So what word comes to mind when you think of New York City?
For me it is 'BIG! REALLY BIG!!!" This response is coming from a BIG CITY guy who has spent most of his life in the big cities of Dallas and Houston, yet NYC takes BIG to a whole new level. New York City has big buildings, big statues, big sports teams, a big population (eight million plus), big pizza, and REALLY BIG OPPORTUNITIES (can't you just hear Frank Sinatra singing "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere")!
Although I've been to both LaGuardia and JFK airports, and once even took a bus from one airport to the other, I've never actually had the privilege of spending a day in the BIG APPLE. My total NYC experience has been through movies, television, songs, books, magazines, and the travel stories and pictures of friends. Although I haven't stepped foot on Times Square, taken a ferry to Ellis Island, or witnessed a million taxis trying to race each other up Broadway, the sights and sounds of New York City are as real to me as if I had grown up in one of its famous boroughs.
In many ways NYC is as much a part of me as is my hometown of 10,000 people. (Actually, there were only 3,000 when I was child.) So much of the food I eat, clothes I wear, books I love, television shows I watch, and opinions I hold derive from the Big Apple. It is impossible to live in the United States and not be impacted on some level, actually many levels, by the people and influences of New York City.
Like the Big Apple, VBS is full of great opportunities. Here are just a few:
- VBS continues to provide us with one of the best opportunities we have all year to reach the unchurched of our communities. Evangelism and outreach are at the very core of good VBS resources.
- VBS provides us with one of the best opportunities to identify, recruit, and train new workers who will not only help with VBS but will learn form the experience and serve in ongoing ministries.
- VBS provides us with one of the best opportunities to disciple children, teenagers, and adults who already have a relationship with Jesus but through a concentrated five session Bible study discover ways to deepen that relationship.
In addition to those listed above, VBS provides another opportunity that is often overlooked. VBS gives us an opportunity to challenge Christians of all ages to be on mission in their everyday lives and activities. Being on mission means more than giving money, watching a video about a missionary, or going on a short-term mission trip. Being on mission is about the way we think, act, and live every day at work, school, and play. It is who we are and who we want to become.
Big Apple Adventure: Where Faith and Life Connect will teach us a lot about being on mission Christians. Each of the daily Bible studies reveals a real person with a real need who at the crossroads of life connected with Jesus. What would have happened had Jesus not have been there at that crucial moment of need?
Today those of us who have already had a personal encounter with Jesus are called on to be the ones standing at the crossroads of life, serving as the hands and feet of Jesus, and pointing those with needs to Him.
Although, with the exception of the Preschool and Children's Missions Rotations, Big Apple Adventure is not specifically about being on mission, each of the Bible studies easily create an opportunity to challenge each of us to proclaim the Gospel message to cities of every size and description beginning with our own hometowns.
As VBS leaders we have an awesome opportunity to use Big Apple Adventure to challenge hearts and raise up a new generation of on mission Christians who take the message about Christ to the Big Apple and to the world.
"So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ." (Romans 10:17)