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Mobile’s Parkway Southern Baptist Church re-enters world of VBScomment (0)

July 15, 2010

By Kathy Dean

As best as anyone at Parkway Southern Baptist Church, Mobile, can remember, it had been more than 30 years since children skipped through the halls at Vacation Bible School (VBS). With the average age of the 30 or so people who normally attend worship being 60, few expected anything to change.

Then the people prayed.

The workers came. So did the children. And during VBS June 21–25, the Mobile Baptist Association congregation was so inspired that it voted to start a children’s ministry and hire someone to lead it.

“It’s far exceeded my expectations,” said Pastor Ron Prater.

He said the congregation had been praying about holding VBS but didn’t feel capable of handling a group of children.

When Prater was attending a meeting of bivocational pastors in Mobile Association, someone asked if anybody needed help running VBS.

That’s when he first heard about Danny Wiggins and Coffee Baptist Association.

For the past 10 years, Wiggins, pastor of County Line Baptist Church, Enterprise, has led a group of about 50 youth and adults from a dozen churches throughout Coffee Association to do regional missions like holding a backyard Bible club and VBS at churches and towns in the Mobile-area for one week in the summer.

“For us, it’s a combination missions trip and youth camp,” Wiggins said.

Phil Cooley, associate pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Enterprise, led the team who took on the challenge of leading VBS at Parkway Southern Baptist.

Team members passed out fliers in the community on Saturday to get the word out and then worshiped at Parkway on Sunday, where four VBS-aged children were in Sunday School.

The weeklong VBS averaged 13 to 20 youth each day, reaching 28 children, some from unchurched families. Some children were brought to the church by parents, while others were picked up by a church van driven by Prater.

Team member Stephanie Goedert of County Line Baptist was in charge of the crafts. “This is my favorite part of the summer. They’re really eager to learn and they’re so enthusiastic,” Goedert said of the Bible schoolers.

Michael Logsdon of Mount Pleasant Baptist taught Parkway members how to run the recreation program for a VBS.

“It feels strange being looked up to by older people,” said Logsdon, also 18. “I’m showing them how to do everything we’re doing.”

Parkway members plan to take all of the advice they received this year and make VBS a part of its outreach again.

In a part of the state where events are marked by hurricanes that change lives, member Diana Wilson said the last time the church held VBS was some time before Hurricane Frederic, which destroyed the church building in 1979.

“Our church has a lot to offer,” Wilson said, with tears in her eyes. Holding VBS is a way “to let people know God is here.”

Parkway joined the thousands of other Baptist churches holding VBS this summer. At press time, 457 Alabama Baptist churches had reported the results of their VBS experiences.

Information reported includes: 66,201 total VBS enrollment, 1,858 salvation decisions and 5,221 Sunday School prospects made.

For more information on VBS resources, contact James Blakeney at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions at 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 286.

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