I was just looking at some pictures (online) of the 2021 VBS (Vacation Bible School) at Shady Grove Baptist Church in North Richland Hills, Texas. I see some of the same people who traveled over the years from Oregon to Maryland, South Dakota to South Texas, and to a multitude of places in between. I will never forget those trips – stacked in vans, cars and trucks, occasionally long air flights – with an amazing array of VBS props and materials. One of the sweetest treasures in this old man’s heart is the commitment of those men and women, teenagers, and staff from the Church, as they paid their own way – mostly, used up vacation time, slept in cramped quarters occasionally, ate what was available, and worked with hundreds of children sharing Jesus Christ, and the message of Scripture, (parents and other adults were invited to a Bible study) while always demonstrating His power to change lives of ordinary people into extremely lloving, giving, sharing, maturing people.
I remember well that no matter how “successful” the VBS was, the real growth and Spiritual maturity was realized in the life of the Mission Trip Volunteers. We were amazed at the work of God in the life of people around us. God was strong to show His power and llove for us, as well as the people (Churches) who hosted the Team. Churches that led us to believe that our efforts to reach children would be limited were astounded when the five or six expected kids became 60, 80, 10o, or more. SGBC chose to take VBS to only those Churches that could not have VBS because of financial limitations (SGBC paid for everything) and a lack of teachers and kids. Thousands of dollars were spent, all replaced by the hand of God. Children came “out of the woodwork” to hear the Gospel. Churches were astounded by what God could and would do in five to seven days.
I still have my letters and cards the family of SGBC sent to each team member. Every member of the team got cards, letters, gifts, encouragements and llove from people at home who were praying, believing, and caring, every day of the VBS. Dramatic changes happened in lives – members of the host Church, visitors, guests VBS attenders who had never been inside a Church, kids and adults who came just to see if what was advertised was REAL, but most of all, the team members were blessed beyond measure by the Father of Llove, Life and Light, and many have continued to work in VBS to this day.
Those pictures remind me of what this thing we call “Church” is all about. They remind me of the value of VBS. They remind me of the words we all hope to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest.”