VBS has come and gone, but we are still celebrating what God did last week! As you have likely heard, we saw 511 children and volunteers join us for an exciting week of Vacation Bible School. But most importantly, we are celebrating the 85 children who came forward during the invitation, and especially the 62 children who made first time decisions to follow Christ. Thank you for helping make it a powerful week. VBS is only possible because of the shared time, talent, and treasure of God’s people. 150 volunteers sacrificed their time and utilized their talent to impact the next generation. And so many gave their treasure, through their faithful tithes and offerings, to help fund this ministry and make it possible. Thank you for praying, serving, giving, and leading these children to know Jesus Christ. I believe heaven was rejoicing over the work that was done last week and so should we.
As I visited with parents last week at VBS, there were two primary themes that consistently came up in our conversations. First, many parents could not stop commenting on the quality of our volunteers. As they walked in, they were immediately blown away by the intentionality that was put into the decorations. I explained that we had teams of volunteers who worked for many weeks to creatively design and decorate those spaces. Many were also surprised by the sheer number of volunteers. They were thrilled to see so many adults from all generations, as well as the large number of youth volunteers. One mom who does not attend church regularly explained that it blew her mind that people would give up that much time and energy for something like this.
The second thing that came up in our conversations was a theme of community. Many could sense the family atmosphere in our congregation. They loved being genuinely greeted as they walked through the doors, and several told me how friendly our church truly was. One mom commented that she loved to see how quickly the teachers learned her child’s name, as well as her own name. So many moms, dads, boys, and girls genuinely felt loved and welcomed in our church. I believe that is because God has blessed our church with a genuine affection for one another. I explained to many parents that community is a vital part of our Austin Baptist Church’s DNA.
I’m so thankful that these two observations came up consistently in conversation because these two themes come up consistently in scripture. Paul writes, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Christians are called to lives of love and service. Jesus says love is in fact the best evidence of your discipleship: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). People should sense a difference in our community when they walk through our church doors because we are united by the same spirit of love (Cf. 2 Timothy 1:7). But people should also see a difference in us through our service and efforts. Peter instructs us, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Every born-again believer has been given gifts by God, to use for the glory of God, and for the good of others.
Jesus describes His church as a “city on a hill,” and this city should indeed have a light that stands out to the world that is watching (cf. Matt 5:14-16). I pass on these words to encourage you to keep shining that light. VBS is over, but you still have an opportunity to love one another and build up our community this week. Send a text, make a phone call, or write a note. Encourage those who are around you and spur them on to continue in love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). You also have a chance to serve someone this week. VBS has concluded, but the work has not. Our church continually needs more volunteers, more sons and daughters of God to rise up and use their gifts for His glory. How are you going to serve the church this week? While events are important, our spiritual gifts are not designed to be limited to annual outreaches. There are still needs today, and God has given you time, talent, and treasure to meet them. So how will you let your light shine this week?
Thank you for your continued love and support. Have a wonderful week and we look forward to seeing you in worship this weekend.
Onward and upward,