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“Ms. Jean! Look at what I made!” I waded through a sea of kids in green Vacation Bible School (VBS) t-shirts to look at the little girl’s craft. She beamed with delight—but her joy couldn’t match mine. I almost couldn’t believe that I was standing in the midst of our VBS program Rescued: Safe in Jesus in action!
I wandered through the VBS stations. I took pictures, talked to the parents and leaders, and then settled in to watch the closing program with the group. At the end of the short video, one of the participants wailed, “No! I want to see what happens next!” His protest was music to my ears. I wanted him to see what happened next, too. Ministering to kids like him is the reason we created Rescued: Safe in Jesus as an evangelistic outreach tool!
There are other VBS programs available—arguably the most popular ones are produced right here in Loveland, Colorado, by Group Publishing. There are also great VBS programs available from the Children’s Ministries Department of the North American Division. Was there really a need for another VBS program? The answer, we believe, is a resounding yes!
And the following testimony from Micheal Goetz, senior pastor of the Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church, justifies the decision: “Interwoven in this VBS, unlike those offered by many other publishing companies, is an opportunity for the students to make a decision for Jesus.”
Just a generation or two ago, most families went to church on the weekend. It was the norm—but that has changed. Fewer young people now have the opportunity to go to church with their parents or grandparents. Yet research tells us that the majority of Christians accept Jesus before their 18th birthday. In 2016, we proactively developed a program to take the Gospel to kids—wherever they are. The following year, we launched the Discovery Mountain audio adventure series to introduce kids of any background to the messages of hope and salvation found only in Scripture.
Rescued: Safe in Jesus brings Discovery Mountain live to churches in local communities through an engaging VBS program. With this program, VBS becomes part of the local church’s evangelism cycle. It is another way to reach the community for Christ. The heart of this VBS is the Bible story of Noah and the Flood. The dramatic narrative holds the participants’ attention and reminds them that Jesus will rescue us too, if we only ask Him. The biblical story is reinforced by every element of the VBS program—from the snacks to the activities to the crafts. Sharing Jesus is the core of this evangelistic resource. Here’s another response we’ve received about the VBS:
“The Rescued: Safe in Jesus VBS is a great evangelism tool from VOP. It allows young people to be involved by serving as leaders in the VBS. And young people who actively serve in the church stay in the church.” —Don Reeder, adult VBS leader
For any evangelism tool to work effectively, it needs to be easy to use! We followed that principle in creating Rescued: Safe in Jesus. The director and station leader’s guides are carefully written and easy to follow.
In each episode of the Discovery Mountain audio series, I encourage listeners to exercise their faith. Creating Rescued: Safe in Jesus exercised my faith! But I didn’t take this faith journey alone. You helped us make this happen. Thank you!
This debut VBS program is launching over the summers of 2019 and 2020. Even though we’ve just started, we’ve already had more than 90 churches participate, and we expect to have 1,000 churches host this VBS by the end of 2020.
These churches will be building the faith of everyone involved in the VBS—including the staff and volunteers. Their youth can feel like Tylea did. She assisted the VBS as a Rescued: Safe in Jesus teen leader and told us, “Teaching other kids to trust God has helped me to trust God more.”
That’s why we see value in this evangelistic resource and a vital need for its continued availability to churches. And I’m thrilled to announce that we’re committed to creating a new VBS program for the summer of 2021, and we need to start soon since creating a VBS is a two-year process!
We need your partnership to make this possible so we can reach even more children, as well as nurture the ones who have already gotten to know and trust us. Will you partner with us to make this happen? Will you exercise your faith along with us?
The day after I visited the Campion VBS program, I returned once again. As the closing video started, my eyes zeroed in on the little boy who had been on the edge of his seat after yesterday’s cliffhanger. As the video played, featuring a stirring appeal from one of the Discovery Mountain characters, I watched his face. His eyes didn’t waver from the screen and his body leaned in receptively. Did this child accept Jesus into his heart in that moment? I don’t know—but I’m thankful that together you and I gave him the opportunity to choose. Let’s do it again!
Yours in His service,
Associate Speaker, Voice of Prophecy
Executive Producer, Discovery Mountain