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500,000 Sunday school prospects gained through VBS 2000 efforts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Churches gained more than a half million prospects for Southern Baptist Sunday schools, thanks to Vacation Bible Schools conducted in 2000.

Statistics from VBS 2000 have been gathered following the tabulation of information sent in on church VBS report forms and the Annual Church Profile (ACP) at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Information gathered from the “Ocean Odyssey”-themed VBS yielded included:

— Churches and missions reported 25,244 schools.

— A total of 2,795,494 enrolled in VBS.

— An average of 111 attended each VBS.

— A total of 91,477 made professions of faith through VBS.

— A total of 532,243 prospects for enrollment in Sunday school were discovered through VBS.

VBS remains the “number one avenue we have for reaching prospects for Sunday school,” said Becky Martin, LifeWay’s Sunday School/FAITH consultant for VBS. Also, she noted, the number of decisions to accept Christ reported from VBS usually equals about 25 percent of the total baptisms reported on the ACP annually.

The VBS 2000 numbers are estimates based on the ratios of the total enrollment from actual VBS reports to the total enrollment reported on the ACP, Martin said.

Of the total enrollment in VBS 2000, about 25 percent were preschool-age children; another 25 percent were children in grades one through six; 25 percent, faculty; 14 percent, youth; and the rest in other categories.

In addition to written reports, Martin said LifeWay worked with state conventions and associations to gather statistics.

“A new reporting system will be in place for 2002 that allows churches to enter their reports directly into the Southern Baptist Directory Services by means of the Internet,” she said.

“It is my hope that when we begin the new VBS reporting process, we’ll have more accurate and complete information that will help pastors and church leaders see that VBS is a cutting-edge evangelistic tool as well as a well-remembered summer event from our childhood,” Martin said.

“If churches follow up with the VBS prospects discovered and the decisions to accept Christ recorded during the event,” she said, “VBS is worth every hour of work and preparation. Unreached families will be reached for the Lord. Who wouldn’t want to do VBS with these kinds of results?”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: VBS.

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  • Polly House