As a little boy, Bill Tiller spent much of his summer, every summer, at Vacation Bible School. Both of his parents worked full time, and the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches in his town and in his grandparent’s town served as childcare with a purpose during the long summer days. Bill learned early and often to love Jesus and love serving His church, but even back then he noticed that not many men were part of the serving. It was women who guided his thoughts toward Christ and feet towards service.
Fast forward many years and Bill Tiller can still be found at VBS during the summer, and that has everything to do with the observations he made as a boy. Bill says, “Boys need to see men working and serving at church. It’s important” So important that for the last 7 years, Bill has blocked off the week of VBS in his calendar, not taking any client meetings or other work commitments so that he can be there. And his favorite spot to serve? You can find Bill in the snack room, where he is able to see and interact with every single child that comes through VBS.
And it didn’t take long for the kids at VBS and the Children’s Ministry staff to realize what a gift Bill is to our church. When Fusion56, a program focused on the transition years of 5th and 6th grade, began, Bill was one of first leaders to step up and help make the program happen. And then last year, when Fusion56 morphed into Wednesday Night Kids for 3rd-5th graders, Bill was asked to be one of the Lay Leaders for the program. He has led the 5th grade boys small group all year, and somewhere between knot tying lessons and serious conversations around prayer, the boys in his group have grown up and together and have gained an incredible mentor.
Mr. Bill is a fixture at the Children’s Welcome Desk on Sunday mornings. As families walk in for Sunday school and worship, Bill greets each child by name. “I want kids to know that they are more than just a member of their family. Each child is an individual that should get acknowledged. I want them to understand that they are each their own person and have their own relationship with Christ. I want them to know that their faith has to be their own, and that starts by seeing each child as an individual in Christ.” And if Mr. Bill doesn’t know you, he walks up and introduces himself. He has become an ambassador for young families, helping them navigate Sunday school classes for both children and their parents. He wants them to feel seen and known, and you better believe that the next week, he will greet them by name. In fact, he feels so strongly about the importance of the first impressions of young families to our church that he brings his leaf blower to church on Sundays just in case he needs to blow debris from the long walk through the courtyard to the Atrium.
When I asked Bill what motivated him to spend so much of his time serving in these ways, he said, “I’ve realized that I have a chance to make a difference, and if I’m smart, I’ll do it before I can’t anymore.” In a way that many don’t, Bill has latched onto the idea that what he has been given is really only worth having so long as he gives it away. And so, Bill shares his time, energy and resources more joyfully than almost anyone I’ve ever met. So much so, that he is already thinking about the next opportunity. Bill hopes to lead confirmation next year with the first group of boys he had in Fusion56 who will be 8th graders in the fall.
Do you have gifts of time, energy and resources to share? Bill would tell you to do it now, before you can’t anymore!
To learn more about how to serve at Vacation Bible School, visit TheU.Org/VBS or contact Patrick Jackson, . There are also still opportunities to sponsor a child for VBS. Do so at TheU.Org/Give or designate your gift via check by writing “VBS” on the memo line.