What if Vacation Bible School could be simple, less expensive, less time-consuming, and more effective in reaching more people?
About 15 years ago, I wrestled with this issue.
Of all the churches in Fort Worth, we did VBS “right.” Our first year, we made a waterfall out of butcher paper, and it flowed from the baptistry down to the worship center stage. We made mountains out of butcher paper and taped them to the walls on the sides, and we covered the chairs in the choir loft. (Needless to say, we purchased numerous large rolls of butcher paper in an array of colors—green, brown, black, red, yellow, etc.) We also gathered all the plants and silk trees from around the building and placed them throughout the worship center. Our auditorium looked like the Amazon jungle!
MINISTRY TEAMS HANDBOOK
By Keri Meek
Ministry teams are a vital aspect of the N.K./L.I.T. program. The purpose of ministry teams is to guide kids in the development of their gifts and talents to bring glory to God and to share the Gospel.
Through their ministry teams, kids are not only able to see how their gifts can be used to build up the church, but time spent in ministry teams also offers another opportunity for discipleship.
Truly effective ministry comes out of our relationship with God. Ministry team leaders have the opportunity to disciple kids in what it means to allow the power of God to inspire teams through their gifts to move the hearts of others. Rather than relying on human power, ministry teams recognize that it is the Holy Spirit who works through us to use our gifts to point others to God. Ministry team leaders also disciple their kids by allowing the kids to do the creating.
When they hit a roadblock, leaders are encouraged to guide the kids to seek the Lord for wisdom through prayer. Ministry teams offer a great avenue for discipleship in prayer and listening to God’s guidance as we do God’s work.
One of my deepest desires is to see the lost come to know Christ. In 2005, our church took our Vacation Bible School into our community. In the two previous years, we spent thousands of dollars on curriculum, resources, and man hours hosting a VBS in our church with minimal results.
After my first two years at my new church, I became very burdened. It seemed like we were hosting a camp for Christian kids instead of fulfilling our purpose of reaching the lost through VBS.
The fact that there were thousands of children and their families in our community that had not heard the Good News of Christ deeply burdened my heart.
I sought the Lord in prayer and simply said, “Lord, if it is Your will, please open doors for us to go off campus into the public schools next summer.” Our church had developed really good relationships with several schools in our community.
I love seeing children in my church and ministry come to know Christ. There is no greater joy than to sit down with them and hear their hearts. Many of them are truly broken over their sins and want Christ’s forgiveness.
Unfortunately, I am afraid that many times it stops there. Afterwards, they attend Sunday school and church services regularly, but they are not discipled to walk with the Lord daily or to have a deeper walk Christ. I have known kids who memorized hundreds of verses and took part in most of our events, but I didn’t see true change in their lives until they humbled themselves before the Lord in surrender.
You see, the Gospel comes at a cost to every believer/follower of Christ. The cost is surrender and total abandonment of our wishes and desires to follow Him. Jesus tells us, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:24-25). That cost is the surrender all of our rights to the Savior.
For some of us, this is a very difficult discussion; even for myself, it was hard to give up and let the Lord have full control of my life. When I did, the light came on, and I have never been the same since. The same is true for our children—until they surrender to His Lordship, they will not experience all that Christ has planned for them.