Pulpit Reflections: Call to ministry began with VBS

My family was not a religious family. In fourth grade, a girlfriend invited me to her church for something called Vacation Bible School. She said it was fun, so I went. 

I discovered I loved singing all the Bible songs and making the motions to go with them. Then we got to listen to stories from the Bible and do crafts. She was right; it was so fun.

I was told that there was a competition to see who could earn the most points. We were given a point for each night we attended and for each friend we brought. 

The thing that has stuck with me to this day is the memorization of Bible verses. We were given verses each day and if we could recite the verse it was worth a point. If we could also give where it was found in the Bible that was worth another point.

Those verses still come to me now some 40 years later. For example, Matthew 5:44 where Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;” and Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

By the end of the week my friend and I won the top two prizes. She won $10 and I won $5. But we got to ride together in a four-seat airplane with the pilot. We got to fly over both of our houses and see a lot of our county. 

As an adult, Vacation Bible School is still very important to me. Before my call to ministry, I was a very busy church volunteer. I taught Sunday School, helped lead confirmation, presented the children’s time in worship, and then directed Vacation Bible School. 

In each of these volunteer roles as well as in each of my jobs, I can see God’s hand guiding me and training me for my call to ministry. I learned to tell Bible stories in ways that children could understand them. I learned to work with children and their parents. I learned to recruit and train volunteers. And in each case my faith was strengthened.

This is why I am so excited to be having the Shipwrecked Vacation Bible School at the Grant United Methodist Church this week. I love to watch the children soak up the stories about Jesus. 

They memorize scripture. They sing songs that reinforce the scripture. They make scientific projects that teach the Bible lesson. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious. 

Just as I was first exposed to Jesus and his stories in Vacation Bible School, I wish the same for the children of our community. May we work to plant the seeds that God will grow and develop into an ever blossoming faith. 

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