i love the encouragement, challenges, and fruit that comes from being a part of a collaborative team. i was reminded of that joy once again through a “little” tweak we made with some very special men at our recent kidlife week.(vbs) many of these men had served as greeters and “jump guys” last year during kidlife. the “jump guys” were responsible for helping expel energy out of children that finished crafts early through several jump devices. (i.e. jump ropes) they were such a stellar group to have around, the question was, “how would we work them into our GREAT BIG GOD theme this year?”
our team leader, jan, cleverly thought to to call them “high five guys”. we wanted to use them at doors, in hallways to greet children, and anywhere with the challenge to be intentional with encouragement. instead of ordering expensive shirts, we purchased cheap ikea safety vests and added “high five guy” buttons to the front and stickers to the back. add a cheap home depot tool belt and they were ready to go. then our preschool minister, brooke, and i set out to apply this in an age appropriate way to each of our ministries. for preschool, she purchased stamps for these men to share with children before/after kidlife and during snack time in the fellowship hall. for kids we created bling (i blogged about that here.) and in addition to engaging in conversation with the kids at the doors and hallways, they listened to memorized daily “bottom lines”, scripture, and shared bling. we wanted to be super intentional about these daily bottom lines, because at the end of the week they took home the truth of the Gospel in button form. one girl shared with me today that she is keeping her bling in her kidlife memory box craft she made last week. (i just love it when it all works together.)
we knew the “high-five guys” were neat and going to be a popular part of kidlife 2013, but we were blown away by the bond the kids shared with them. preschoolers and children would rush from their cars into the building to high five a sweet man in a neon vest. ”high five guys” overheard unchurched guests repeating the Gospel bottom line to parents when leaving the building. these men served more than a role as greeter or giver of high fives, they were like kidlife heroes. they called children by name, welcomed visitors back, encouraged other volunteers, and made sure parents knew their children were valued and cared for during the short time we had them each day. this group of men were so adored they actually caused traffic jams and a few transition hiccups. (a great problem to have.) next year we may have them at the doors for before/after and then assign them to snack rooms so that each class gets a personal “high five guy.”
oh it wasn’t perfect process, but it was a precious example of the body of Christ coming together to pour the love of Jesus on the children. the receivers weren’t the only ones blessed. these “high-five guys” had a bit of fun as well. one “high five guy” shares about his experience below.
“I’ve had quite a few jobs at Dawson, and I think this may be the best one yet. I wonder now if it is the most important job I’ve had at church? It is such a joy to see God working through these children. They inspired me with their energy and interest in learning about Jesus… and their knowledge. In five mornings they learned the plan of salvation in terms they can say and understand. If only we adults could understand so simply and take things to heart so quickly and solidly! It’s fun to be such a popular character among the children, but the real reward comes form hearing them express God’s love through Scripture and the eternally significant bottom line statements for each day. It’s effective evangelism. Oh yeah, and it’s fun.” – Jim
one sweet preschooler was so fond of the “high five guys” that he got a vest from one at the end of the week. it made his day, but he didn’t stop there. he shared the encouragement (and stamps) with other well after kidlife week was over!