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VBS and missions

7/30/2014

By Ariana Castro Acuña

RICHMOND, Va.—Although this wasn’t the first time that Virginia’s Kingsland Baptist Church in Richmond highlighted missions through their Vacation Bible School, this year they did it with renewed purpose, making missions the focus of the week’s activities.

Beginning with a worship rally each evening, July 13-17, Kingsland showed the 120 VBS participants a different video each day featuring IMB missionary Martha Moore and the student ministry she started in Europe called Connexxion, said Christy Wontz, Kingsland’s pre-school and VBS director.

Then, the church’s VBS media director Amanda Campbell talked with the children about what they had just seen.

 “A missionary is someone who goes and tells people about Jesus,” explained Campbell, addressing the children on the second day of the program.

In addition to further explaining missions as part of LifeWay’s VBS curriculum, the church collected an offering throughout the week to support missionaries serving all over the world. To encourage the kids to give to the offering, VBS directors decided to make it a competition among different age groups. Divided into three groups — kindergarten and first grade, second and third grade, and fourth and fifth grade — attendees from the group that brought in the most money at the end of the week would get a reward, Campbell told them.

The reward was throwing pies in the volunteers’ faces. Although it was a secret at first, they decided to tell the kids halfway through the week. After announcing the reward, Campbell said there was a big jump in the offering. One of the groups was so excited they brought in $40 the next day.

The total amount collected was $154.81. The fourth and fifth grade group came in first place, getting the reward of throwing pies in Campbell’s and other volunteers’ faces.

Kingsland Baptist hopes VBS attendees got more out of the focus on international missions than just the joy of throwing pies.

The church wants the children to “have a passion for sharing Jesus across the street and across the ocean,” said Kingsland pastor Pat Fiordelise. “We want to plant a vision for missions in our kids.”

Kingsland member Alicia Barrett was happy that her daughter, Haley, learned about the importance of missions through VBS.

“It teaches them selflessness and to think outside [where they live],” Alicia said.

Haley realized that all ages can have a part in sharing and supporting missions.

“VBS was a good cause for people to come have fun,” she said.

Missionary Martha Moore encourages young people to “make a world of difference” where they are. See more of her story at imb.org/VBS. There you’ll also find ideas for highlighting missions, such as using the Twitter tag #becauseyougive to share how your church is participating in this joint missions effort, as well as how to set goals for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering that supports Southern Baptist missionaries serving globally. Give to the offering via your local Southern Baptist church or online at imb.org/offering.

Ariana Castro Acuña served as an IMB summer intern.

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