Growing with God & Each Other


By Nathan Esser

Helping with Vacation Bible School gave me a front row seat to watch numerous children joyfully learn about faith in Jesus Christ. 

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I can’t think of another week in the church where as many people contribute so much of their time and energy toward the same goal and activity.   Youth and adults served alongside one another in a variety of ways. 

Many helped as leaders or helpers with a particular crew, station, area or activity.   Other people helped with the decoration, ongoing planning and organization.  The congregation responded by purchasing and providing needed supplies.  

The Sunday following Vacation Bible School, I joined with the children in worship to participate in the “Time with Children.”  As I listened to Kathie Douma, our Director of Children’s Ministries, I marveled at how excited the children responded.  Without prodding and hesitation, the children joined their voices together and shouted the VBS theme – “Jesus Rescues."

I can still hear the voices of several of the children who continued the cheer a few added times, even after most of the other children had stopped.   “Jesus Rescues,” they each proclaimed, along with joy and a delightful smile.

And then there’s Silliness…

As it happens every year, significant silliness was included as part of the Vacation Bible School experience.  Kids engaged their vivid imaginations through numerous activities, games and crafts.  Everyone learned a few goofy motions that went along with the songs.  In fact, it wasn’t just the teaching and program, but ourselves.  It ended up that, at one point or another during the week, we were all a little silly. 

It often happens when you are smiling and laughing, you more easily let down your guard to allow God and other people become more a part of your life.  It is through the week’s silliness and fun that each person, including leaders and helpers, grew closer to God and each other. 

Time plus Love equals Fruitfulness

As participants gathered in the sanctuary each day for closing, I could see those connections taking place. Adults and children had become acquainted with people they had never met. All of us made new friends and strengthened already existing friendships.

Children, youth and adults were given opportunities to experience the story and presence of God in a meaningful and significant way.

Thank you - for ways both seen and unseen – that you were a part of this week and how we as a church continue to connect, serve and grow as the Visible Face of Christ in Sioux Falls.

Nathan is the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Sioux Falls. He can be reached at

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