Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Raise ‘em up to the sky. If you hear that you’re probably in a bad situation. When I hear that phrase I automatically think of old westerns or crime dramas. When someone is being robbed or arrested they are often told to put their hands in the air. (There is some ironic symmetry there.) However, there are positive reasons to raise your hands as well! You might “put your hands in the air like you just don’t care.” Or, you could raise your hands in celebration, or in worship!
Obviously, that isn’t what I’m talking about this month. The scripture gives it away. It’s not our hands that I’m talking about raising, but our children. The writer of Proverbs was right when he wrote about the importance of educating children in our values from an early age. Time and time again I hear stories about how young men and women raised in the church have walked away from faith, or at least organized religion, for a time. But the majority of those stories are of a return to faith as they get older. They were started on a path of relationship with God. Whether or not they actually turned from it is a case-by-case discussion, and I would say open for interpretation. The common theme is their return later in life.
You may not know it, but I am one of those who walked away from church in my early adulthood. Partially as a way to avoid my calling to ministry, and partly because of a rebellious streak, I quit going to church during college and the few years following. I don’t think I ever really turned from the path, but I certainly did take an extended siesta on the side of the road! What brought me, and many others like me, back to the church was the formative way I was nurtured in the faith as a child and a teenager.
Which is why I write to ask for your help, now. Some of the most important experiences in my young life were had in Sunday School, and during Vacation Bible School in the summer. And, as I got older, summer camp was foundational for my spiritual growth and development, as well as my first experience hearing a call to ministry. The young people of our church need you to help provide these same types of formative experiences for them.
Over the next few weeks we will be setting the date and revving the preparations for this summer’s VBS into high gear. I imagine we will be looking to hold a weekend VBS again this year; either an all-day Saturday event, or Friday evening and Saturday. (That’s going to be up to the parents!) We’ll need people to help with snacks, games, crafts, bible stories, and maybe more!
Maybe more importantly, we need some help during the next school year with teachers for our Sunday school classes! Our growing and maturing population of kids really need separate Sunday school classes for pre-K to Kindergarten, elementary, and youth. If you are willing to help serve in this way, I’d like to sit down with you in the next few weeks and plan the curriculum for the school year!