Discipleship, salvations, and lots of animals: VBS around the state

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Summertime means vacation for families, but it also Vacation Bible School for Georgia Baptist churches. A check of Baptist churches across the state revealed a variety of programs and results. Here are several reporting good attendance throughout their week-long VBS. 

33 salvations in Blackshear

Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear held its VBS June 3-7 in the morning. However, it wasn’t a typical Vacation Bible School.  

Called “Camp Champ,” the event was similar to the WinShape camps hosted by Chick-fil-A for grades 1-9. Younger children, birth though kindergarten, attended VBS sessions. The camp had a total attendance of 178 children for the week with an average of 28 volunteer leaders taking part daily. Some youth, 10th grade and up, also helped with VBS, especially with the morning kickoff for pre-schoolers. 

The theme for the week was “The Incredible Race: One Family, One Race, One Savior.” There were 33 decisions for Christ at Camp Champ. 

Bible verses from Pollyanna the Parrot in Albany, helping build a well in Mozambique

Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany also held its VBS June 3-7, also in the morning with the theme “In the Wild.” Enrollment for the week was 604 with an average of 523, including preschoolers, elementary, and volunteers. There were 206 total volunteers, including youth and adults, who led VBS. 

Brittany Reveiz as Pollyanna the Parrot teaches Bible verses at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany. SBC/Special

The week saw 25 professions of faith and 10 additional decisions for baptism. Children’s Pastor Mark Scardina provided the gospel messages each day. 

Each morning rally included Pollyanna the Parrot teching the children Bible verses. Also, breakfast and lunch were offered to all children through the local school system’s Summer Food Program. During the week, almost $1,000 was raised for Project Mozambique to help construct a well. In addition, more than 1,200 canned food items were brought in during VBS that was donated to The Lord’s Pantry in Albany. 

Craft time for the older children included making items for this year’s Operation Christmas Child boxes. They included bracelets  as well as a bracelet-making kit for girls, fishing kits for boys, and jump ropes out of old T-shirts.  

Ellijay children help with overseas missions project to feed others

Drew Holt and Camden Lyles work on a craft during VBS at First Baptist Church in Ellijay. FBCE/Special

Ellijay First Baptist Church’s VBS occurred June 3 – 7 with morning sessions for four-year-olds through 6th grade. An average of 129 children and 56 adults led the sessions. Twenty-six of the volunteers were members of the FBC student ministry. Three children made decisions to give their life to Christ. 

The theme for the week was “ROAR: Life is wild, God is good,” with each day bringing a different focus. Those themes were: Monday – Life is unfair; Tuesday – Life is scary; Wednesday – Life changes; Thursday – Life is sad; and Friday – Life is good. 

The mission project for the week was Heifer International, an organization that provides animals, irrigation systems, and seedlings to help provide food, a means of income and a way for individuals to provide food. First Baptist children and leaders donated $1,200 to this project. 

Students help teach in Waycross

Central Baptist Church in Waycross held its VBS  June 23-27 with an average attendance of 80 children from three years old to 5th grade for the evening sessions. Eight decisions were made, most of which were first-time decisions for Christ while others were recommitments. 

Ninety-four volunteers taught classes on a rotating basis throughout the week, including youth helpers and those in the kitchen and registration. The theme for the week was “In the Wild.” Youth volunteers also helped to teach the Bible studies during the week. 

Woodstock holds morning and evening sessions

Woodstock First Baptist Church held VBS sessions in the morning and evening. The morning sessions averaged 2,414 in attendance while the evening sessions averaged 582. WFBC/Special

First Baptist Church Woodstock held its VBS June 24-27 with two sessions daily. The morning sessions averaged 2,414 in attendance while the evening sessions averaged 582. Sessions were for children, however, a number of youth joined the adult volunteers to lead the children using the theme: “The Incredible Race. one family, one race, one Savior.” Overall an average of 1,000 volunteers led the week-long VBS. 

The sessions focused on each individual as God’s creation, one family. An offering was donated during the week to help children in the public schools who need meal assistance throughout the school year. Leaders reported the response as “overwhelming gracious.” 

Couple matches children’s missions offering in Statesboro

Adults and children pray during VBS at First Baptist Church in Statesboro. FBCS/Special

First Baptist Church of Statesboro used “In the Wild” as its theme for VBS each morning June 3-7.

During the week the church had a total enrollment of 925 with an average of 508 children each day led by 245 volunteers. The week-long VBS saw 37 children make decisions for Christ. 

The children brought offerings that totaled $2,926.71 at the end of the week. A couple in the church matched the total to make the final amount $5,853. 

Those funds will go to help provide Vacation Bible Schools for missionary kids, which a mission team from the church will be conducting later this summer. 

More than $3,000 for home and foreign missions gathered in Waycross

Children take part in a group activity at Sweat Memorial Baptist Church in Waycross. SMBC/Special

Sweat Memorial Baptist Church in Waycross held its VBS June 2-7 and used “In the Wild: Amazing Encounters with Jesus” as the theme.  

Average attendance Sunday through Thursday was 234, counting children, youth, and adults. An average of 60 adults also served as leaders for the week. Friday was family night with approximately 300 in attendance.  

During VBS more than $3,000 was given for home and foreign missions. It will be divided between Bethsesda Recovery in Waycross, Set Free Ministries in Brantley County, and Baptist Global Response. Any amount over $3,000 will be used for postage for Samaritans Purse Christmas boxes. 

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