Do those three letters evoke feelings of nostalgia for you? As a child, I remember the butter cookies that I would put on my fingers like rings, or the crafts we would create with LOTS of Elmer’s glue. Most of all, I remember smiling adults that really seemed to care about me.
As an adult, those same three letters bring me feelings of excitement and thankfulness. Many of my friends recognized their own sin and committed their lives to Christ at a Vacation Bible School when they were children.
First Baptist Powell held our Vacation Bible School last week. We used the Answers In Genesis curriculum “The Incredible Race,” which had children “traveling” to different continents and learning that, no matter the color of our skin or the language we speak, we are all part of the same race-the human race, and that Jesus Christ has come as Savior of the world! At Globe Trotting Games children played the international sport of fútbol and completed relay races and other fun games. During World Class Crafts the children made a table top fútbol game, a mosaic cross frisbee, and kindness cards that gave ideas for how to show kindness to others. Experiments were completed daily during World Class Science where children also learned all about melanin and why our skin is different colors. The kids enjoyed snacks from around the world at the Runaway Cafe, including chips and salsa, plantain chips, and delicious cheese! We all came together at the beginning and end of each day to learn songs about Jesus, watch a drama video, and learn about animals around the world.
At our max, we had 125 children from ages 3 years through 5th grade. Many of those were not FBP families, but rather were from the community, or they attend First Baptist Academy or Parents Day Out. What an opportunity to serve and love on our community! We had so many children register, that we actually had to close registration before we began and advertise that we were full! If I’m honest, that broke my heart.
We are so grateful for our volunteers! We had over 50 men, women, and youth, who were able to serve these kids. While some of them had children or grandchildren attending, many of them simply served because they wanted to and had the time to do so. What a sacrifice and love for the next generation! Half of our volunteers were our FBP youth. It was a beautiful picture of one generation (the adults) discipling the next (the youth) to disciple the next (the children).
Children’s Ministry is such a vital part of a church’s ministry and has a much further reach than we may realize. Not only are we serving the children, but we are serving the parents as well, by coming alongside them to disciple their children and by allowing them to be equipped and grow (in their own classes or worship service). One of the hurdles to executing VBS every year is finding an adequate number of volunteers, and this year proved to be more difficult due to being on the tailend of the covid pandemic. Even still many don’t serve because their own children have aged out of VBS, and I must confess that my reaction was one of frustration. Are we only supposed to share and serve when it benefits our own children? Many of these kids from our community may have heard of Jesus Christ and His salvation for the first time last week! What a humbling privilege to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community through this ministry!
Vacation Bible School is a once a year event that yes, requires you to sacrifice your time and energy; but the results are worth it! Even if one child surrendered to the LORD as a result of VBS, it would be worth it. We know that His Word doesn’t return void (Isaiah 55:11), and that His Words are life (John 6:63).
As an adult I can still remember the sweet adults that cared about me. Would you be that person for someone else? We would love to serve alongside you and serve even more children at FBP VBS next year!