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’97 VBS enrollment tops 3 million; more than 53,000 accept Christ

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Almost 3.3 million people enrolled in Southern Baptist Vacation Bible Schools in 1997 and more than 53,000 professions of faith were reported, according to statistics recently released by LifeWay Christian Resources (formerly Sunday School Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention.
According to the Annual Church Profile (ACP), a statistical report compiled annually, 29,355 Southern Baptist churches and missions conducted VBS in 1997, with a total enrollment of 3,295,649. That’s an increase over the 28,431 churches and missions which reported a total VBS enrollment of 3,197,074 in 1996.
According to Becky Martin, a VBS consultant for LifeWay, 14,159 churches also mailed in more detailed VBS reports for 1997. According to these records, 53,606 persons accepted Christ and 401,093 Sunday school prospects were discovered during last summer’s Bible schools. However, Martin said the actual numbers of decisions and prospect discoveries were likely “significantly higher” since many churches did not return the more detailed VBS reports.
Using the ratio of the total enrollment from the detailed VBS reports to the total VBS enrollment reported via the ACP, LifeWay officials estimated the actual number of professions of faith in VBS ’97 totaled 94,346, with 705,924 Sunday school prospects discovered.
“It’s exciting to see that VBS remains one of Southern Baptists’ most effective evangelistic tools,” Martin said. “It’s a great way to impact your community for Christ.”
In other statistics from the ’97 report, Martin said:
— 1,758 decisions for church-related vocations were reported;
— 41,731 students were enrolled in Sunday school through the VBS transfer plan; and
— 58 percent of Bible schools were held at night, 35 percent in the morning, 2 percent in the afternoon and 5 percent at a combination of times.

    About the Author

  • Chip Alford