Fathering Leaders Build Community
The idea of fathering leaders build community is something we talk a lot about but the other day I had a great opportunity to practice what I preach. Does that ever happen to you?
I had volunteered to help out with our church’s VBS (Vacation Bible School) this year, like I did last year, and I was preparing my room for the following week of classes. It was Saturday and there was a plethora of volunteers all over the campus who were decorating everything. Even many of the teens from the youth group had come to help out.
Now as those of us with kids know, sometimes it actually takes longer to do things with others “helping” us (particularly kids) than if we had done it all by ourselves. However, that’s not the point of church. Church is supposed to be a community, a body that is “fit together” somehow. And I should simply be about sharing Father’s love to everyone I meet. So I took a deep breath and began to decorate my room.
Throughout the morning there were various people popping in and out of my classroom to lend a hand. At one point there was another lady and a couple of teen boys with me. The woman and I were in the process of hanging a sheet up (sorry, don’t have space to explain that), so I asked the two middle school boys if they could cover up part of the wall with some paper. They went to work eagerly. (They’re so precious.)
The boys took this giant roll of paper, held it up to measure the space, and started cutting and trying to attach the section to the wall. I looked over at the lady helping me and we both smiled, realizing that a comedy of errors was about to unfold. Let me just say that duct tape, masking tape, scissors, a step ladder, and staples were involved, and several opportunities for problem solving occurred, but 20 minutes later, half of the space was finally covered in paper. I complimented their work and sincerely thanked them, then redirected them to a new job that was probably better suited for them. I told them not to worry about the rest, I would finish the other half later.
After they left to go do their next job, I chuckled inside as I knew this had been a test for me. Was I tempted to fall into judgement of these boys because they really didn’t know how to do the job I gave them? Yes. Was I tempted to move into perfectionism because they didn’t do it the way I would have? Yes. But would that have communicated Father God’s heart? No.
A fathering leaders build community by being one who bears the weaknesses and failing of others without condemnation. I knew these young boys were doing the best they could, they weren’t experts at this, but they were trying. Their hearts were open and willing to help in any way. (They really are precious.) Could I have done it better and faster myself? Probably. But there would have been no community built. I absolutely loved watching these middleschoolers problem solve as the paper kept falling and wouldn’t stay attached. Out of frustration they would look at me and say, “Ms. Cyndi…!” and I would make suggestions allowing them to continue and eventually succeed in their job.
This is building community. VBS was a wonderful opportunity to see so many adults, youth, and children working together for God’s kingdom — a multi-generational community functioning as a body. It was also a great opportunity for me to practice what I preach!