When It's Time to Change

ministry It's Vacation Bible School week at our church, and it's a bittersweet time for me. This is the last year that I'll have a child participating in VBS.

I love VBS. I chose to follow Jesus during fifth-grade Vacation Bible School, and I've been teaching VBS since I was in high school. I've been involved with fifth-grade VBS at our church for almost 20 years.

But this year, I find that God is talking to me about maybe doing something different next year. For years, I struggled to make themed material that was written for churches with groups of no more than 20 relevant. We rewrote curriculum. We created team competitions. We prayed to keep the attention of these almost middle-schoolers.

Two years ago, God answered my prayers and our student ministry took over the fifth-grade portion of Vacation Bible School. They created an experience for our fifth-graders that is relevant, eases their transition to the middle-school ministry, and is a ton of fun (we're having a full-on food fight today). I've been thrilled to be a part of that process.

This year, my role in VBS has been in the background. I helped them with some of the curriculum. I've baked snacks. I've advised student leaders. I've watched as our staff does what they do so well in engaging our kids. And I've had fun. But I've also felt God telling me that it might be time for me to find a new role, a new way to minister during this week.

Life is like that. God calls us to certain places, certain ministries for a season. Even full-on parenting is just a season. My season as a fifth-grade VBS leader has lasted a lot longer than many seasons in my life. But it's still just a season. God allowed me to shepherd this particular ministry for a long time. But, now, it just might be time to move on to a different role.

When God calls us to change, when He calls us to minister to others in a different way than what we're used to, it can be scary. It can be frustrating. We often dig in our heels and say, "But I like it here." Because change might mean we have to step out of our comfort zone. Change means we might have to learn something new. Change means we might face new challenges.

As our kids grow, the way we minister to them has to change, just as our ministry to others sometimes has to change. We can't mentor our kids emotionally or spiritually if we don't change the way we parent as they grow. And that often means we have to step out of our comfort zone. It means we have to learn something new. It means we might face new challenges.

But allowing God to lead us to change the way we minister to our kids as they grow is one of the most important things we can do for them. We can't feed them spiritual baby food their whole lives. We have to move them on to solid food. We have to allow them to stretch their wings and see what God can do in their own lives. Instead of force-feeding them our relationship with God, we have to allow them to develop their own.

Any time God calls us to change something -- whether it's a ministry we've been a part of for 20 years or the way we parent our kids -- it takes faith. It takes trust. It takes an unwavering commitment to follow Him even though we don't know where He's leading or what the outcome will look like.

But God always has a plan. He always has our best interests in mind. He loves us more than we can ever comprehend. If He's asking us to take a new step in our parenting or our ministry to others, He knows what He's doing. So, while it may be scary, while it my take trust, taking that new step is always the right thing to do.