Monday, June 23, 2008

Bible School Starts Today

Throughout my entire pastoral ministry, Bible School always played a key role in church ministry. My first year as an intern youth pastor in the summer of 1985 I had to dress up like Robin Hood to play the main character at the church’s Bible School (pictured). This is the same church that would put a giant chicken out in their front yard a few weeks prior to VBS to signal to the community that the most exciting Bible School in the area was quickly approaching.

Our busses would bring in hundreds of children for Bible School. We had all kinds of contests between bus captains. Each year the losing bus captain had to swallow a live goldfish in front of the whole Bible School. And any bus that came pulling in with 100 riders on it got treated to Dairy Queen after Bible School was over that day (the bus laws were obviously less stringent back in those days). And we would always end Bible School back in those days with a closing program on the Sunday night following Bible School with a greased pig chase.

As I spent my 8 years of youth ministry at this church I served as the main teacher for VBS as well as the Director while my wife organized the Early Childhood end of the program. Interestingly enough, the young man who followed me as youth pastor of that church after I left was one of hundreds of kids who found Christ at Bible School. His parents were led to Christ by the visitation teams that visited in the homes of unchurched kids who attended VBS.

During my 9 years as the Senior Pastor at the Osceola Grace Brethren Church we dubbed Bible School as “the best week of the year.” Everyone participated. It was amazing how many men would take vacation that week to serve at VBS. My wife was the Director of the whole program for those years and we would see well over 500 kids (sometimes all in one day) pack our church for this special week with hundreds making decisions for Christ.

The highlight of the week was always Wednesday which was “fire truck day” at Bible School. One of our church members who was a fireman in the local community would bring the huge water truck with the big ladder and hose and for game time we would take all the kids out into the big open field behind the church and spray them down real good. Each year this fireman vowed to drench me but somehow I got through every single year without getting a drop of water on me!

Today VBS begins here at Grace Church. This week we will see many children reached for Jesus who Himself said in Mark 10:14, “Permit the children to come unto me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” I always get excited about Bible School. I’ve seen it used so many times resulting in kids and whole families coming to know Jesus. Contrary to what some might think, children really can get saved and they really do need Jesus. How do I know? Because I trusted Christ to be my Savior as a young child. I believe in meeting children where they are at and moving them to where God wants them to be.

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