Local Partnerships

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Last week, I took my daughter and a friend to Marceline for Vacation Bible School, but we didn’t stop at the church. We drove right on through town to the aquatic center! They met at the shelter house for music, a Bible lesson, a snack and a couple of games and then they went to the pool for the last half hour.

As I was sharing this with a friend, they commented on how costly that might be. Actually, it is a simple reallocation of budgeted funds. When you aren’t spending money on elaborate decorations, craft supplies, and a full meal you can spend that money in other ways, like pool fees. (However, if there is a need for children to be fed in your community, please recognize that and do so.)

Community resources, like an aquatic center, provide wonderful ministry opportunities and develop your church’s identity within the community. When utilizing such resources make sure passersby know you aren’t having a private party, and that they are invited to join in or bring their children the next evening. This could be a role that one or two volunteers are responsible for: chatting with the public and inviting those in the area to join in.

Speaking of specific responsibilities: this is a great way to engage older students. Offering them a specific way to use their gifts in leadership helps them feel needed and important. It also offers an opportunity for youth and adults to build mentoring relationships as they serve together.

What can they do? You’ll get a good idea of specific gifts the more you spend time with them, but for starters you might try one of these ideas:

  • Small group leader: give them four or five students with whom to discuss the Bible lesson and play games.
  • Music leader: Do your songs have motions? Ask a couple of older students to learn them and then teach them to the children.
  • Actors: Can your Bible lesson be acted out? Maybe your older students can put that together and really make it memorable!
  • Public Relations: Do you have a really outgoing, chatty youth? Maybe you pair her with an adult for the role described above.

In each of these a supporting adult should be available to guide and answer questions as they learn the role and your expectations. Just as we have been trained, so we must train up young leaders. In Numbers 31:3-4 Moses instructs the tribes to arm 1000 men each for war against Midian. Surely they didn’t just hand them each a sword and kiss them good-bye. Arming them includes training them how to use their weapons. As we engage young leaders in ministry, it is imperative that we take the time to train them to use their gifts.

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