Friday, April 20, 2007

Start your engines

All this week I have been working on summer. For a Children's or Youth Minister, summer is your bread and butter. Those two months are what make or break you. I've always been a huge over achiever in the area of planning duke to do. I usually fill everyday with some kind of activity and have at least one if not two huge blowout parties. There are the usual and typical things like VBS that take up a whole week, and take three months of hard planning to pull off. I'm always trying to do it bigger and better. I'm hoping that someday I'll just stick to the better part and throw bigger out the window.

Summer, for me, is no time to relax or kick back, at least it hasn't been since the early ninety's when I start working with youth. Summer is pedal to the medal: go! Early mornings and late nights six days a week. On top of the activities I still pull off the normal year round stuff on Sunday and Wednesday. One good thing about summer is that I get to wear shorts without excuse. I do love watching the cherubs love having fun at stuff that I plan. It's one of the best parts of my job and why I do what I do. It's great fun, but there will be days this summer as there have always been since starting that I just stop and look inside myself and say, "What in the Sam Hill are you doing? For Pete's sake just give this up you will never be any good at this, stop trying." But then some cherub will come up and give me a hug, or a parent will come to me with that look in their eye and say, "my kid can't stop talking about you, they woke me up at 5 am this morning wanting to come see you." That's when this old vessel hits fresh water and the albatrosses fall off, giving me a reprieve for yet one more summer.

There are some very memorable VBS experiences that stand at the top of the list in my years of doing VBS. The first was the VBS of 1995. That was the year that our Youth Minister and a mother of the church decided we needed to have a better VBS than we have ever had. They proposed a night time VBS marketplace. We had been doing daytime VBS with a cute little program and cake, like always. I would have embraced that idea had it not been my senior year and had I not had he most incredibly tense semester of my life. I tried to say no, not this year. Please let me get through this semester and graduate, get married and then we can talk. Nothing doin--it's happening. I was smoking hot mad, but went along with it because that's just what I do--internalize and move on.

It did turn out to be one of the most amazing times of my life, to see all the people come out of the woodwork to help create a market place was amazing. I learned to sow a bag, and sew a snake. I did a lot of things I had never done before. We had an architect in the congregation who built wooden framed houses and every year we would just cover them with cardboard and paint them. We had a sweet lady make homemade bread and hand them out, potters, beggars, you name it we had it. It was a great market place. They are still doing marketplace VBS like the one I reluctantly started so long ago.

The next most memorable VBS programs were the ones at Deer Creek. We did a marketplace VBS with six or seven structures. I think the first year we did Noah's Ark. We had this crazy idea to make a huge ark and put it on stage for the kids to love. We built this thing and it was about 8 or nine feet tall and at least 10 feet wide. We covered it in chicken wire and stuffed every hole of that bugger with tissue paper. Mildred, Brian, and her number one son were there as much as Kendra and I, making this thing come off and work. It was awesome and the kids had an amazing time. I think everyone at Deer Creek was blown away by our VBS and the number of kids we had show up. We also did a VBS that showcased the "Hall of Faith" from Hebrews 11. My idea was to get statues and put them on the stage as our, "Hall of Faith" then have each statue come to life, on different nights, and tell their stories. The funniest thing about that was our statue construction. We bought foam heads from Sally Beauty and tried to make each one of those heads look like a different person. Do you know how hard it is to make a woman's head look like a man? We had this whole stage of transsexuals, it was the best we could do, but we all got a kick out of it.
It's amazing how people's talents come out and shine. At Deer Creek we had some really, really talented people, then there were people who really took instruction well and did exactly what we said. It was during those Deer Creek VBS days that Kendra, Mildred, Brian, and I became so close. We had the best time and laughed a lot! So much fun, so many memories. I think those VBS success at Deer Creek are what made the evil man hate me and feel the most threatened by me. I've blogged about that before, so you can look that one up and read about him.
There will be memories made this year, and I look forward to those. I look forward to it being over and I've just made the calendar! Sad, isn't it.


Donna said...

Oh William...don't you remember??? Those heads turned out awesome. All because of Kendra. She took charge of that deal and, like everything she takes charge of, they were amazing. I need to scare up a picture to remind you. For anyone else reading this comment, she used paper mache to completely change the origial head. They all looked different. It was so cool. We did call them transvestites, but not because they didn't look good, more because we were smart mouth brats!
I really must dig out the pictures of that ark. It was an absolute masterpiece! Credit for that one lies square at the feet of Kendra and Brian.

Donna said...

One more thing......and I swear this is said completely without prejudice.....there is no doubt you are the BEST children's minister in this country. No question. I prejudice...I don't really even like you all that much...not enough to give you a false compliment ;).

Will said...

Mildred, I certainly remember, vividly, all of the work and the fantastic results. The heads were great no doubt, but knowing they all started out as a styrofoam head was just too funny.

Tracy said...

wow... we've just been missing out at the ole catholic church - no transvestitles or nuthin ROTFLOLPIMP. but seriously - i never heard of VBS until i moved down here - swear to God! and we have one but no cool marketplace. sounds just wonderful how everyone pitches in - what lucky kids to have you mr will!