According to Facebook memories, nine years ago today was the day that I kissed a goat. At the time, I was pastoring at Enon Missionary Baptist Church, which sat just outside of Ashmore, Illinois. We were having our church’s Vacation Bible school which we combined with another church for that summer.
As most churches do, we established a mission goal for the week and set some incentives to get the children to meet those goals. Every night, the children attending would bring canned goods that we would then collect up for a local food pantry.
We set what we believed to be a reasonable goal for the children to meet by the end of the week. As a reward for meeting the goal, myself and the other two pastors that were involved agreed to kiss a goat.
It was a five day VBS and by day four the children had already surpassed their goal. Maybe we should have set the cool little bit higher. Maybe we should not have underestimated the children’s desire to see me kiss a goat.
There was a couple that lived just down the road from our house who had some goats that they kept as pets. Their boys both attended our VBS and they had agreed to bring their goats down for the closing ceremony. Friday rolled around and at the end of the service we all gathered in the front yard to kiss goats.
Now, the other two men who were involved in these shenanigans are wonderful people. However, I do not believe that they fully carried out their responsibilities in the goat kissing. They kissed the goat but only on the top of the head or the cheek which I suppose was sufficient.
Now it is my turn. With the owner of this baby goat holding it up at my side and all of the children gathered around in anticipation, I planted a smooch right on the goats mouth and everyone cheered wildly (maybe laughed???)
At the time, I remember thinking that I was just going to outdo the other two pastors that were there. Looking back at it, who knows where that goes mouth has been? I don’t really know goats that well. They might eat their own poop. I’m not really sure.
One thing that I do know for sure. Do not underestimate children. We set goals for them and often times don’t feel they will actually reach them. But if you set a goal that a child absolutely wants to see happen they definitely will find away. Children can be motivated to do things as long as we give them goals that they want to achieve. I remember this every time I look at this picture.
I’m not sure that some of the kids even understood what a food pantry was but they did wanted to see me kiss a goat and they brought food to the church in order to do that. That was the goal that they wanted to see and they reached it easily.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.