What makes VBS great

Thank you for your prayers and support these past two weeks.  As you know, it has been a busy season here at ABC.  We just returned from Beach Camp last weekend, and now we are in the middle of hosting a large Vacation Bible School every morning at the church.  But amidst all the busyness, I’ve been proud to watch our church step up and serve so well.  I’m grateful for staff members like Derek Tackett and his facilities team who have gone above and beyond to make sure our facility is pristine and ready to welcome hundreds of children each day.  Jennifer Wilcoxson and her team are here early and stay late to keep us well fed and happy, both on Father’s Day as well as every day at VBS.  Our ministerial team including Nathan Wood, Kati Dobbs and Rachel Tovar have put in countless hours behind the scenes to make these two weeks possible.  And hundreds of volunteers have worked tirelessly to help us reach the next generation of Austin for Jesus Christ.  I’m grateful for every individual who gave up a week of their time to serve on the beach or here at VBS.  They are the true heroes, and my prayer is that these weeks have been just as transformational for them, as I know it has been for the children and youth they served.

A couple days ago I was greeting at the front door for Vacation Bible School when a young mother approached me.  She began to complement our church and said how much she appreciated our VBS program.  She explained that her family does not currently attend our church, however, she admitted she is now considering paying us a visit in the coming weeks.  She said her motivating reason was our volunteers.  She was blown away by seeing the number of youth and adult volunteers that gave up their time to faithfully serve people they didn’t even know.  She explained that she is coming from a church home that is constantly struggling to engage and enlist their people for service.  Their ministries apparently are struggling to recruit volunteers in all of their areas, and consequently, the church has become stagnant and ineffective in many ministries.

I think it’s important for you to hear that story for two reasons.  First, it should encourage every volunteer to continue to press on in their service.  I know sometimes it can feel like your efforts are going unnoticed by the world around you.  I understand that it can be a thankless task to move chairs, greet kids, or prep crafts for classrooms.  But scripture tells us that God sees your good works, and so does a world who is watching.  Jesus knows this so he commands us to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 ESV).  Your faithful service is a living testimony to the living Savior whom you serve.  God designed us to walk in good works, in part, so that others could see the motivation behind our toil.  So don’t grow weary in doing good, but remain steadfast in God’s calling on your life to serve. 

But secondly, I share that story in hopes that it will motivate others who are not serving right now.  You too could be a difference maker for the Kingdom of God, and in fact, that is exactly what God made you to do (Cf Eph 2:10).  Peter tells us, “as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another” ( 1 Peter 4:10 ESV).  God has given us spiritual gifts so that we can use them to build up His church.  It’s important to understand that churches don’t grow solely because of preachers and facilities.  Yes, preachers and facilities are certainly important, but those things alone do not ensure growth.  There are many empty large church buildings with talented preachers that prove my point.  So how does a church grow?  Churches see dynamic growth when the people of God rise up and allow their great builder, Jesus Christ, to use them as living stones to build up His house (Cf. Matthew 16:18, 1 Peter 2:5). 

My prayer is that you will allow God to use you as one of those stones.  There is still much work to be done, and we need more pieces for this sacred construction project.  Paul instructs us to “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).  This Sunday we will be celebrating some of that harvest from these past 2 weeks.  We’ll be showcasing highlight videos from Beach Camp and VBS, including several testimonies from students who gave their hearts to Jesus Christ on the beach.  We’ll also be celebrating changed lives through believer’s baptism in both services.  I believe it will be a powerful weekend that will remind us all why we do what we do.  I hope you plan to join us this Sunday and I encourage you to invite a friend to come and experience the fellowship of God’s people and the testimony of our worship together.  Do not grow weary in doing good, because the best is yet to come.

Last Sunday’s Message: Wise Marriages – Proverbs 31:10-13

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