Kids are really awesome. Even though sometimes they press the patience of adults, they have qualities that unfortunately we adults have somehow outgrown. Adults can become so sophisticated that we resist full expressions of emotions such as joy, sadness, excitement and such. But kids are different. You know just how children feel and they say just what they’re thinking, at times to the embarrassment of their parents. But there is an authentic genuineness about kids.
We just finished our fourth season of Camp Vineyard, our version of Vacation Bible School. It was a supreme success. With 209 kids, 107 adult volunteers, 13 children receiving the gift of salvation for the first time, good teaching, rock-em-sock-em, unabashed worship and loads of fun, it was truly a blast. I teamed up with our youngest daughter Betsy as we served as the “Cabin Counselors” of Cabin #16. We had a group of 10 – 12 year olds and I would do it again in a minute. These were great kids who as far as I could tell, enjoyed every minute of Camp Vineyard.
Our own kid’s Pastor, Chris Reeves, did the teaching. He helped the kids understand the “I am” verses in the gospels. Jesus identified himself as “I am the light of the world”, “I am the way, the truth and the life” and “I am the good shepherd of the sheep”. The kids saw the desire of Jesus to protect, help and lead them.
On the first night of Camp Vineyard, Pastor Chris gave the children an opportunity to give money toward purchasing malaria nets for families in Haiti. We looked at pictures of children sitting in the open air being bit by mosquitoes and other insects that could infect them with disease. The first night’s offering purchased one malaria net. By the third evening of Camp Vineyard, these kids had given in offerings $540 and we were able to purchase 28 malaria nets. The amount is grand enough but what overwhelmed me was the joy in which these children gave. There was a buzz as the offering was taken and then the total was announced. The auditorium went up in a mighty roar of cheers and clapping. Stories of kids giving all their allowance money, all the money they were saving to buy a video game and all their money they had received from their birthday began to emerge. It made me think, “What would it be like if after our offering was received on Sunday morning, our church rose up in a mighty roar of joy and jubilation.
I understand more clearly than ever what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 18:1-3 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
Kids are cool. And I am blessed to be a part of a church that places a high value on kids. I want to give a big shout out to the core leadership of Camp Vineyard. Thanks Pastor Chris Reeves, Jennifer Page, Michelle Peters and Steph Paxton, Carrie Even, Debbie Barber and Sharon Hansen. A special thanks to Donna Barnes and her kitchen team.
And to all the volunteers, God bless you for your love and faithfulness to seeing the Kingdom advance by the mighty work of the Holy Spirit. I love you all.