VBS: Facing fear, trusting Go
What are you most afraid of? Heights? Failure? Riding over long bridges? Who was it that sang “I don’t like spiders and snakes ...”?
I read this week that psychologists have identified 628 kinds of phobias. For instance, achluophobia is fear of darkness; bathmophobia is fear of stairs or steep slopes; belonephobia is fear of pins and needles; cacophobia is fear of ugliness; amnesiphobia is fear of ... I can’t remember that one. Mageirocophobia is fear of cooking. The list goes on and on.
The Bible addresses fear. In fact, at least 58 times, we are commanded to fear not. Instead of living in fear, we are commanded to trust God. Our 2013 Vacation Bible School emphasis addresses this issue.
This year’s theme is “Colossal Coaster World: Facing Fear, Trusting God.” Set against the backdrop of an amusement park and a scary roller coaster ride, students will be challenged to face and conquer fear with God’s help.
This concentrated time of Bible study, activity, music, crafts, recreation, refreshments and fun for children and students usually is held during a week of “summer vacation.” People now take vacations throughout the year, so the emphasis could be called “Summer Bible School,” but Vacation Bible School, or VBS, is the traditional name.
Our dedicated workers take VBS very seriously. Preparation and follow-up take weeks before and weeks after the event is completed. Our workers spend several weeks decorating their rooms to coordinate with this year’s emphasis. They spend hours preparing their material and lesson plans. Once VBS is completed, the work continues as Sunday School teachers invite children to enjoy their classes on Sundays.
For me, VBS is not only a present blessing, but also a pleasant childhood memory. My early years were spent at Jefferson Avenue Baptist Church in East Point. We’d have a crowd. I still remember Bible verses that I learned in those summer settings. I remember gluing popsicle sticks together to make a “plaque” and then gluing on macaroni letters that read, “what time I am afraid I will trust in Thee,” (Psalm 56:3).
I remember always looking forward to refreshment time, which usually meant peanut butter crackers and a bottle of Nehi grape or orange soda.
VBS later played a key role in my call to ministry. As a college student, I applied to be a Baptist Student Union summer missionary. Baptist Student Union, now called Baptist Collegiate Ministry, is a Baptist-supported ministry to students on campuses across the nation. Every summer hundreds of students contribute their summer to serve in various roles overseas and nationally.
I was appointed to serve as a vacation Bible school worker in the Bahamas. (It was a tough assignment, but someone had to do it). I was Georgia’s representative on a team of 12 students who were divided into teams, teamed with Bahamian youth and assigned to different churches over a five-week period. Our team stayed in Nassau and worked with five different churches helping to lead VBS.
I taught the youth, and my two partners worked with the children and the preschoolers respectively. At the end of two weeks, my partners wanted to switch. One of them took youth, the other took children, and I ended up with the preschoolers. I didn’t really picture myself as a preschool worker, but it was a time of exercising great flexibility and of realizing how God could use me if I was just willing to be used. It was a time of tremendous personal and spiritual growth. Looking back, I now see how God used that formative experience to show me He could use me as a full-time minister.
Vacation Bible Schools are still going strong in churches across our county teaching children and young people more about the Bible and about how to have a stronger relationship with Jesus.
Our McDonough Road Baptist Church VBS is June 3-7, 9-noon. We’d love to have your children, pre-K through 12th grade (must be five by Sept. 1), participate with us! You can enroll by going to our website or by coming by the church office.
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church in Fayetteville. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of drivers’ services building, and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit us on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.