Part 2. Vacation Bible School. That’s what has been on my mind since I said “yes” on February 26th, taking on this role for the first time as Director for VBS Area IV here in South Korea. There’s a lot of things I can say about this role… but I’m going to restrain myself from writing 10 pages of material because you are probably extremely busy. (Actually, I will also break it up into 5 days worth of material so stay tuned and let me know your thoughts as we go.)
- This is the Lord’s work. Read Part 1/5 here.
2. God will provide what we need, in His own timing.
One thing I kept hearing from those who would be honest with me was that previous leaders were tired from serving. If they did serve, they didn’t want to be in the “trenches” with the crew members (the name for our participants) as it was just too much. Too draining. Too hard. I get it. Serving is definitely not easy and sometimes what God has for us isn’t our first choice or second choice or even in our thinking at all!! But God DID provide, despite these challenges of not enough background checked adults that stepped up to help. God gave us the youth. Out of the 75 active volunteers (those that served during the week of VBS), 25 were middle schoolers and 8 were high school. That means that almost half of the volunteers were youth!!
I was reminded that God gave me the people we needed. Use them. God’s ways are different their our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
God also provided and equipped specific people for certain roles. He is at work and draws people to His ministry too. Sometimes people showed up from nowhere and they were invaluable to what we were able to do. These people also came with their own unique giftings that we were all able to benefit from. I tried to place people in roles that fit what I saw in them. For example, my Wild Bible Adventures station leaders, Hailey and Lynda’s (daughter and mom) artistic talents, attention to detail, and teamwork within their station created an immersive experience for the participants and crew leaders each VBS day. Hailey is in High School and she took on the lead role for a VBS station. I was so grateful and thankful for HyoJin, who had started to help manage and prepare the food for the Area IV Tuesday Youth Group, agreed to “help” with the snacks. I had her down as the Herd Cafe Leader. She planned out, shopped for, and prepared all the food for the participants and planned for extra snacks for the volunteers each day. She even directly addressed all the participants and crew leaders which was not her most favorite thing because she preferred to be ‘behind the scenes.’ A spouse volunteer, Tanisha, whom I knew also to be a trained nurse agreed to be our on site ‘nurse’ and was our ‘go-to’ for cuts and bruises or for those children that just needed to know mom or dad was called.
These were all roles that I could not take on on my own even if I knew I could do it. Leading VBS was not meant to be a one-person show. Delegation is the key for success but as the Director you must talk to each leader, be responsive to questions and help remove any obstacles for them so they can each focus on their specific role. I felt my job was to clear the clutter and minimize any confusion.
I challenged leaders to take ownership of their areas. I would not be able to review everything in advance (like I would have liked to) and teach or show them what to do. Each station or area had a guide from Group to help guide them. I was there to assist, if/when they needed it. We did not stick exactly to what was written; I wanted leaders to keep in mind our unique crowd. We are military families in a foreign country. Our participants know what change and starting over and being sad feels like. I gave them permission to incorporate these realities within what they do but while sticking to the Daily Bible Point, Bible Story and theme of this year’s VBS by Group called “Roar.”
Finally, I want to share about a unique need that became obvious after our first VBS day probably due to the large number of youth volunteers we had on board. We needed more mentors for our younger volunteers. We can’t expect them to operate in a role of Leader without some gentle but firm guidance in How to Lead. Some did great as they were but some needed some loving attention and direction as they were placed in new roles of ‘Leader’ verses maybe the previous year they were a ‘Participant.’ In comes God (well He was already at work but I got to see it), because the night of Day 2, a previous co-Director of VBS and also our Middle School Youth Leader, Sami, contacts me about being available to help in any way for VBS for the rest of the week. God is good. I said to her I have a “unique role” for you! She was not phased at all. Together the leadership began to focus on pointing out to team members what was great and gave spot suggestions and/or redirection for things that were not so great. Like doughnuts. We just removed the volunteer food after a certain time so it wouldn’t continue to be a distraction for anyone!!
Stay connected so you can receive all 5 “whittled-down” thoughts from the perspective of a first time Vacation Bible School (VBS) Director. Read all of the VBS blog posts here: https://sejanashines.com/category/spiritual-growth/vbs/ .