[Guest post from Intern Charlie Armstrong]
After getting my degree from Purdue, my wife Rachel and I felt led by God to stay in the Lafayette area rather than return to Alaska, where our home was. The only problem was, I needed an income! I spent that summer applying to two or three dozen jobs and working nights in a call center. It probably comes as no surprise that by the time I applied to the 25th job, my sense of a good fit had…broadened. Yet the result of that season of disappointment and waiting was a job that fit my skills surprisingly well, opened up relationships with numerous international students (a growing love of ours), and provided for our financial needs well. Had I been more successful in one of the first two dozen job possibilities, I would not have found my way to the blessings of the 25th. I learned then that things not going as expected can open the doors to something new, unique, and wonderful.
In the same way, we find ourselves as a church body in the unexpected position of not being able to organize and carry out our typical summer children’s outreach, a Vacation Bible School. So now we are asking God to lead us, and we expect that his answer will come in part through you: What ideas do you have? Are there new possibilities for outreach we should consider? We presented this invitation to share your ideas at the March Family Gathering. Throughout March, you are encouraged to share ideas with either me (
As Drew and I have talked through ideas so far, we already have the first blessing of this unexpected time. It is a growing conviction that this experience can cement our commitment as a church to Eph 4:11-12: “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”
Notice: The role of leaders is to equip saints (you and me) for the work of ministry. It is easy to slip into, consciously or not, a pattern in which leaders (elders, church staff, etc.) do the work of ministry on our behalf—but that is not God’s intent.
What’s gotten us thinking about this passage? It is this set of possibilities: What if summer youth outreach could:
- Be moved out into smaller backyard, neighborhood-based settings—i.e., to KSBC member homes?
- Meet unbelievers where they are, with the interests they have (which likely don’t include learning about the Bible)?
- Draw groups of KSBC families and individuals together to minister in teams?
- Help you and me make our faith in Christ known simply and clearly among our neighbors?
- Help whole believing families reach whole unbelieving families?
- Train you and me to build ongoing redemptive relationships with unbelievers in our ordinary course of life (neighborhood, work, extended family, etc.)?
The exciting thing about this set of possibilities is that it may lead to a ministry that will help us know God more as we grow in obedience to him—and we never would have gotten this opportunity if we hadn’t come up against a lack of resources for VBS.
We are still welcoming new ideas, so please keep them coming! Bear in mind too that God may lead us not to have an organized, concerted outreach this summer. But either way we know that the gospel will keep advancing in and through all of us, as we receive the blessing of godly leadership and embrace our identity as those who do “the work of the ministry.”