Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Joy of Water

John Bryant, Denver, NC

One of my responsibilities at Salem has been working with the day camp. During the summer, the church’s afterschool program becomes a day camp for children in the community. In order to gain more experience with children’s ministry, I lead a devotional one day a week for the day camp. With forty to fifty kids signed up, these devotionals require a fair amount of planning, finding something that will speak to the kids within the camp’s weekly themes. My first one followed a script that a previous intern developed after graduating from Duke, a devotional series that draws on the style of Godly Play. For the second devotional, however, I was on my own.

The weekly theme was Lake Week. I settled on a devotional about baptism. I quickly realized that there was more major concern waiting for me. Since the majority of the kids are not church members, I could not assume they were all Methodist. In fact, most aren’t meaning that not all of them have been baptized yet. So I need to ensure that my message, while staying true to the Methodist beliefs of Salem and myself, would not leave out those from other backgrounds.

I explained baptism in a general manner and then specifically with regards to the United Methodist Church concerning infants, noting that Methodists do baptize older children and adults as well. The focal point was that in the Bible water is often a sign of God’s love for us. So when we see a baptism, we recognize that as God loving us. As I concluded I splashed droplets of water over all the kids. Their screams of surprise and joy reminded me that God loves us in surprising ways. What better way to say thank you than with our joy.

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