We’d improved our internet speed from the first week of online Bible School and felt confident we wouldn’t lose connections during the ZOOM session again. About the time we planned to open the second night’s session, the camera feed to the computer in the balcony stopped. It stopped. Working to not working in five minutes. As families piled up in the queue waiting to be let in, we scrambled to fix it for a few minutes, then came up with plan B as we passed the 6:30 start time.
Armorer Beth crouching in front of my laptop propped on a music stand. Cheryl, “Sparky the Dragon,” on ZOOM the entire time as her fingers went numb. Sir Jeff frantically copying his closing wisdom from paper to his arm. Me on my phone, with some help from Knight Ali Garmon, trying to write down the names of the kids on the session so we could draw for prizes. Will and Reylen doing their best to switch between Beth on the laptop and the balcony computer’s pre-recorded videos—while muting and unmuting the right mics at the right time.
Several times the past few weeks Beth, Jeff, and I have asked one another why we tried to do Bible School this fall. With COVID most small churches like ours skipped it—and most larger churches that did it online had paid technical staff or seasoned AV veterans to help them.
On our walk Monday morning, Jeff said he was thankful that nobody on the team got angry or pointed fingers of blame last night. He’d pulled from his Catholic roots to “absolve” Reylen (a Bethel college student) from any guilt over what happened before he left—after Reylen and Will (a high school student) stayed to fix the problem. We talked about how important it is to have younger disciples like these two guys as well as Addie (our trusty Science Lab Assistant) and Ashlyn (our crafts guru) involved in ministries like this.
We talked about how Jeff, Beth, Cheryl, and I have been in an online small group together for a couple of years which has laid a foundation of trusting God (and each other), living missionally, and making disciples. It might be providential that our study that week was “How Jesus Handled Crisis”!
We talked about how Jeff got a “hey, God brought you to my mind tonight and I’m praying for you” text from Kim, a former Bethel colleague & prayer warrior, as we started the crazy evening. We talked about the parents and grandparents who didn’t give up trying to get on ZOOM when we started late—and how Beth enjoyed being able to see the kids on the laptop and interact with them.
Before we realized there was a problem with the camera, the four of us were talking about what our VBS theme would be next year. Hero Central was one of our favorites, and we discussed reprising that one. Nobody mentioned next year at the end of the evening! Yet Monday morning, the photo above popped up in Facebook Memories: two of our brothers in Christ serving kids during Hero Central a couple of years ago. Maybe it was providential.
“Church should be the place we experiment—it should be one of the most creative places we have.” Mark Batterson