Published May 1, 2018
LOUISVILLE—Across the state, Kentucky Baptist pastors, church staff and Vacation Bible School leaders with hearts for evangelism and VBS have been gathering for REFOCUS: Evangelistic VBS.
Intentionally shaping VBS to be more evangelistic should be a priority for churches, because statistics show that roughly 25 percent of professions of faith that a church records are a result of VBS, Todd Gray, the Kentucky Baptist Convention's evangelism and church planting team leader, told attendees at the Louisville Regional Baptist Association on April 24.
REFOCUS was planned with VBS leaders, as well as pastors and church staff, in mind, as a "gathering on doing evangelism through VBS," and a way to "help them make their VBS more intentionally evangelistic," Gray said.
"It (VBS) is the single most evangelistic thing that we do as a group of churches and has potential to be even more than what it is," Gray added.
Jerry Wooley, minister of adults at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, Tenn., and the national Vacation Bible School leader at LifeWay Christian Resources, where he initiated a training process each year that resulted in over 60,000 leaders being trained annually from 2006-2016, shared that a survey of 3,000 church leaders revealed 98 percent see their biggest need in VBS is follow up.
However, he said, what they are really saying is that many churches "don't know how to do evangelism connected to VBS."
"We are the most evangelistic denomination in this country," he continued. "If we as Southern Baptists do not know how to do this, then we are in trouble."
He added that those polled essentially said, "We know how to find the kids. We know how to get them here. We don't know what to do after we get them here."
Evaluating the end goal, not only in the VBS director's mind but also the pastor's mind, is key in organizing VBS.
Wooley encouraged leaders to do the following things with the end in mind: schedule, select curriculum, recruit and train, promote and market, conduct the week, and follow up.
"We need a paradigm shift in how we think about VBS and how we think about follow-up. It's not that we need another resource. We need a conviction. We need to become intentional," he said.
This VBS equipping event was held in five other locations: Mayfield, Owensboro, Bronston, Berea and Ashland.
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