The following post was written by Steven Ruff. Steven is the Senior Pastor of Port Royal Baptist Church in Port Royal, SC. He is huge fan of VBS and is a member of the South Carolina Baptist Convention VBS team. Steven has been in his current position since August of 2009.
Colossal Coaster World Vacation Bible School has pulled into the station for the final time this year at Port Royal Baptist Church. The screams and shouts of kids running through down the hallways are a distant memory. Decorations have come down and the once vibrant and colorful rooms, hallways, and common areas have been returned to their traditional look. Now that VBS 2013 is over, I have a few observations to offer as a pastor.
1. Attendance: For better or worse, this is often the criteria by which VBS is judged as a success or a failure. I am not completely sold on this marker of success. Our average attendance for the week was approximately 115. I am encouraged by our attendance this summer. The reason is not so much about how many, but who. Our people were active in inviting. This year, we had all groups on campus at the same time; children, youth, and adults. One of goals in our Adult VBS is to give parents who are not involved in a local church a place to go instead of dropping their children off and going home. We accomplished our goal this year. Parents had the opportunity to interact and meet other people in a non-threatening manner and be exposed to the gospel message. Success.
2. Volunteers: I am thankful to all of the volunteers who worked this week. I am especially thankful and grateful to all of our teachers who worked full-time jobs who left work and came straight to VBS for five straight days. We opt for a full supper each night rather than the Snack Rotation. Our volunteers appreciate this ministry to them. Also, this may be the only full meal that a portion of our attendees have all day. To all those who worked so hard, your pastor wants you to know that you are appreciated. Success.
3. Ministry: Any time you have kids on campus you have an opportunity to be engaged in real, one-on-one, life-changing ministry. VBS is intentionally evangelistic. We are diligent to make sure that we communicate the gospel message all week long, not just on the night of the “evangelistic” lesson. With that being said, we did not have any public professions of faith this week. For many, the assumption will be that we failed as a church in VBS. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are here to share a message and plant a seed, understanding that it is God who gives the increase. We trust God knowing His Word will not return unto Him void. Real ministry takes place when you take time to listen, talk to, and show love toward a child in the name of Christ. That is what we did this week. If, two or five years down the road, a gospel presentation is given and a child responds because of something that was planted in their heart this week then we did what we were called to do; be faithful. Success.