What comes to mind when you think of your favorite childhood memories? For me some of the greatest times were camping with my family or riding bikes with my friends. So many of my favorite memories also have to do with the church family that was constantly present in my young life. On camping trips, my parents’ friends from church were usually there. There were days of sledding in the winter and VBS in the summer. These were times I brought my friends along and we just enjoyed all the fun that the church offered us. I didn’t think deeply theological thoughts or even realize how God was in process in most of these times. Still, God’s presence was made known to me through little old blue-haired ladies who made cakes or taught Bible classes, through men who were my Dad’s friends or who took us skating, fishing or four-wheeling. I gained independence and confidence as I was carried along with our preacher to pick up kids on the Joy Bus. Beginning in junior high I would lead singing or teach the lesson or do puppets for the kids in children’s worship. These were the people and events God placed in my life, filling my young days with positive memories. Looking back, I can see that they made powerful imprints on me, imprints that were marked by the fingerprints of God.
Today we celebrate the high school graduating class of 2022. A few weeks ago, I posed this question to them: as a kid or teen, through your life at Conejo, what events or activities were your favorite or had the greatest impact on your faith? Among their answers were King’s Kamp, Teen Camp, Carols and Candlelight, and VBS. Every answer had a common thread which I find interesting and encouraging. They all mentioned that they grew the most when they served others. They remarked about the power of participating in Carols and Candlelight as kids, not just as spectators. They talked about the power of being a counselor at King’s Kamp, or helper at VBS. These times of giving to others have not only been their favorite memories but also the greatest ways they have come to know God and grow in faith.
The point I am making with all this is hopefully clear. The events and plans we make with our kids at church have tremendous potential for good. This is not just true for our kids. The principle holds true for all of us. The more we get involved and the more we serve together, the more likely we are to grow closer to Christ and deeper in faith. So let’s learn from this recent past. Getting involved and taking part in “church activities” is good for us all. Let’s make more memories.