I'm Shaking in My Boots, but I'm in the Saddle

Today's Ministry Mondays post is a little tardy because I've been doing the thing. Ministry that is. I've been working at Vacation Bible School this morning.

I love doing the ministry I'm really "called to" and suited for. That would be the ministry to women who have gotten all dolled up, checked their kiddos into the nursery, and sat down at a table with a cup of coffee, their Bibles and their study books. In that setting I'm ripe and ready to do some min-is-try! Or plop me in front of a computer with my Bible and a magazine article assignment and I'll minister some well-waxed words with ease and great joy.

But put me in a room with a dozen or so kindergartners and I'm more likely to have a panic attack than I am to do anything of any real eternal value. Believe it or not, children make me nervous and scared. I have to pray a whole lot before I go into a room of little folk. I suppose that's a good thing, after all. And praying about it does get me in the door, but I'm shaking in my sandals the whole morning.

All the same, I'm "getting over it" this week and stepping out of my comfort zone into my danger zone. Not that the parents need to worry about leaving their children in my charge or anything. After all, I've done the most important thing any good ministry leader can do. I've recruited and delegated! I enlisted my friend Monica, a professional and very capable kindergarten teacher, to do my job for me assist me this week. My name may be on the door as the teacher of the Kindergarten 1 class, but who are we fooling? Monica is not only teaching these children, but she's keeping me cool, calm and somewhat collected at the same time. I just follow her around and nod and do what she tells me to do. She's charmingly submissive and such a team player that she acts like I'm the fearless leader and she's the humble assistant, but actually we all know the truth and I'm ok with it. Shoot, when she teaches the group time Bible story I sit mesmerized in the pretend "campfire" just like the six-year-olds do. And when she pauses to find the quietest, most attentive student to line up first, I catch myself hoping she'll call on me!

Really now, VBS is a lot of fun and these days the curriculum makes it practically painless. We just have the kids in our room for about 30 minutes and then we play tour guide and tote them from Recreation to Missions to Crafts to Music while making the occasional escape to the "teachers' lounge" for a nibble of something sweet and yummy. No matter what age you are, snacks are still the best part of VBS!

As I was walking down the hall this morning, a sweet older lady stopped me and simply said, "Aren't some of the most precious times in life at VBS?" Indeed, Wes, VBS has proven to be a precious time in many a person's life. My daughter (16 and helping with the second graders this week) went on and on during lunch about how much she had enjoyed VBS as a child. My husband and I echoed her sentiments. To myself, I remembered the rooms I had VBS in as a child, the mobiles we seemed to make each year, the snacks served out on the basketball court, the white overalls I wore one year, and the fun of helping my mom set up her activities each morning before dashing off to line up for the grand entry into the sanctuary.

I wasn't saved during a Vacation Bible School like so many children are, but that is where I first cut my spiritual teeth on real Bible study. It's where I learned that the Bible has answers to every question, that it is trustworthy and interesting, and that it is worthy of putting to memory. I loved VBS and I hope the kids I'm teaching this week will somehow be oblivious to the fact that they scare the heebie-jeebies out of me so they too can get a kick out of learning about Jesus through the Bible.

Do you work in VBS? Do you like it? Is it your thing? Or do you do it, like me, because it is a worthwhile ministry that deserves our effort, sacrifice, and support? I'd love to hear your thoughts on VBS...