28 Jul Bible Talk & Sidewalk Chalk
Could a VBS held at an apartment complex be successful?
Originally, I thought popsicles and free food would be the ultimate selling points, but the kids really seemed to be coming for something else. The children were experiencing true joy through having a group of twelve high school students providing a structured program for them, drawing with sidewalk chalk, singing, and dancing along side of them, and even disciplining them when appropriate. Does this surprise you? It definitely surprised me.
There’s a common misconception about the idea of “living on mission” that has obscured many of my peers’ and my community’s perspective of what it looks like to serve, evangelize, and go make disciples. Many of us believe that the only way we can adequately serve/love others and sacrifice our individual levels of comfort is to fly to another nation where we can play with young orphans and build clean water wells.
Whether our motivation is driven by our own desire to travel or the feeling of being humbled by the poverty in third world countries, we have grown to be hyper-responsive to this calling to “share Jesus” with those overseas (which is regularly less of a calling and more of a feeling of jealousy when we see photos on Facebook of our other peers smiling while holding small African children). With close consideration, truth arises: not all of us are called to go to third world countries. In reality, most of are actually “called” to love and serve the house two-doors-down or the nursing home that we pass every day on the way to work.
Not all of us are called to go to third world countries. In reality, most of are actually “called” to love and serve the house two-doors-down or the nursing home that we pass every day on the way to work.
There are two apartment complexes across the street from our Grace campus on Pelham Road, which are full of some of the most silly, sweet children I’ve ever met. As both apartments are considered low-income housing, they are also full of exhausted parents who work multiple shifts, widows who are mourning deeps losses, or hurting families who are dealing with a variety of grievances.
There are endless opportunities for our church to use our resources and energy to engage the broken community around us, and this one just so happens to be directly across the street. So, leaders in our church have recently begin strategically planning and executing initiatives to begin caring for and knowing those around us.
One of those initiatives includes a Vacation Bible School we decided to call “Cul-de-sac Camp.” Renting a large white tent from a local business, we hosted a fun, energetic experience in the back cul-de-sac of one of the two apartment complexes previously mentioned. A group of high school students sacrificed a week of their summer to perform skits, sing songs, and play games with children who they weren’t initially connected with underneath a somewhat unbearable level of heat.
There are endless opportunities for our church to use our resources and energy to engage the broken community around us.
Although we were sometimes tired or not fully equipped to put on such events, the children were absolutely captivated. The kids loved the program, the games, and ultimately loved the volunteers. It was such a beautiful thing witnessing these two separate communities become one. Apart from the opportunity to begin relationships with these children, we also found several opportunities to connect with their parents, as well.
God has strategically placed Grace Church on Pelham Road to glorify him. Isn’t that cool? The Lord, in his sovereignty, has geographically located us in a position to serve and love his people, drawing them and ourselves closer to him. He has called us, as a church, to build these relationships that are sustainable and have longevity. We are excited to cultivate community with the residents of these apartment complexes and our church, in order to develop as mothers, fathers, children, friends, and family members together. To Him be the glory.
-Hunter Burgess, Kairos Summer