VBS ‘Colossal Opportunity’ for churches

When Sue Harmon was a child, a theme park was built across town from where she lived, “and it forever changed our corner of the world.” The park was Walt Disney World.

Sue Harmon and Keith Watson (associate music minister at First Baptist Church, Columbia) demonstrate song motions for the Colossal Coaster World VBS worship rally.

Harmon, associate director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention’s Childhood Ministry Group, says Vacation Bible School, which will be held in churches across the state this summer, can provide a much bigger life-changing experience for those who find Jesus at “Colossal Coaster World.”

Harmon introduced LifeWay’s VBS theme to participants at the 2013 State Vacation Bible School Clinic Feb. 9. Leaders from 22 state Baptist associations gathered at Spring Valley Baptist Church in Columbia. The annual training event is designed to prepare associational teams for their role as leaders in their local VBS training clinics, to be held later in the spring.

This year’s LifeWay VBS theme is “Colossal Coaster World: Facing Fear, Trusting God.” The theme is taken from 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” The curriculum will challenge kids to face their fears and trust God on the roller coaster of life.

The worship rally stage was decorated to represent the main gate at an amusement park. After experiencing a sample of the worship rally, participants at the clinic attended classes in the areas of VBS they will lead.

In teaching the session for VBS directors, Tommy Comer, associate pastor of First Baptist Church, Gaffney, cautioned against letting the roller coaster theme overshadow the real purpose of Bible school: teaching the Bible and sharing the gospel. An overview of the Bible studies for the VBS week was prominent in each of the clinic sessions. This year’s biblical focus is on Paul’s life, and the lessons are strongly evangelistic.

Participants in the class for leaders of children’s Bible study saw firsthand how d?cor and props in the classroom can enhance the Bible study – and not just be about having fun with the roller coaster motif. Annie Ruth Yelton, of Simpsonville First Baptist Church, displayed props ranging from a mural depicting the road to Damascus where Paul met Jesus to a painted foam-board ship for the story of Paul’s shipwreck on the voyage to Rome.

“Churches need to find a balance,” said Harmon. “VBS is an extremely effective way to reach people who are unconnected to a church or to the Lord, so staying well focused on that is necessary.

“But the fun and excitement of the theme can be what draws people in so you have the opportunity to teach the Bible. ‘Colossal Coaster World’ will give [churches] a colossal opportunity to share the gospel with [their] community.” – SCBC