To all of you fellow stuffy-nosed, croaky-voiced, overtired, caffeine-stimulated, slimy-shirted leaders of children’s holiday camps: well done!
I am writing this week to all of you who have given up your time, your dignity, your health, and your sleep–to commend you on committing your time to Jesus this week or last, to tell children in your communities about the love that will change their lives
Over the last week I visited a couple of the many, many churches who were running kids holiday programs, and I was so encouraged. I witnessed hundreds of children singing, “Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life,” – some of these children who had never before even the heard the name of Jesus!
One conversation I had with a young girl that went like this:
“I like kids club because its fun,”
“What’s fun about kids club?”
“People are funny and nice and my brother and sister have fun which is good because our house burnt down and my cats died.”
Children come to our churches during the holidays from all walks of life. Some children arrive with warm clothes and full tummies from homes they are safe in with loving parents. Some children will walk through our church doors from hurting homes they don’t feel safe in with empty tummies and cold fingers and toes. Some children will know all the words to the songs, all the memory verses and ALL the bible stories. Some children will some through our doors having never heard the name of Jesus except as used as a curse. This is an opportunity to be a part of changing a child’s life; that moment when a child understands that “Jesus died for me” – and that Jesus is the true King of the world. And maybe even if it’s the only time a child ever steps foot in a church, and maybe even if they forget everything they learnt all week, some children will walk away with a relationship they made that will last an entire lifetime- that one leader who was kind to them and made them feel unconditionally loved.
If you’ve never been involved in a kids’ holiday camp – you are definitely missing out. You’re not too old – you’re not too young, God can and will use you to help spread His Gospel – whether it be baking pikelets for hungry bellies, committing the week to God in prayer and praying for children and leaders, or showing up every morning early to be covered in snot and other people’s jumpers, tomato sauce and tears of children who can’t find their parents at the end of the day. It’s terrific! Churches are transformed into other worlds for entire weeks, be it the wild, wild west, intergalactic space stations, the circus or anything else – church halls are turned into colourful, creative, imaginative spaces for children (and adults !) to experience and enjoy. My favourite quote from a leader this week (who works full time as a school teacher, too), “People ask me, ‘how can you spend all week with kids when you work with them everyday?’ But this isn’t work, this is fun, I get to tell them about Jesus.”
Holiday camps become part of these kids’ memory banks for a lifetime- and they can learn things that impact what they understand about Jesus for the rest of their lives. We have a chance to reach children of our communities, wherever they are at, and serve them in a way that literally brings Jesus to them! Taking over a whole church building for the sake of reaching the littlest members of our community is so great! We can impact whole families with the gospel by just showing up to play with the kids and share the love of Christ in a fun and practical way! I was so encouraged to hear from Beaudesert Baptist that over half of the children attending their holiday program were kids outside of the regular church families- what an incredible ministry to their local community! These kids are hearing that Jesus is Saviour, God is King and that He wants them in His family, and they are feeling in a very tangible way, that “church people” think they are worth spending precious holiday-time with. This is SO worth investing in!
So to all those leaders who are tired, sick with the flu, cleaning stains out of your favourite jumper: know that what you are a part of is incredible. In Ephesians it says, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people…” (6:7) and in Matthew, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (25:40) We are called to serve our brothers and sisters, and you have definitely, wholeheartedly served Jesus by serving these little members of our communities. Well done, and be encouraged! This week you have served Jesus our Lord by serving these kids. I am so blessed to be in partnership with people who serve Jesus like you do – and am so excited to share these beautiful stories with you!
For more children’s ministry events in your area, post or read them on our google calendar under “EVENTS” or post your story to be shared on the “FORUM”. We would love to hear from you! Join our children’s ministry network today and help others on this beautiful journey of sharing the Gospel with children!
Post date: 22/07/2014 • Post Author: Sally Contessi