Tag Archives: VBS

Agency D3 – Defending Truth

Agency D3

Welcome to Agency D3.  This year’s VBS theme is full of secret agents and investigating the truth.  In a culture that prides itself on relativism and half-truths, this VBS theme is as timely as it is fun!  We’ve even gotten a “threat” from a supervillain by the name “Doctor B” who has threatened to sabotage our VBS in order to distort the truth.  Hopefully there will be a special agent that rises to the challenge to thwart Doctor B’s evil plan and ensure that the truth is preserved for all the children learning during Vacation Bible School.

Every year, our VBS leadership does a fantastic job of putting together a top-notch outreach.  It is always important to remember that VBS is about getting the Good News of Jesus into as many hearts and homes as possible.  While decorations are exciting, snacks are delicious, and crafts are, well, artsy, the ultimate goal is that people are introduced to Jesus and accept Him as Savior.

This year, I found myself a little discouraged leading up to VBS because we don’t have a monopoly on the VBS calendar for this week.  In fact, there are at least 9 churches from our Association doing VBS this week.  And not all of those churches are on the other side of the county either.  In fact, Mills Chapel, Macedonia and Heatherwood are all doing VBS this week.  Why did this discourage me?  Because I realized that with three of our closest sister churches doing VBS at the same time that our numbers would be seriously deflated.  I have to admit that it is very exciting to have our church full of kids for VBS.

And then the Lord began to deal with my discouragement.  He helped me see the blessing of sharing the week with our sister churches – even if it meant fewer kids in attendance.  Allow me to explain.

One of the problems with VBS is that we tend to pick up a LOT of kids to attend other evangelical churches.  It isn’t that we don’t love those children, but in reality, if they are faithful and happy participants of another church, then they are not the “target” of an outreach like VBS.  If those kids happen to become Christians during our VBS, we rejoice in that decision – but we still encourage their home church to take care of the necessary followup through baptism and discipleship.  Perhaps a fishing analogy will help explain: If I’m fishing for bass, it isn’t that I mind catching a catfish from time to time, but that’s not my target.  And if I spend all my time, effort and resources on catfish, then I never have the opportunity to catch the bass.  Therein lies the problem with VBS – catfish.  Understand?

When our VBS is filled with kids whose families are faithful and happy participants at other churches – then we spend a lot of our resources on families that really aren’t our target, and we end up missing the unchurched family that happens to be with us for the week.  With multiple VBS’s happening simultaneously, then we reduce the number of catfish in the pond, and we can pay closer attention to the bass that we’re fishing for.  Always remember, VBS is about growing THE Kingdom, not OUR kingdom.  This week, we can have a real opportunity – even if we have fewer kids – to see more children and families reached with the Gospel.

One of the best things you can do this week is help your kids identify unchurched families in your neighborhood and invite them to come and have fun this week.  I promise you, they will hear the Gospel while they’re here.  While this is true particularly during the week of VBS, it is generally true all year long.  Unchurched people will typically only come to church after multiple invitations by a friend, family member, or neighbor.  75% of all reported church growth is due to people leaving one church to go to another one.  This kind of growth is a zero-sum game because the Kingdom doesn’t grow.  But when unchurched people repent from sins and give their life to Christ, then there is real Kingdom growth and the angels in heaven rejoice!

Happy VBS!

Pastor Brian

 

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The Connection

The very first time I ever flew out of the country was a few years ago.  I was going to Jamaica with a group of 15 to take a class at the Seminary in Kingston.  We met at the prearranged time in Birmingham to ride together to Atlanta to catch our flight.  As we were preparing to go, Delta called and said that they had canceled our direct flight and were rerouting us through Ft. Lauderdale.  Here’s the catch – the flight to Ft. Lauderdale was leaving an hour earlier.  In other words, we had to hustle from Birmingham to Atlanta in order to make our flight.

To complicate things, the new tickets we were assigned were one-way and they appeared to be paid for with cash.  This meant we got the “extra special” security screening!  When we got to the airport, I will never forget what our professor told us, “Get as far as you can!”  So, after making through security, and getting on our flight with ten minutes to spare, we were able to get to Ft. Lauderdale and make our connection – barely.

You don’t realize how important a connection is until you’re about to miss one.  I was thinking about all of the “connections” I have made in my life.  Then there was the connection I made when I realized my sinful condition and my need for a Savior.  I thought about the connection I made in a little Baptist Church in Cleveland, Tennessee when I surrendered my life to ministry.  Of course, how could I ever forget about the connection I made with Heather Kitchens back in April of 2000?  Of course, she has a new last name now, ask me about it someday and I might tell you the story.  I think about the connection I made with the chairman of the pastorsearch team at Northside Baptist Church.  All of these and more were very important connections in my life that have brought me to where I am today.

All of these connections (and lots more) have brought me to where I am today.  And they all have something very much in common – there is a very real connection between faith and life.  This is a connection that we must not miss.  Many times it is our tendency to segment our lives.  We have our work segment, our familysegment, our church segment, and we do our very best to keep them nice and neatly compartmentalized.  We try not to blur the edges.  The truth of the matter is that a correct Christian worldview means that the edges are very much blurred.  Our faith should connect with every part of our life, not just the churchy parts.  For a Christian to keep his faith apart from the other aspects of life is as strange as a bird pretending to not have feathers.

One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is the necessity of connecting our faith with everyday life.  When that connection is made, then it is much easier to see the other connections that God may be putting in our pathway to help us fulfill His desires for our life. That is the message behind VBS this year.  Throughout the next week, we will be helping children make this all too important connection.

The only way we can ensure this connection ismade is through careful consideration of the Word of God.  In Romans 10:17, Paul wrote, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”  Faith is not some generic spiritual emotion; it is a specific, life-changing response to Christ based on that which is revealed to us in the Scriptures.  Faith should transform our worldview and should quickly blur the edges of our segmented existence.  What a treat to be able to share this connection as followers of Christ.

 

In Christ,

Pastor Brian

 

 

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