FENTON, MI – For years, buckets & scales have been a part of Vacation Bible School (VBS). We are only months away from when many churches will conduct Bible studies, activities, Bible focused games and crafts for children. Because churches want to give children the opportunity to BE a part of missions while learning of God’s love, plans for VBS often include the question, “What will we do with the money the children collect for Vacation Bible School?”
What would you think about contributing your church’s VBS offering to one of the new church plants in the state of Michigan? You will find a list of the latest new church starts at bscm.org/SendMeMI. This list contains brand new church starts (less than 3 years old) that could use your support and help to reach their community with the Gospel of Christ.
Years ago in one of the churches where I served as pastor, Susan was an avid fan of “Penny Wars.” It sounds more violent that it was. Simply put, children would concentrate on bringing to each day’s VBS meeting all the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters they could find. Children would beg family members and search for coins throughout their homes and cars.
The entire population of VBS was divided into different teams to create friendly competition by weight or amount given. I would watch, as Susan would tip the scales of the competition in the losing team’s favor each day. Sometimes it was boys against girls. Other times it was the Blue, Red, and Green teams in competition with one another.
Who might your VBS children want to help? Our Michigan church planters are serving in different ways. Allow me to share just four examples:
One semi-retired Canadian couple in partnership with former international missionaries is planting a church in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
A Native-American is planting churches among other Native Americans in the Upper Peninsula.
A number of young couples with little children are planting churches throughout different neighborhoods in the Greater Detroit area.
A Navy Chaplain and his family are leaving military service this fall to replant a new church in Petoskey.
What would inspire the children to give? Creating reasons-to-give and explaining those reasons to the children will motivate them to generously give. Here are some ideas:
Contact a church planting missionary and ask what they need? (See the list of Michigan Church Starts, bscm.org/SendMeMI). Then share those needs with the children prior to the collection. Create images or words on walls that can be crossed off as enough funds are collected.
If for example, the church planter says, “We need gift Bibles to give to visiting families.” Break that down for the children to understand, such as $5 will buy 2 Bibles for the church planter to give to others. Set a goal to collect enough money to buy a specific amount of Bibles and find a way to demonstrate the shopping list.
Share an idea that seems normal to the VBS children. For example, explain to the children that church planting families need to have fun, too. Share that $50 will help a family go out to eat or see a movie. Celebrate those moments when the children gather enough to allow a family a fun night out.
Ask the VBS children to help with a special need for a church planter. For example, one of our church planting couples, Garth and Patty Leno care for their special needs adult-daughter while planting a church in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Please, watch the 3-minute video relating their personal story, Leno: What Started as a Joke.
Imagine the immediate and long lasting impact of collecting coins for the upcoming Vacation Bible School. Children will see that even while they’re young, they can make a difference in people’s lives. They will also see the implications that giving is joyful and rewarding, which might lead them to become better and faithful stewards at an early age, which will bless your local church for years to come.
Let me encourage you to make a note on your calendar ahead of time for this year’s Vacation Bible School. Jot down a note such as, “Collect for a Michigan church plant.” In a simple manner, you can teach your children and your church that pocket change can change the world for Christ.
If you prefer to make your donations to any church plant in Michigan after this summer’s VBS (or anytime!), you may direct your church treasurer to send a check in the amount of your collection directly to the church plant or to the:
Baptist State Convention of Michigan
8420 Runyan Lake Road
Fenton, Michigan 48430
We will make sure the church start of your choice receives the offering gift. Please, be certain to indicate the offering as designated for church starting or planting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Lynn is the State Director of Missions for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before coming on staff at the BSCM, Tony served as lead pastor for more than six years at Crosspoint Church in Monroe, Michigan. He and his wife, Jamie, also served with the International Mission Board in Africa and in Europe.