"... Whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest." -- 1 Corinthians 9:10.
Several Christian County churches are working together to plan vacation Bible schools for hundreds of children this summer.
One church partnership is between Hillcrest Baptist on Skyline Drive in Hopkinsville and West Mount Zoar Baptist.
Hillcrest's VBS is slated for 8:45 until 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Tia Beardly, children's director at Hillcrest Baptist, said their church generally has 150 to 200 students attend.
The following week, Hillcrest will send volunteer teachers, literature and decorations to the rural congregation at West Mount Zoar, at 7800 Hopkinsville-Mount Zoar Road, for their own VBS.
"We're very grateful to Hillcrest for being willing to help us," said the Rev. Larry Baker, who is a member of Hillcrest, but serving as interim pastor at West Mount Zoar Baptist. "We don't have any young adults or children in the church right now. We're looking at this as a possibility to reintroduce the church to the community and also doing a good service for the children."
Baker said having vacation Bible school will enable West Mount Zoar to reach out to more than 400 VBS-age children living within a five-mile radius of the church.
"We won't get all 400, but 20 or 40 (children) would be a good start for us," he said, noting they will have a VBS kickoff block party from 2 until 3:30 p.m. June 8 for children ages 4 through grade 5 and their parents. VBS will be from 6 until 8:30 p.m. June 10-14.
Baker said for larger congregations to partner with smaller churches with events like vacation Bible school helps the fellowship of believers to grow.
"I think partnership for churches is a great thing. We're all in the same family of God. Especially within your own denomination, we're not in competition," he said. "We've got a big mission field in Christian County. We know that 85% of the people in Christian County are either not believers or unchurched. The field is big and not just any church in our county can do all of it."
For other churches in the area who may need assistance, the Christian County Baptist Association's missions and evangelism team is ready to help, said Jody Kilburn, the association's director of missions.
"We make ourselves available to go and do a vacation Bible school for a particular church if they need it or request it," he said. "Our role is about resourcing and providing assistance in whatever way we can."
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Hopkinsville Cumberland Presbyterian Church also has partnered with three other local churches -- Flat Lick Cumberland Presbyterian, First Presbyterian and Lester Memorial Presbyterian -- for a joint vacation Bible school next week.
"The Cumberland Presbyterian Church we believe the gospel is bigger than any denomination," said The Rev. Bobby Spurling, pastor of Hopkinsville Cumberland Presbyterian. "Anyone who comes here is welcome to come. We host just because we have space, we're centrally located in town and we have a green space."
The VBS kickoff party is at 5 p.m. Sunday, with a rock climbing wall, hot dogs, face painting, snow cones and more. VBS is from 5:45 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday for ages pre-kindergarten through seventh grade.
"We get one or two volunteers from each church to help," he said. "We have an open-door policy for any of these pastors to lead the opening worship session or closing worship sessions."
Spurling said they hope to reach 30 to 50 children from all the congregations as well as visiting youngsters.
"Our goal is while people are here with us is to love them, take care of them and teach them the gospel," he said.
Spurling said developing partnerships with other churches is beneficial to all to share God's message.
"I think it's good to show the community that we're united. We unite around the gospel. We unite around Jesus," he said. "It goes across denominations."
Two primary VBS themes this year feature the animal kingdom -- "Roar! Life is Wild. God is Good" and "In the Wild: Amazing Encounters With Jesus." Each VBS features crafts, games, snacks and learning about missions, along with studying the Bible.
During the "In the Wild" VBS, "kids will focus in on some amazing, real-life encounters with Jesus. Each encounter is like a snapshot -- a special moment in time captured on the pages of Scripture," according to the literature.
"There will be different snapshots of Jesus," Beardley said. "(We're) focusing on what the Bible tells us is true about God and ourselves. We will talk about how Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that when we trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord he forgives our sins and gives us eternal life."
At "Roar," VBS literature states "this epic African adventure engages the whole herd. At Roar, kids explore God's goodness and celebrate a ferocious faith that powers them through this wild life."
"The biblical theme is the Exodus," Spurling said. "God is great even when times are rough."
Mixing it up
A few local churches are planning VBS events with different themes or conducting their celebrations throughout the summer months.
Second Baptist Church of Hopkinsville presents Thriller Thursdays with the "Roar" theme for children who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade. Having the event from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. starting June 13 and every Thursday through July 18 provides a service for kids all summer long, said Chuck Poe, minister of students and families.
First Street Missionary Baptist Church presents the "Super Training University with Jesus" Vacation Bible School for ages 4 and older from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday at 812 Moayon St.
Restoration House has planned Wacky Wednesdays for registered children in kindergarten through fourth grade from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 5, 12, 19 and 26. With a "Slimed" theme, the event will focus on the story of Jacob and Esau and how God can help people in even the messiest situations. Registration is required, as lunch is served to participants.
For information about vacation Bible schools at local Baptist churches, visit the Christian County Baptist Association website at www.christiancountybaptist.com, call the churches or visit the churches' social media sites. For other denominations, call the churches or visit the churches' social media sites.
Reach Michele Vowell at 270-887-3242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is a list of some of the vacation Bible schools planned in the area:
1 - Bainbridge Grove Baptist Church
2-7 - Hopkinsville Cumberland Presbyterian
2-6 - Olivet Baptist Church
2-7 - Casky Baptist Church, Pembroke Baptist Church, Crofton Baptist Church
3-5 - Faith Family Church, Oak Grove, New Life Ministries, Hopkinsville
3-7 - First Street Missionary Baptist Church, Hillcrest Baptist Church, New Work Fellowship, Hopkinsville, and Living Waters Community, Oak Grove
5, 12, 19 and 26 -- Wacky Wednesdays at Restoration House
9-13 - Gracey West Union Baptist Church
10-14 - Kelly Baptist Church, Sinking Fork Baptist Church, West Mount Zoar Baptist Church
17-21 - Living Hope Baptist Church, Southside Church of Christ, Hopkinsville, First Baptist Church, Oak Grove
24-28 - Henderson Memorial Baptist Church
June and July
June 13, 20, 27 and July 11 and 18 - Thriller Thursdays at Second Baptist Church
7-11 - Edgewood Baptist Church
9-11 - Princeton Street Baptist Church
28-Aug. 1 - First Baptist Church, Hopkinsville
2-6 - Wallonia Baptist Church, Blue Spring Baptist Church, Cerulean Baptist Church
2-7 - Oak Grove Baptist Church
3-7 - Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, 3666 Blue Springs Road and Cadiz Baptist Church
7-8 - Ponderosa Baptist Church, 6283 Rockcastle Road
9-14 - New Hope Baptist Church
10-14 - Cadiz United Methodist Church
17-24 - Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 752 Rockcastle Road
22 - Maple Grove Baptist Church
28-29 - Bethany Baptist Church
8-12 - Liberty Point Baptist Church
19-20 - Canton Baptist Church
22-26 - Locust Grove Baptist Church