Back Nearly 2,000 experience Colossal Coaster World at Vacation Bible School
July 16th, 2013
Photos by Joe Hendricks, Volunteer Photographer
Story by Kaylan Christopher, Staff Writer
In 1898, Walker Aylette Hawes of Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City started a week-long summer Bible program to get children off the streets, according to a recent article from The Barna Group. She rented the only available space she could find—a beer hall. Back then, she called it Everyday Bible School.
A century plus 15 years later, we know it as Vacation Bible School. Today, 9 out of 10 Southern Baptist churches host one every year. You can count us among the faithful flock of those who've done it since our church began in 1969.
Among a host of other summer activities, it's become a staple at Brentwood Baptist. It's an intentional, strategic way for us to disciple children in our own church family and reach kids (and their families) in our community with the gospel.
This year, from July 8-12, more than 1,500 children (birth–fifth grade) and nearly 500 teen and adults volunteers—our largest crowd to date—experienced Colossal Coaster World on our campus. All week long, kids learned everyday truths that surrounded facing fears and trusting God.
Amy Carter, Children's Minister, said, "This year's first day of VBS was the smoothest we've had in all the years of doing this. Thanks goes to our volunteers for helping that happen. And this was the largest group of elementary-age children we've ever had. We had to keep adding more space to seating sections in the Worship Center because kids were bringing all their friends."
Garbed in teal T-shirts, kids took over the highways and byways of Brentwood Baptist to participate in worship, games, missions efforts, singing, and Bible study. And volunteers, in matching orange T-shirts, fanned out to man their posts as teachers, greeters, parking lot missionaries, praise team members, and more.
On Wednesday, teachers set aside time to specifically share the gospel with the children. Amy said, "A lot of counseling and conversations happened throughout the day, and 56 children decided to follow Christ. There are still more we're talking with and some really neat stories are developing of what God's doing in the lives of these children and their families."
Throughout VBS, the team made the missions offering time a fun competition to see who could give the most—the boys or the girls. For the first time in seven years, the boys won. The total offerings of $10,900 will be used this year to support Brentwood Baptist VBS mission journeys to East Tennessee, Germany, Chicago, Israel, and South Africa.
Friday evening rounded out the week with Family Night, including: a spaghetti dinner, cooked up by Chef Craig Bradshaw; a Fun Zone, featuring inflatables, carnival games, and sweet treats; a Family Celebration, where parents worshipped with their children to VBS songs; and three baptisms, two girls and one boy.
"It's good stuff every year—stuff that only God can do," Amy said. "One fifth grader is already reaching out to his mom who he knows isn't a believer. And there were teen and adult volunteers who had the opportunity to lead others to the Lord for the first times in their lives. I'm grateful to be a part of what God's doing here."