Part 3. 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 try and restrain myself from writing 10 pages of material because you are probably extremely busy. HAHA (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.
- God will provide what we need, in His own timing. Read Part 2/5 here.
3. Remember you are NOT alone.
It certainly may feel like you are alone with the various things that you do as a Director but this is the weight that any leader carries. Ideally, you’d want a co-leader or a trusted prayer partner to help you carry this load. I didn’t have that this year even though I did reach out and specifically ask two persons but it didn’t work out for one reason or another. Then I had other ideas about just filling the role, but I didn’t think that that was what I was supposed to do. What ended up happening for me was that I ended up sharing a lot with my military spouse and using the people God placed around me.
My husband was a great choice of someone to talk to as he has been and is still in leadership roles within the US Army and could give advice or relate to some of the struggles I had when operating within our military setting and chain of command. Good thing is that I already knew the nuances of the military life and ways as all of my life was spent affiliated with or serving in the military. Read about that here. I understood that many things were ‘just the way it was’ and completely out of my control so I did not dwell on these things.
Two things that became very obvious between my husband’s leadership and mine were 1. there is a big difference between leading paid employees verses leading volunteers who may have many different reasons for doing what they are doing. 2. This is the Lord’s work (see post 1/5) and He draws people to come and helps them when they are frustrated, filled with fear, or there is miscommunication. Every day that volunteers showed up I was thankful to God (and to them for their obedience) that He provided who we needed for His work. I needed people and He brought the people. So although my husband was helpful as a trusted person to vent to, his perspective of what we were doing in this ministry opportunity was different than mine and I needed to keep that in mind as I listened to his suggestions.
When setbacks came, and they did, I also appreciated being backed up by our VBS sponsoring chaplain, Pastor Woody. For example, during a key leader’s meeting with almost all of the chapel staff, I found myself passionately expressing that what was happening was completely unacceptable. What I saw (and felt) was Pastor Woody step up and in a way that his military peers could understand (using specific number of hours and manpower) to emphasize what I was saying. Also, another volunteer leader’s presence and style (I’m referring to my Decorations Leader Kristina who will be discussed in detail in Post 5/5) moved the conversation forward where we could all agree that something else needed to be done. By the end of the meeting, because I was not alone, we were all (chapel staff plus VBS Team) on the same page and re-united in purpose.
In times of crisis when you need God to act, be strong and courageous. God will fight our battles. We don’t need to act a fool up in here, up in here. I reminded myself over and over and over that the battles are not with flesh and blood; there are unseen spiritual matters at hand all around. So, when people were upset with decisions that were made that were out of my control or when I myself blundered, the Lord Himself reminded us and I would remind them that we needed to fix our eyes upon Christ and the work that He has set here before each of us to do. There WILL be setbacks because this is the Lord’s work. We have the potential to change the trajectory of lives for ETERNITY when a participant or a volunteer meets God through VBS and is changed so of course there will be distractions. But God will prevail and we want to stand firm with Him. (I talked about this time of refinement right after VBS ended at a women’s conference. We need to hold fast in the Lord during times of difficulty. Watch the talk here.)
Working with 75 volunteers in an effective way meant (to me) putting out correct information in a timely fashion where they could access it (in person group meetings at the start and end of the VBS day (15 min each), follow-up/ reiteration via email, leaders’s FB group for those who couldn’t make it or wanted a reminder for each day. I learned my volunteers. Some were self-sufficient and didn’t need much in the way of handling changes and setbacks but they wanted to know all that was going on. Other volunteers responded differently to change and wanted to know why things were the way they were and so more time was spent with them to ensure they were settled and felt prepared in their roles. These expressions are all okay and valid because God is on a personal journey with each of us. I wanted each volunteer to know what was going on and to see how they fit into the bigger picture of what we were all working to do for our community. Each role was vital and needed. They were not alone as there were other volunteers, including myself, doing this new thing with God and for God.
Finally, it also helped me in this role as VBS Director to be a part of a global resource and networking group that was using the same VBS curriculum as ours so when different people in that group shared their experiences, setbacks and prayer requests, I was reminded that even though we were in South Korea at a US military installation in Daegu, we were not isolated; we were not alone. I chose not to share everything with my volunteers of what all was going on (I did not want them to focus on these distractions but only on their specific roles and tasks at hand) but I knew that God was with me. It was comforting to see that others struggled too from the group posts but that God was definitely there with us all – all along the way.
Read all of the VBS posts here https://sejanashines.com/category/spiritual-growth/vbs/