It all started with a cup of coffee…(VBS!)

Meet Caroline Efird, the director of Children’s Ministries at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Durham:


(She doesn’t usually look quite so—what’s the word? festive!—but I think you’ll agree that she makes those glasses look pretty good.)

It was over a cup of coffee this spring that Caroline and I somewhat accidentally hit upon the idea of All Saints jumping in and joining Good Shepherd for their Vacation Bible School this summer. And I couldn’t be more thankful for that “accidental” conversation!


This past week, about twenty children and four volunteers from All Saints joined 250 children and over 100 volunteers for a week of fun and learning about the life of David, what it means that he was a man after God’s own heart, and what it means for us to emulate that heart in our own lives. Through drama and puppets and games and crafts and even meticulously themed snacks, the children experienced stories from David’s life in new and exciting ways.

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Even the children who knew the story of David and Goliath inside out were freshly impressed by the giant (on stilts!) whose strobe-lit slaying at the hands of the boy David was made real in a new way for them through the impressive dramatic skills of the folks at CGS. Thanks to the creativity of ASC’s own Nicki Carpenter and with the assistance of four faithful youth volunteers, including Luke Jackson, sweaty games of tag and water balloons and ultimate frisbee took on new meaning with pool noodles as swords and shepherds and sheep as players.

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Marnie Densmore, another ASC volunteer, became a master slingshot maker over the course of the week, and in the meantime had conversations with and built relationships with lots of children and adults who made their way to her tent in the marketplace. Sarah McSwain and I both had the enviable role of leading groups through the whole week, comprising children from ASC, CGS, and other local churches. The questions we had the opportunity to answer, the prayers we got to pray with them, and the fun we had together with our groups are memories that will certainly stick with the children (and us!) for a very long time.

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Over the course of the week, the children memorized Bible verses daily. One verse that showed up on the list and also during our worship time several mornings is from 1 Samuel 16:7:

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(Here’s ASC’s own David Carpenter, bravely reciting a memory verse for the entire group of children and volunteers during our opening worship time! Go, David!)

What a beautiful promise to each of the children who participated in VBS this week, that what the Lord wants for them is a clean heart, longing most of all for what He wants, seeking most of all after the things of His kingdom; and what a sweet gift it was to me, as an adult walking through the week with these children, to be reminded by their simple but profound questions how the faith of a child can serve as a model for all of us. Ask, seek, knock: that’s what children do instinctively and without reservation, and in doing so, seek after the heart of God, sometimes without even knowing it.

Thank you, Caroline and your fantastic team of coordinators and volunteers, for inviting us to join you at VBS this year! What a gift it was to serve and pray and work and play alongside you–we already can’t wait until next year!

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{Here’s a fun one-minute summary of our time at VBS as told by one of the children’s favorite “volunteers”: a puppet!}

<p><a href=”″>IMG 5500</a> from <a href=”″>All Saints Church</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

{Beautiful professional photographs courtesy of Julie Yoo at Vibrance Photography: Cell phone photographs courtesy of parents and volunteers!}

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Filed under Children, Fellowship, Fun

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