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I remember struggling to get connected at my church when I was in college. I was a freshman and I felt utterly alone. My dad gave me the counsel that, instead of waiting for others to move towards me, I should move towards them. He asked me, “Where can you serve?” “Where can you gifts benefit other people?”

There’s the old adage,

“I went out to find a friend, but did not find one there,
I went out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere.”

At a large church, it’s easy to be lost in the crowds and not quite know where your friend group is or what service opportunities there might be.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to Sandra Ter Haar about opportunities to serve this summer in Vacation Bible School. I had no idea this will mark the 20th year that Sandra has been helping coordinate Harvest’s VBS!

Mark your calendars for Harvest’s VBS this summer: July 22-26.

You might be surprised to find out, Sandra shared with me, by personality she would much rather stay in her comfort zone and allow others to take the initiative. But the Lord put it on her heart to move out towards others and serve the children of the neighborhoods right around Harvest church.

Sandra lists 4 ways that the VBS has become a rich service opportunity:

  1. Fellowship: members get to participate and get to know each other. If you are new at Harvest, you’ll meet people you’ve never been able to talk to in other contexts. If you have been here many years and feel you don’t know all the new people, this is a great way to connect names and faces with new families who have joined recently.
  2. Testing Gifts: young people get to try their hand at teaching, playing music and serving in hospitality and welcoming others. Harvest members will get to be stretched and try things that they might not get to do.
  3. Leadership Skills Developed: some of these young people went on to be our Sunday school teachers, committee leaders and elders and deacons at Harvest. You never know who has potential until they have opportunities to try and perhaps fail at something.
  4. Outreach Opportunity: we have the gift of being able to connect with children and families of those who might have never been to a church before! In the early years of Harvest, up to 1 out of every 4 kids who attended VBS, had never been to a church before.

 

You can listen to our “Grace Stories” episode of Simple Grace Radio with Sandra Ter Haar here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/simple-grace-radio/id1607380335?i=1000651579429

If you would like to share your talents and support our church before VBS this summer, you can fill out the deacons questionnaire share this week. You can find that here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MyvNPvkO5bxrMUUjJgL2JS6FMdTbig9oYB2ye7g38jc/viewfo

What I am reading:

Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge”: in the church I attended during seminary, I was introduced to this southern novelist’s jarring fiction. These are not stories to read as you get ready to fall asleep. She will persuade you of your fallenness and profound need for grace. The one critique you may have is that her stories don’t seem to be filled with hope. Just remember, that before you can receive God’s love, you need to be convinced of your need of it. This is certainly true of O’Connor’s stories. They show you how much you are like her characters and that nobody is above needing redemption.

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