My toughest course in college was an introduction to statistics. I honestly don’t remember much about the course, just the professor. It was his first year as a college professor, and I had him on Mondays at 8:00 AM. I am convinced that he wanted to make a significant impact on our lives, so he made his class the most difficult you could imagine. He did everything he could to make us hate statistics. His lectures did not line up with the textbook; he talked fast and did not like to be interrupted with questions. The final blow came on the final exam. He told the class that the exam would not be cumulative, but would only cover material since the midterm. Wouldn’t you know it? When we showed up for the final, it was cumulative! You could hear everything from teeth grinding in anger to the soft sobs of a couple of young ladies who had struggled to keep up. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt when I turned my exam in that I had just turned in an “F.” I was just hoping that it wasn’t so bad of an “F” that I would not have to retake the course.
I may not have learned the intricacies of statistics in that class, but I did learn enough to realize that statistics can tell us much about our reality. This week, our church will be hosting Vacation Bible School, and statistically, VBS accounts for somewhere between 25-30% of all the baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention. Those numbers can be interpreted in two ways.
The first interpretation is, “Wow, that’s amazing.” I’m blown away by the fact that this one event is so effective at reaching the lost with the Good News of Jesus. I love the fact that our church goes above and beyond for VBS. Why shouldn’t we? No one should ever dare to complain about budgets for VBS, spending for VBS, decorations for VBS, or anything else about VBS. The only complaint that we should ever hear about VBS is, “Why don’t we do more?” It works. And if we find something that is effective at reaching the lost, then we had better make sure we’re doing everything we can to facilitate that effort.
The other interpretation is, “Wow, that’s frightening.” VBS occupies one week on a calendar that is made up of 52 weeks, yet statistically it accounts for more baptisms than any other single event. That is not to say that the church is ineffective for 51 weeks out of the year, but it does remind us that we should bring the same level of intentionality, excitement, and energy to the other events that we do as a church. What if we were as intentional to bring friends and neighbors to a worship service or Sunday School as we were to bring them to VBS? We might find that more people would give their life to Christ as a result.
This is going to be a great week! Our VBS directors, teachers, and rotation leaders have done an amazing job getting everything in place for this week. I hope you are in prayer for what will take place this week. I really do believe that God has got good things in store for our church over the next six days as we consider His great power and share that power with a church-full of children. So, buckle up, fix your tray tables, and put your seat in the upright position, VBS 2012 has been cleared for takeoff.
P.S. – I got a “B” in statistics. It was a “B” that I was VERY proud of!