Wow, am I tired! Last night was our final KICK for the year, followed by our end of year program and supper. KICK is our afterschool program. Every other week, we send about 500 invitations for KICK to the elementary school which doubles as a permission slip. Eight members of our church plan games, songs, crafts, and lessons to make disciples of the kids who come. This year, 47 kids came through the program, with over 2/3rds of them coming regularly after their first visit. We have seen them practice what they preach and find their own identity in Christ’s kingdom. From the little boy who was so excited in discovering 2 of our men volunteers have attention deficit disorders and insisting he sit with them because he did too, to our sixth and fifth graders taking on leadership roles and helping teach lessons and serve snacks, it has been an amazing year of watching God grow these kids in his kingdom.
Last night continued the blessings that we experienced throughout this year. Roughly 20 kids came after their Tincaps field trip to share their lessons and songs with the guests they invited. Around 35 people came to hear what they had to say. From my own experience in inviting people to church events, that means they probably invited 2x that number. Along with their guests, our 9 regular volunteers, plus around another dozen church members came to help make the night extra special. Many of those extra members made a kid-friendly supper, so that families didn’t feel the rush to get home.
In all, that comes to about 75 people gathered together as part of Christ’s Kingdom.
It was a wild night as a pastor. Only a handful of our KICK kids go to a Sunday worship service that I know of. Only 3 there last night come to our worship service, and 2 of those 3 are my kids. It’s a lot of numbers, but basically it means we had a lot of people present that usually aren’t. And for me, that is why I am in ministry.
I am not interested in competing with other churches for Sunday morning worshippers. There is a saying, “The point is not whether the cup is half empty or half full, its that the cup is refillable.” That’s kind of how I feel about our church. On Sundays, we are like a half filled cup. But God is not interesting in filling us with someone else’s half filled cup. He wants to fill all the cups. He wants to reach the people in our community who don’t have a church they call home. He wants us to reach those who need us most.
I am in ministry to share Jesus with those who don’t follow him and are not connected to the Body of Christ (the church.) Being part of a church doesn’t make you a Christian, but it sure helps you to grow as one. And because I believe in the community of the church, I pray for each of our KICK families, that they will be in our sanctuary again before next year’s program. I want them to experience what our KICK kids have experienced. I want them to discover themselves in the Bible, and discover God in their world. I want them to be so excited, that they share it with the people they love the most in the world.
So I pray that the revolution of compassion at LaFontaine UMC that causes half of a congregation to get involved in an afterschool program, and that attracts 47 kids to come to a place where only 70 worship on Sunday morning will continue to grow. I pray that their compassion will be so powerful, that it will draw those families deeper into the community of faith. May this end-of-the-year program be just the beginning!