Next week BMPC will welcome over 120 children to our church. They will be supported by more than 70 volunteers as well as many members of our staff. We will be learning about God’s good creation, about our mission partners who are working so that people have good water to drink and those who help teach people new ways of farming. We’ll be making habitats for local wildlife and even “upcycling” some worn-out shoes.
Games will be played, songs sung, music made, art created, and even a good bit of Bible study that will happen over the course of five days. Each piece is important, but what strikes me every year, is the experience of community shared among all the participants.
There is always a turning point as I prepare for camp: It is the moment when I stop worrying that we’re short on volunteers, or registrations are off, or that we have too many three year olds, or the rotation of art activities just isn’t up to standard. It’s the moment when I look at all the names who are connected with the camp and I sit in awe, because in that large unfolding spreadsheet is the community God has brought together for a week of camp.
Before assigning anyone to a particular task or small group, it is my tradition to pray for each person. It was a prayer one of my mentors taught me when I first started volunteering at my home church’s VBC just after fifth grade. It goes something like this: “God bless _______. May we share your love with him/her and learn about your love from him/her. Help me see where he/she needs to be and send your Spirit to welcome him/her here.”
In the midst of the games and the crafts and the music, children are learning something far more important than the order of the days of creation. They are learning that God has a place for them, that God loves them, and that they are part of the Church God is forming. As students, parents, volunteers, and a certain Associate Pastor finalize our preparations for VBC, I now must ask for your prayers. Prayers for safety and fun, for good learning and great friends, but also for Spirit at work making a place for each one who gathers here.