Vacation Bible School (VBS) is that one time of the summer schedule that churches go all out to make learning about Jesus fun and exciting. VBS, traditionally speaking, is the most evangelistic time of a church year too. Children are invited to come, posters and banners are displayed, arts and crafts are organized for each grade level and the most important Kool-Aid, cookies and snacks for each day are planned and prepared.
Across southeastern Kentucky, many churches with large and active memberships have no problem recruiting volunteers from within their membership to carry out the work involved in promoting and organizing a week-long VBS event. However, for many churches, the resource pool of workers are few and without the help of others the opportunity for a VBS would not be possible. Since 1969 the First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, S.C. has been stepping in to assist local churches and filling in where the need exists so that children, teenagers and even adults can participate in a VBS event in their local church.
Rev. Seth Buckley is the minister of students at First Baptist Spartanburg. He has been leading students and adults each year to make the journey through the mountains of North Carolina and over Clinch Mountain to this area to serve others through Christian love, and to make a difference by sharing their talents and energy to make the name of Jesus known to others. The vision of this year endeavor began in the heart of Dr. Alastair Walker, who served as the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Middlesboro prior to being called as pastor of First Baptist in Spartanburg.
One will often hear the statement or the question, can one person make a difference and that answer is yes. This year 250 plus students and adults have cleared their summer schedule of sports camps, family vacations and other events to be in Kentucky to make a difference. The difference these volunteers are making is an eternal difference. The impact of a smile, a handshake and a hug can make all of the difference. Acceptance, opportunity and experience area a part of this week too. The difference that is being made flows two ways on this week’s journey and the experience for many will be a never forgotten moment of experiencing God’s grace, mercy and love at work.
It is often difficult to express appreciation in a way that we think is appropriate. We want to say express appreciation in a dramatic way that will get our point across that we are grateful for the difference made. We look for a way to show a big time appreciation on that will impact those that have given to us. In expressing appreciation, we want to share our hearts expressions of love that we’ve experienced because you came along side of us and gave of your time to just sit with us and learn about us and who we are, what we believe and what we are dreaming.
With 52 weeks in a year it is easy for me to select the most important week. It is the week that we are invaded by white vans, happy people and folks willing to tell the old, old story of Jesus Christ and His love. I express my appreciation to the First Baptist Spartanburg for VBS and for the difference one week out of a year can make. The story of that little boy standing on the side of the road waiting to be picked up is one life that is changed. There will never be enough space to write and express appreciation.
Follow Tim Mills on Twitter @THMills.