Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nearly 90 kids had the best time of their young lives…and learned about God in the process

DVBS.  Many of you may not know these four letters.  But to nearly 90 kids, nearly 30 volunteers, and not to mention an exhausted yours truly, they’re four letters that would be treasured for years to come.  Below is a video that’ll show you why:


DVBS means Daily Vacation Bible School; and through 5 days of interactive stories, fun games, and action songs, nearly 90 kids had terrific fun…and learned about God in the process.  Traditionally, our church holds these every summer, with a different title and theme each go-round.  This year, it was called MAIN STREET.


The (sometimes harrowing) experience of recruiting volunteers, advertising MAIN STREET to parents in our church, and nitpicking over everything so that the execution is perfect doesn’t compare to the fulfillment that comes with hearing the kids’ shouts of glee and their taking to heart Christ’s love for them.  There’s no greater high than serving God in ministry, and in my case, serving the young people.

Here are my reflections over the last few days:


My daughter, Lynn and other youth volunteers.
•    The awesome volunteer response was one of my most heartwarming memories of the DVBS experience.  All I had to do was go in front of the church one (just one) Sunday and ask the congregation if they were willing to be an instrumental part of a child discovering Jesus as Lord. By the end of the worship service, the volunteer list was filled up…and boy did they deliver!  They worked darn hard and long, and I couldn’t ask for a better team.

•    Special mention goes out to JZone youth, who volunteered in droves and showed me what teen power could do when combined with a desire to serve Christ.  JZone teens, I was incredibly blessed by your energy, enthusiasm, and love for the kids.  I’m sure you were incredibly blessed, too, as you’re at the age where the need to belong and be a part of something is great (hence the cliques and gangs if not done right)…so you used this to volunteer for worthy causes like ministry.  Parents of teens, take note.

•    The event was such a smashing hit, especially to those who don’t go to or are new to CCF, so much so that I hear these really funny stories.  One such story from a visitor mom is that her daughter would wake up at 6am, immediately and hurriedly dress up, and be ready to go to MAIN STREET right in the wee hours of the morning (DVBS starts at 2:00 in the afternoon).  I heard of kids crying because they thought they’d be late.  I heard of kids who’d sing, dance, and talk about what happened on MAIN STREET all the way till they’re tucked in bed.  Now that’s impact.  Oh, and furthermore…

Two awesome dance leaders!
•    Never underestimate how God can use DVBS to bless not only the kids, but their families.  A friend from another CCF church told me that when they held a DVBS one summer, one of the kids in her care was a girl whose family life was a mess and her parents were about to separate.  After the DVBS she liked it so much that she begged her warring parents to go to said church the next Sunday.  Long story short, the parents are back together, more in love than ever before, have attended a great couples retreat, regularly attend church there, and are now involved in a couples small group, hungrily learning more about the God that saved their marriage and changed their lives.  All this from their little girl’s memorable DVBS experience.  I’d love to hear about a story like that from our efforts on MAIN STREET, if there are any.  My spirits will soar.


These two ALWAYS had the same shirt
•    DVBS is probably the best example of adapting the Gospel message to the audience.  For MAIN STREET, each day revolved around a parable of Jesus, and so each station’s activities centered around that theme.  There’s dancing, crafts, snack making, games…all related to the parable of the day.  It’s brilliant how cohesive it all is when executed properly.

•    That said, I think I nailed the Gospel message.  The kids really paid attention.  Happy, my 6 year old, even went up to me afterwards and started asking more questions about Jesus and Heaven.  Bingo.


•    It wasn’t just the kids who were blessed, the volunteers were too.  Every day, all throughout the trip home, Lynn, couldn’t stop talking about her experiences in serving the children and the camaraderie of the volunteer group.  It’s her first time as a volunteer, and she’s having the time of her life.  May she truly develop a heart of service. 

•    God likes to do things with drama, just to make sure that I know He is in charge, not me.  I had lots of trouble getting some of the materials for the event.  In ALL the meetings I had with the volunteers, the church was full (2 weddings, counseling sessions, office restructuring, GLC graduation, D Groups galore) and so up until the time of the meetings, we didn’t even have a place to meet.  There were more participants than there were shirts.  Some key members got sick right from the get go.  Whew, is God in control?  Yep…and He has a habit of letting me know that, too.
May they forever trust God like they do now.

•    Our 90 kid DVBS totally pushed the limits of CCF’s facilities (and it’s one of the reasons I didn’t advertise it much outside of the church).  I’m pretty certain that plenty more kids will avail of the DVBS next year, and that’s not going to be feasible anymore (more waiting than participating in the games; rooms filled to the bursting point, etc.).  I’m thinking 2 batches of DVBS’s next summer onwards, if the volunteers can persevere.  You’re thoughts, team?

The good Samaritan on a donkey...some donkey!  Kids roared with laughter
•    I was reminded of one time a friend marveled at the exposure and training in God's Word that the Children's ministry kids were getting, saying that if more kids in the Philippines got the same thing, we'd have a much better country.  On that note, I somehow wished the kids of our neighborhood and the kids of our friends would enjoy a DVBS like what we did on MAIN STREET.  If ever we figure out how we can accommodate more kids than what we had this year, I’ll advertise it more in my neighborhood (and online) for sure.

4-5 y.o.'s: the toughest group...but the cutest, too!
•    If you plan to do your own DVBS, you MUST split the 4-5 year old group into 2 smaller, easier to manage groups.  You save yourself a lot of pain. 

•    There’s always the challenge of having something for everyone.  There are kids who knew the Bible from cover to cover, yet there were kids who probably had no idea where Genesis is; there were kids who had trouble with English, so it was tough for them to understand the lessons and game instructions; there were kids who had clinically diagnosed hyperactivity and wanted to always move, yet there were kids who we had to encourage to move.

My son, Happy, in the red shirt, ready to dodge.  He was like, "BRING IT!"
•    Wet sponge dodgeball is gleefully brutal, especially when you see 6-8 year olds play it.  There were a lot of “Whoa!!” moments.  Man, when 6 year olds wanna win, they wanna win!  The game portion was called Firehouse Fitness…and knowing firehouses, water was involved in almost all the games.  Our teen volunteers had to mop like crazy to keep up.

•    Some of the songs are guaranteed to give you LSS (Last Song Syndrome).  Choruses of “I’ll adjust my attitude (to gratitude)” and “Show me the path” are ringing in my head as I type this blog.

•    I think we gave our Sunday School a problem.  All the classrooms are filled to the brim every Sunday as it is.  Earlier, the Sunday after DVBS, they’re so “AAAAAAAAHH!”  But it’s a good problem, right guys?  You’re welcome.  ;) 

Ready to help kids make delish snacks!
•    Parents were already looking forward to next year’s DVBS.  Mom asked me if I saw myself doing this again.  She humorously told me that the one who GM’s the DVBS often doesn’t want to do it again.  My answer?  Well, my heart says “yes,” but my aching body and my loaded schedule say “Think about it first.”  Plus, I have to be convinced that I did a good enough job in the first place.  Truth be told, outside of God’s obvious active role in this project, I feel that MAIN STREET’s success was far more due to the ridiculously outstanding volunteer team than my own leadership.  I can’t say this enough: they were awesome.

Well, MAIN STREET has come and gone.  Everybody was sad when it was all over.  Yet, everyone, especially the parents, were thankful for the event.  Therefore, I’d like to thank CCF Cagayan de Oro for allowing all this to happen.  Thank you for showing how important the spiritual health of our kids are to you.  The support given to us, especially during the week itself, was superb.

Now, the next order of business is to ask God what He wants me to do from here on.  You see, in our most recent leadership conference God really created a burden in me to take up the call and play a major, major role in the Children's Ministry.  I bargained with Him (and the church leadership who I shared this revelation to) that I'd do the DVBS for the summer and go from there.

Well, the DVBS is now done, and by His grace it was very successful.  So now what?  I'll use this next few weeks to fast and pray.  If God wants me neck deep in Children's Ministry, then who am I to refuse?  If His purpose was only to involve myself for the summer and not a week after, then He'd better let me know before I foolishly over-extend myself like so many times in the past.  Fast and pray, yup gotta do that...and if you, dear reader, know me personally and want to say something about this, go right ahead.  That's what the comments section is for.

Anyway, praise God for an awesome week, indeed.  If you were present the past week (participant, parent, volunteer, whatever), please also share your thoughts in the comment section below.  I’d like to hear from you.

(Oh, if you wanna see more photos of the festivities, click here)

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