A note from Kelly King: Has your church already had Vacation Bible School? If so, you’ve probably noticed some of the same things Stephanie Edge observed in her recent experience. How is your ministry to women using others in simple ways to share the gospel? As Stephanie urges us, it starts with loving one another.
A recent segment on a national news program discussed how texting affects our physical bodies. At the close of the program, the host summarized her thoughts something like this: “We just need to sit down next to one another, look one another in the eye, talk, and love one another.” I was struck by the accuracy of her assessment of a deeper societal need.
Love one another. This admonition aligns with the words of Jesus, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Love manifests itself in a variety of ways. And each act of love helps open the door for sharing the gospel. During the summer, many churches demonstrate a love for their communities and for children by hosting Vacation Bible Schools (VBS). These churches range in size from small to large. The goal of VBS is to share the gospel by extending a welcoming presence to kids including some who may not attend churches and may not know the story of Jesus—the gospel.
I recently had an opportunity to be part of a Vacation Bible School. Here are some acts of love I witnessed: the director telling a kid she was glad she came to VBS, a teacher welcoming a new kid to her class, the crafts teacher making sure a kid who missed the first two nights had a picture of her group like all the other kids, a pastor sitting at a table talking with the kids, and many volunteers preparing meals. What ministry lessons can be learned from VBS?
- God uses every believer to make a difference in the kingdom (1 Cor. 12:7)—whether it is sharing the story of Jesus, serving snacks, or teaching a craft. All members of God’s body are valuable and indispensable. (1 Cor. 12:22)
- Demonstrating love to another doesn’t have to be complicated. It is speaking a kind word, offering a smile or word of encouragement, or preparing a meal.
- The effectiveness of ministry is not determined by church size. Two small churches combined efforts and the number of kids who attended VBS matched the regular attendance of the churches. Small and large churches are uniquely positioned to have a big impact on God’s kingdom.
- We must not forget the simplicity of ministry: love one another. Opportunities to share the gospel arise out of demonstrations of love and kindness (John 15:12,17).
- Each believer and each church possess what it takes to reach someone with the gospel (2 Timothy 4:2).
As women’s leaders, it is often helpful to step outside of our preferred circles of influence in order to gain a fresh perspective on ministry. The simplicity of ministry is found in relationships, in loving one another, and in sharing the gospel.
“And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we do for you” (1 Thess. 3:12).
Stephanie Edge has a passion for teaching God’s Word and ministering to women. She served in women’s ministry in the local church for sixteen years and worked in college ministry for ten years. Stephanie graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. She also completed a Masters of Theology and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephanie teaches adjunct for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.