Copyright 2023 © Philip Shelley. All rights reserved.
During a certain summer I had the privilege of running a game at a children's Vacation Bible School for 4 days. You may think that sounds easy enough, but I want you to imagine doing it for over 2,100 children Kindergarten to 5th grade. And that's not counting the over 800 volunteers. My Rec Crew, which is what I called them, consisted of 13 young teenagers ready to serve and play with the kids. Sometimes they only wanted to play, but as their leader I had to show them through encouragement, and sometimes urging, to Focus on why we were doing what we were doing. Which was serving and blessing the children that came to VBS. That was our WHY!
To connect with my Rec Crew, I would bring them in before the kids came, give a short devotional, pray, and do a team cheer with everyone's hand in the middle. On one of the mornings, I was giving instructions on making sure everyone picked up trash after the kids left. I said, "even if the water bottles are half full, throw them away." Every time I said "half full", one of the teens would shout out, "you mean half empty." The other teens would laugh and I would leave it at that.
I have the firm belief that Words Matter. It's so easy to demean people because we get laughs, but true character is shown through how we encourage with our Words. What we say and how we say it aren't the only things that matter though. People matter as well. If you truly want to make a difference in people, know this. Without really knowing the value of people, a difference cannot be made. Let people know you care, and you'll show them their value.
The next day during my instruction time, I talked about picking up trash again. This time I called the bottles half empty. Almost immediately, that same teenager said, "you mean half full?" A change of heart is usually followed by a change of mind. And a pure heart, purifies the soul as well. I don't know if he was doing it for laughs or it truly sunk into his spirit. But I do believe that a seed was planted in those teenagers heart, ready to be watered and cultivated by God.
Who are you connecting with and encouraging? Position yourself to make the most of the gifts and talents you were given. Connection is the Key!