Sharing VBS materials takes gospel far and wide

By a VBS Set, Ghostwritten by Chelsea Bush | May 14, 2024

With the VBS set behind him, Kelcey Fry, family pastor at HiWay Baptist Church in Mesa and AZMN VBS team leader, talks to children at HiWay’s VBS.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu)

My journey began when I was designed and created last spring in a church that loves children and loves Jesus. They know the importance of sharing the gospel with as many children and families as possible through hosting Vacation Bible School. This church is the beginning of my journey.

While my journey technically began last spring, it really started more than 20 years ago. At that time, churches realized they could share VBS resources and effectively share the gospel with many more people.

It began with a shared backdrop at the association. By the end of summer, the backdrop went to about eight churches.

The resource sharing grew to include materials and other decorations as time passed. Churches got involved through word of mouth, and the gospel was shared far and wide with children across metropolitan Phoenix throughout the summer.

This past year, the people at HiWay Baptist Church in Mesa created me, the VBS set. The family pastor, Kelcey Fry, designed me and the decorations that go with me.

Pastor Kelcey understands that his church has the skills to create resources, and he wants to share what they have with other churches. He also knows that, by sharing me, he can encourage his fellow ministers to share the gospel in their own communities.

Vacation Bible School is one of the most effective outreach tools a church can use to share the gospel. It is a great way to engage new children and families.

This was my beginning. I am the one of the first things a child sees at VBS.

My journey from HiWay led to Starlight Park Baptist Church in Phoenix. The pastor there, Mike Williams, has seen firsthand the benefit of larger churches sharing resources with smaller ones. Pastor Williams has watched countless children enter his church for VBS with wide and enthusiastic eyes.

The VBS set makes a weeklong stop at Royal Palms Baptist Church in Phoenix.

When children are engaged and excited by the decorations and set, he said, “you’ve opened the door to share with them something unique, the gospel … we’re talking about people receiving Christ. That’s what this is about.”

After Starlight Park, I visited Royal Palms Baptist Church in Phoenix, where Jackie Fry is the children’s minister. She agrees with Pastor Williams, sharing, “the gospel is the important part of this … so these churches are partnering with other churches in order that the gospel go farther.” Royal Palms used me for a week and then passed me on to a church they don’t know personally but who requested to use me for their VBS.

Over the past two decades, numerous churches have participated in this resource sharing. It benefits both larger and smaller churches who participate, allowing them to connect and to help one another in a common goal: to share the good news of the gospel throughout the Valley and the state of Arizona.

I may be a simple set along with a few decorations, but in the eyes of the churches who connect and share with one another, I am a powerful tool to reach and engage children with the love of Jesus Christ.

Next Steps

  • If your church hosts VBS each summer and would like to share resources, or if your church needs resources to host VBS, contact Kelcey Fry at HiWay Baptist Church.
  • VBS requires willing and available volunteers. Get involved by volunteering to design a set, decorate or serve during the week as a volunteer at your church.

Chelsea Bush, a freelance writer living in Phoenix, is a member of Foothills Baptist Church, Phoenix.

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