Meridian Star


June 27, 2014

2014 Vacation Bible School

MERIDIAN — 2014 has proven to be a “happening summer.” Listed among the important events are College for Kids,  the State Games of Mississippi, the Freedom Summer Commemoration as well as celebrity authors in town for book signings (Dr. Ben Carson and  Jase Robertson), plus tons of other things. On my list is Vacation Bible School. Yeah!

     I mean I didn’t make it to a single Jimmie Rodgers event this year or even the Symphony Fun Fest! Holy Smokes, I even missed Clint Black at the MSU/Riley Center, but I will not miss Vacation Bible School (VBS).

    When you are a “busy-bee” like me, one must set priorities. It was almost six years ago when I took a long look at my calendar. Where had I spent my time and with whom? Did that time make a difference in my life or the lives of others?  That’s when I made a vow to evaluate each of my activities – to make certain my life was productive, if not to others, at least to myself.  I marked from my life’s events: meetings, people, places, activities, organizations, and commitments that did not make me happy or was not productive in a positive way. It took courage, but I have never looked back and I have never been happier.

    I must quickly say Vacation Bible School has been on my “to do list” since I was four-years-old. It’s amazing to have a clear memory of just one annual event, such as I have, from so many years ago. In my early VBS years, I vividly remember riding atop a red fire engine as our group paraded through the neighborhood. In my mind’s eye (a child’s eye), I remember the parade lineup as being very long, with VBS workers and church members following the fire engine in decorated cars, with horns honking. It was a wonderful, memory-making time.

     Because I am naturally curious (my husband says “nosey”), but, whatever, I needed to know the origins of Vacation Bible School. I mean it’s a great summer activity, don’t you think? The idea of VBS was initiated in 1894 by a public school teacher, Mrs. Miles, in Hopedale, IL. This first VBS enrolled forty students and lasted four weeks. It was in 1898 when Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City organized a VBS for slum children. The group was so large that the church had to rent a bigger space -- a beer parlor!

      From a beer parlor in NYC to church Family Life Centers located throughout the world, the practice of teaching a fun, compact Bible study for children is considered an epic summer activity. Packed with crafts, games, skits, refreshments, Bible study, missions, and last day commencement programs, plus a big party to shut it all down until the next year, VBS never really ends. This year, once the 2014 class completes, planning for the 2015 year begins.

     The most exciting part of VBS is the glowing faces of the children as the “Good News” is presented to them. If you have never volunteered as a VBS worker, then you are missing a great blessing. Oh, yes, you will return home each day totally exhausted, but normally VBS is just for five days. We can survive that. Also I must emphasize that the needs are many – preparing the snacks or organizing the entire week, workers are in demand. Check with your church or the neighborhood church. You are needed.  

     This year my church, Liberty Baptist Church, along with many additional churches in our area, are presenting Lifeway’s Agency D-3 program. The motto is: Discover, Defend, Decide – the scripture: 1 Peter 3:15. The kids are special agents with the mission to defend the truth about Jesus. With a high-tech skilled team, the agents compile eyewitness reports, physical proof, and biblical accounts to defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jerry Wooley, Lifeway’s VBS specialist said. “We have put together one of the most fun, investigative, and high-tech VBS themes ever.”

     Yes, I have missed a great deal this summer, but with VBS 2014, I hope to have made a difference in the life of a child.

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