit temporary) crowd in the church lobby on the first day. Teen volunteers struggled to keep kids interested in the week’s new songs. Some age groups wandered around the Moses-themed VBS a little more than they should have, acting as Israelites in the desert.

Despite the inevitable hiccups, the program—and the volunteers—kept going along cheerfully. Immediate corrections were made, notes were taken, and other adjustments implemented the next morning provided for a smooth week. Teens, church employees, and adult members came together—using their gifts and trusting in God made the week profitable for those involved.

I’m glad I spent my week being exposed to this type of teamwork. And I pitched in with supplies—and some wrangling of kindergartners.

If more of us got involved in volunteer services at our churches—I don’t mean only VBS—we’d live the words of Titus 3:8.

When opportunity knocks, open the door.