Being that we are a small church with 80% of our members retired, we were looking for some way to conduct a Vacation Bible School. With almost no man-power and scarce resources we were left with little options. Upon attending a pastor’s luncheon, I met Vicky Willis (the Children & Families Ministries Consultant for the Mobile Baptist Assoc.) who shared with me how Mission Fuge (aka M-Fuge) can help small churches with their Vacation Bible School.
Here’s how it works… A team from the camp consisting of adults, high-school students, and college students will come at a determined time (our time is 12pm – 2:30pm) and host the VBS at your church. They bring all the “man-power” (i.e. all the teachers, helpers, song-leaders, etc…), all the materials, and anything else needed to conduct the Bible School.
What are you responsible for? Three things… 1. Outreach for the two weeks prior to VBS! We did this and I will tell you there is nothing like having 60 to 80 year old men and women going out door to door sharing about our VBS… it was encouraging and good for the mentality of our church (aka: good for our members to get out into the community and share). The Mobile Baptist provided us with 400 flyers and we made 200 copies with a total of 600. We passed out about 550 to houses, Apt.’s, and businesses! Those numbers do not translate into kids, but it does increases the chances for a larger crowd. 2. Snacks for the campers/kids. This takes hardly any effort, if you manage it right. We had Sun. Sch. classes commit to contribute cookies, chips, and drinks for 3 weeks and then if they liked they could donate some homemade goodies, or just some cash to help buy some goodies (if need be). There needs to be someone in charge of this station at all times during the VBS to keep it flowing well. 3. Proper outreach when it is over. This is my favorite part. You must have proper info to contact the little ones (and their families). It helps if you can get some additional info (i.e. parents are divorced, or mom is very sick, etc…)
Our outreach begins this week with VBS ending on Friday, we are inviting our kids back on Sunday Morning to be apart of the Worship Service. After the service we are having a pot-luck dinner and some inflatables for them to enjoy. Hopefully they will come back and join us, and might even bring mom and dad.
What are the drawbacks to having M-Fuge? 1. You don’t know the teachers. It could be that there are some teachers who just can’t get the Gospel right. This is a drawback. Chances are the ones teaching are going to do a good job. The camp screens the teachers/campleaders… they may not share the Gospel as clear and theologically correct as you would, but they are hitting on all cylinders! This is a point for us reformed folks to grow… I do not believe that one has to be reformed to communicate the Gospel… again, they may not communicate Spiritaul truths as well as you but that doesn’t mean that they can’t – or shouldn’t!
2. Once the campers are gone, there are no familiar faces. This is very easy to remedy. Invite your church to get involved and particape with the songs, snacks, and Bible study. They can come and “hangout” with the campers and at the stations. This way when the kids do return they see some familiar faces, not just new ones.
3. The church could use this for a crutch. This is designed to help churches get a start on VBS and not use this as a crutch for laziness. I was very up front with my church about this… saying that we are getting help so that next year or the following, we will conduct our own Bible study. It is good to make this clear at the begining, and not to have M-Fuge conduct your VBS for more than 2 years.
When it is over, I will make some updates and let you know how things went… until then – Enjoy!