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S.C. church takes children on a far-East, VBS adventure

WESTMINISTER, S.C. (BP)–With “konichiwa” (koh-NEE-chee-wah) and a bow, Pastor Bob Weathers recently welcomed 180 children to Vacation Bible School at Bethel Baptist Church in Westminster, S.C.

The church joined thousands of other churches around the country in hosting the “Far Out, Far East Rickshaw Rally — Racing to the Son” themed VBS.

Like many churches, Bethel has an evening VBS. Vacation Bible School Director Cathy Myers said the church holds its VBS at night because it’s cooler at night and because it’s more convenient for the workers.

“Most of our people have jobs during the day, but they really want to help with Vacation Bible School,” she said.

Bethel Baptist offers Vacation Bible School classes for children beginning at age three all the way through youth. In addition, they offer a special education VBS class.

Myers, who has been VBS director for eight years, said Bethel members support VBS with their presence, their time and their money.

“There is no doubt that VBS is our biggest event of the year,” she said. We pull out all the stops for it. I usually run over budget, but someone in the congregation always comes up with the extra money I need.”

Bethel volunteers help in various ways: teaching, providing childcare for the workers’ babies, cooking supper for the other workers and making homemade cookies.

Myers said she relies on LifeWay Christian Resources to offer a great VBS experience.

“I always love the material from LifeWay,” she said. “I trust it to be biblically sound and fun for the children.”

Myers said she visits the LifeWay VBS website for helpful tips.

“[E]ach evening I give each teacher some sort of little treat with a short Scripture or note,” she said, describing one website tip. “It means a lot to them.”

Weathers said the church plans for VBS outreach into the surrounding community by using LifeWay’s Prospect Services to target about 500 households within a five-mile radius of the church.

“Since it is VBS,” he said, “we specifically look for households with children.”

Bethel Baptist also hosts a carnival each summer that helps with VBS outreach.

“The carnival is a lot of fun for us,” Weathers said. “Years ago it started out as a deacon-sponsored church family carnival, but we decided to invite the whole area. We pre-register a lot of children for VBS during the carnival and reach a lot of families. The carnival and VBS are by far our most successful outreach strategies.”

Myers said it takes teamwork to make a successful VBS.

“You’ve got to have good teachers, but you’ve got to have people who fix the refreshments too,” she said. “It takes people leading crafts. It takes people leading the songs. It takes people cleaning up. It takes people making phone calls. Every job is crucial to the success of VBS.”

Beginning in 2005, LifeWay will offer two choices for Vacation Bible School. The themes for both will be announced Aug. 1. For more information go to www.lifeway.com/yourvbs. Tips and other ideas for this year’s VBS are available on the site.

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  • Polly House