Asia Frye is a recent AMBS grad, retreat speaker and former youth pastor. She lives Hillsboro, Kansas, with her husband and daughters where they attend First Mennonite Church. Asia likes board games, gives lots of high-fives and thinks she’s funnier than she probably is.
Wednesday evening during Holy Week, the children in our church put on an activity inviting us to reflect on Jesus’ life.
At five stations, they presented vignettes of Jesus’ life and ministry. As small groups of “travelers,” i.e. adults, visited each station in the rotation, the children and their helpers talked about what they had seen Jesus do there in the days prior. For example, in our courtyard beside a campfire and surrounded by old fishing nets, the Bartel boys told about Jesus calling the disciples. Then they handed out bags of goldfish crackers to aid the travelers on their way. In the chapel (become overturned temple), the fourth graders talked about Jesus’ righteous anger as they cleaned coins from the straw strewn across the floor. At the sixth and final station in the sanctuary, all the groups converged at once to see (an adult) Jesus wash Peter’s feet. The children then stripped the sanctuary of all decoration as a soloist sang Were You There (when they crucified my Lord?).
The entire event was spiritually powerful and included children in the ministry of the church in a meaningful way. Afterward, the children played outside in the nice spring weather while adults gathered in the fellowship hall to talk. It was one of those picture perfect evenings.
While supervising the playground, I was chatting with the college student who had facilitated the room with my younger daughter. My Ellie played a character, a little girl, who was a friend of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5). She told the travelers how her friend had been so sick, but Jesus had come and healed her. Apparently, engaging, winsome Ellie captivated the travelers with this biblical scene five times.
However, then came an unexpected sixth group of travelers. My seven-year-old was tired. The college student asked her, “Can you tell these people what Jesus did here?” Ellie replied simply, “No, thank you.”
Personally, I find that pretty funny. Such are the dangers of working with child actors.
However, I started to think about all the opportunities that we have to tell people “what Jesus did here,” and how often we too say, “No, thank you.”
I could talk about Jesus, but I don’t know these people very well, and I am uncomfortable — no, thank you.
I could talk about Jesus, but these people seem smarter than me. I don’t want them to laugh — no, thank you.
I could talk about Jesus, but I’m just not very good with words — no, thank you.
And, to Ellie’s credit, she had talked about Jesus five times before she declined.