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VBS ’98 attracts 3.2 million; 60,000 make professions of faith

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Approximately 60,000 professions of faith were reported in 1998 in Southern Baptist Vacation Bible Schools, a ministry that attracted more than 3.2 million people to churches across the country.
According to the Annual Church Profile (ACP), an annual statistical report compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, 29,042 Southern Baptist churches conducted VBS last year, enrolling 3,232,712 children, youth and adults.
Becky Martin, VBS consultant in LifeWay’s Sunday school-FAITH ministry department, said 14,156 churches also mailed in more detailed VBS reports for 1998. According to these records, 59,185 decisions for Christ were reported, up from the ’97 total of 53,606. In addition, churches discovered 366,972 Sunday school prospects. 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 to LifeWay.
In other statistics from the ’98 report:
— 41,314 prospects were enrolled in Sunday school through the VBS Transfer Plan.
— 2,525 decisions for church-related vocations were recorded.
— 1,177 mentally handicapped persons enrolled in VBS.
— 8,341 Bible schools (59 percent of the total) were held in the evening, 4,925 were held in the morning (35 percent), 521 were a combination of the two (4 percent) and 248 were held in the afternoon (2 percent).
“Historically, VBS is the greatest generator of Sunday school prospects in Southern Baptist churches and one of our most effective evangelistic tools,” Bill Taylor, director of LifeWay’s Sunday school group, said. He mentioned a special summit LifeWay is organizing this fall which will explore ways to continue improvements in LifeWay’s VBS materials.
Taylor said LifeWay, along with the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, also is working on a process that involves senior adults and college students in leading Vacation Bible Schools across the country.

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  • Chip Alford