Category Archives: From the Executive Director

Three Things Christians Can Learn From Muslims: A Trip to Pakistan and Back

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

I recently returned from Pakistan. There has been great discord between Christians and Muslims because of our differences and our history with each other. I thought my readers would enjoy a positive spin on the relationship so below you will read three insights Christians can gain from Muslims before I offer one parting word.

Insight #1: Generosity

I had numerous encounters with Muslims during my stay in Pakistan. Since this is the country’s dominant religion and the country’s name is “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan” you should not find this surprising. Uber drivers, hotel workers, vendors and people serving at tourist attractions tended to be Muslim people. When introduced to these people I was unsure how they would respond to a tall, white, bald foreigner. First I met a family that owns several manufacturing plants including denim clothing, rice mills, bottled water and confectioneries. Following my tour I was given numerous pairs of jeans, boxes of candy, water and many smiling selfie pictures. When I inquired with my host his comment was, “In my experience the Muslims out-give the Christians.” Another day I met a Pediatrician from a local hospital. He learned about medical missions being run by a local Christian pastor. After going through a screening process he began volunteering his time a few times a year to do eighteen hour days, seeing one hundred children patients, and writing numerous prescriptions. This young Muslim doctor was willing to do this alongside Christians because people needed help. A generous spirit runs through the hearts of many Muslim people.

Insight #2: Devotion

The news media has taught us that Muslims are all fanatics lurking at our doors waiting to bomb our public places and fire machine guns into the air. My experience in Pakistan was that Muslim people are very kind and devoted people. Please understand, I believe their devotion is misplaced. They pray five times a day and carry out other behaviors because they believe they need to keep the vengeance of Allah at bay. However, it was encouraging to converse with a taxi driver who gave all the praise to his god for providing his taxi. He also discussed how after he dropped me off that he would be pulling into a parking spot so he could do his afternoon prayers. I silently prayed for this man because I realized that a proper understanding of God could make this devoted person a great asset for Christ and the Church. It is imperative that we look at Muslim people as people. Yes, there are fanatical Muslims just as their are fanatical Christians, but the people I met were kind and devoted to the god that they know.

Insight #3: Innovation

Many people believe that anyone living in a country ending in the letters “stan” must wear a turban, veil, ride a camel, and daily avoid dust storms while giving the middle name Ishtar or Muhammad to all of their children. This is so far from the truth! While I was in Pakistan I walked through three story malls with hundreds of brands. I sat in a food court with most of the fast food chains from the USA. I went through a store that would have rivaled any of the Walmart, Target, or Costco superstores in my home country. Along with this there are trampoline places, mini-golf courses, large cineplexes, amusement parks and more. I walked through a seven story electronics mall with 900 computer stores. Yes, contrary to your thinking, these people communicate with smart phones and not just carrier pigeons and falcons! Our media has caused us to have a false impression of the innovation of places like Pakistan. I am interested to see where this innovation takes them in the next ten years.

Final Thoughts

Now, before I receive countless emails and “unfriend” requests, let me part with this statement. Muslim people do not know the way to God. They believe by doing enough good things that their god, Allah, will be appeased. We worship different gods, but our approach should follow 1 Peter 3:15 where we are always prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and we will share this with gentleness and respect. Pray for Muslims to have visions of Jesus in their dreams. I have one friend that came to Christ in this way from a Muslim background. May God grow us in our ability to love all people as God’s creatures and then lovingly direct them toward Him with our attitudes, words and actions.

Travel to the Land of Many gods: What a Christian Learned in Kathmandu Part 2: Three Insights

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

*If you didn’t get a chance to see last week’s blog, check that out first for a better understanding of this blog.

While in Kathmandu, Nepal, I observed individuals practicing their spiritual rituals in hopes that doing just enough of the right things in the right way, they could appease their god.  Looking back, here are three insights from that experience.

Insight #1

I have been thankful for God’s grace displayed through the death of His Son and co- equal Jesus Christ since I was a boy. I have grown in my understanding of what it meant for Jesus to come, die, rise again, and prepare to come again, but the fact that grace is integral to Christ cannot be avoided. Ephesians 2 says we are saved by grace through faith, not by all the stuff that we do! No amount of chanting, spinning, painting or jumping is going to bring me closer to perfection. Thank you God for your grace through Jesus Christ that saves those who call upon your name!

Insight #2

I do not have to “Do” in order to meet God, but it is wrong to think that once I know Christ that I am supposed to do nothing! My love for Christ compels me to act. I do not need to scrub lime on an ungodly altar, but I do need to live my life in a way that the world can see me and fully recognize that there is something different about me.

Insight #3

Finally, I came to a much clearer understanding of Acts 19. In this chapter we read about Paul’s work building the church and God’s Kingdom. Miracles occurred and people began coming to know Jesus. Demetrius, a Silversmith, recognized the economic impact Paul’s ministry was beginning to have on their business. People traveled great distances to worship at Artemis’ temple on of the Wonders of the World. Silversmiths made a great profit by fashioning idols and artifacts required for this pagan worship. Suddenly, Paul’s work was bringing the worship of Artemis into question which also threatened their livelihood. Walking around the Boudha Stupa, I was able to picture Acts 19. What would happen to Nepal and specifically Kathmandu if Buddhism was exposed as a truly empty religion? Poor vendors would go out of business. Revenue from tourism would dry up. A country with little income would face an even more impoverishing situation.

Good news! After a week in Nepal and many great conversations in the morning with my waiter, I learned he was a Christian converted by travelers a few weeks before. I was able to guide him in how to read the Bible and connect him with a contact who began taking him to church.

In the Land of many gods- there is still only one God whose grace guides us, gives us life, gives us hope, and surprises us when we least expect. God, YOU, are the one and only true God!

Travel to the Land of Many gods: What a Christian Learned in Kathmandu Part 1: Observations

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

Stories. I thought they were just stories. Tales have been told in books, movies and legends of men and women reaching mid-life crisis only to part with worldly possessions in order to journey to Kathmandu, Nepal or neighboring Tibet, China. The goal is “finding oneself” or discovering some inner peace that had remained unapproachable or at best impossible to attain in the western rat race.

I rose early and ate breakfast. I had an outstanding conversation with an especially joyful waiter at the hotel restaurant before heading into a temple touring day. Each temple had just a few westerners that matched every stereotype my brain had been trained to picture. The majority of the people, however, were sojourners from countries where the Hindu or Buddhist religions are strong. My experience at the Boudha Stupa was especially telling. The Boudha Stupa is a World Heritage site and is the destination point for Buddhists wanting to trek to their most sacred site in the world. I paid my fare (which was significantly elevated for foreigners) and walked toward the large round white structure with eyes painted on top.

I observed a huge festival in process. People were going around Stupa in a clockwise fashion which was apparently important to know. Hands were reaching out to touch and turn numerous prayer wheels that were inset into the temple walls. At a key point I found an entrance into an inner temple ring. I walked through the entrance and saw where lime could be purchased to rub on the temple’s inner ring wall. Just beyond the lime shop I came upon the place where I could pay to write my prayers on colored flags that would be pulled on a string close to the eyes of the Stupa. Large vats with incense were waiting to be purchased so these pungent leaves could be burned in temple fire places for a small fee. I began to walk the inner ring, whispering the name “Jesus” toward any person who walked by.

Reaching the Temple front I looked down upon a special section set apart for people to do spiritual exercises. When I say “exercises” I mean it! Yes, a few could be seen with criss crossed legs and a meditative pose. The ones who surprised me were the ones who were doing what I could best describe as a spiritual burpee (burpees are physical exercises used for intense training). People were going up and down, up and down, up and down.

Physical posture, breathing incense, spreading lime, prayer pennants, spinning prayer wheels with incantations along with groans and moans by monks in orange robes made for quite an experience. Religion- the hope that doing just enough of the right things in the right way while making a god appeased, approachable or even, attainable in a microscopic way. People go through all these steps and celebrate with exuberance when they claim a minuscule amount of calm.

How is the way of Jesus more fulfilling? Be on the lookout next week for part 2 of this blog, which will explore three insights from my observations in Nepal.

CE Partner Update – Nepal and Pakistan Trip 2019

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

On January 28th, I left for a sixteen day trip to Nepal and Pakistan. This was my first trip to both of these Asian countries. I thank the Lord for this experience!

Nepal– A mountainous country with an estimated thirty million people, Nepal has world fame for its temples. People from Hindu and Buddhist religions make pilgrimages to these temples while others look to trek the mighty Himalayas. While the Nepalese government says less than one percent claim to be Christian, rough estimates within the country put the number closer to ten percent or three million people. Proselytizing is illegal under the current government. Six months from now changes could occur which will open the doors for the gospel to spread and Christian Endeavor to make significant advances. Please pray for God’s hand to direct the governmental affairs in Nepal!

After a day for my body to adjust to new time zones, we toured the greater Kathmandu area. Seeing some of the world famous temples left me even more grieved for the souls of those who trek to these places. They try to do the correct incantations, burn the proper incense, write their prayers on flags, spin every prayer wheel, scrub lime on the walls, and do the exact spiritual positions for the recommended amount of time . . . all in hopes of capturing a little peace. I am so thankful for God’s grace through Christ and that our lives can be free from doing the right “works” in order to have hope.

Churches meet on Saturday in Nepal. We enjoyed a two hour worship time where I shared the morning message. After a short snack we gathered for a two hour worship time with the Christian Endeavor group where I was also the featured speaker. The next morning we began a two day Leadership Academy. The event was attended by close to sixty people representing fifty pastors and youth workers from the 52 churches connected with Christian Endeavor in Nepal. There are great plans for additional churches to be planted in the next ten years. This step would further open the doors for the spread of the Kingdom and the use of Christian Endeavor across Nepal. Two strong translators were identified to assist with taking core C.E. materials and preparing them in the Nepali language. One person was also identified to join the C.E. Under Thirty Advisory Collective (a group of people under thirty from countries around the world that advises the WCE board and executive council.)

Pakistan– Nearly two hundred million Pakistanis live to the Northwest of India. I learned how Pakistan and Bangladesh had once been part of a British colony that was connected to India. Today there are many encouraging economic signs. Large malls with brands from around the world are located around Lahore. Because so many clothing items are manufactured within the country, the cost of these items is considerably lower (often times only 20-30%) than the prices I am used to seeing in the USA. The government broadcasts that Christianity represents a fraction of the population but it is believed that a more accurate number would be five percent.

Our first three days were invested helping me understand Pakistan during the day before participating in worship celebrations and conventions in the evening. People were incredibly generous and incredibly kind no matter where I traveled. I had the opportunity to tour a denim factory that develops 2.4 million clothing units annually. They showed me every step in the manufacturing process before giving me some complimentary jeans. I later learned that the owners were all Muslim people. A few days later I met a Pediatrician that has done several eighteen hour medical mission days with my host, Pastor Ashknaz Silas. During these days over one hundred patients are examined and given prescription medications. This doctor is a Muslim man doing humanitarian aid work with Christian leaders because of the great need.

The next two days were the C.E. Leadership Academy. I was thrilled that fifty church pastors were registered for the event. A total of over eighty people attended the equipping sessions with many people being youth or young adult age. Pastors do not receive any salary in Pakistan. All of them maintain other jobs as well as having families. The Academy, especially Day two, had an enthusiastic audience with hunger to learn and grow. I received word that a Saturday night C.E. worship experience will be launched in the next few weeks. It will be a collaborative church effort where numerous churches send their young people and potential adult coaches to one site. Along with this, there is already interest in some additional cities to take C.E. to these locations. Pray for the leadership in Pakistan as it begins to form a board and executive team. The group hopes to apply for National Union status later in 2019.

A huge thank you to my hosts Dr. Mahendra Battarai and Pastor Ashknaz Silas for all your efforts in hosting me and coordinating the ministry opportunities while I was with you in Nepal and Pakistan respectively. Amen!!

3 Steps to Make Change Stick in 2019

by Dave Coryell

Surviving Quitter’s Week: 3 ways to make resolutions stick (even if they are already broken)

Debate exists regarding how long the average person carries out a New Year’s resolution. Most reports seem to have about 80% giving up on their aspirations by January 12th (World Quitter’s Day) with additional reports saying that goals related to fitness are normally dropped by January 17th. According to USA Today Psychologist Professor John Norcross from Scranton University says that 40% are successful at the six month mark with fitness goals. So some people are successful at keeping those resolutions!

It is good to know that new standards can be set and maintained. However, the world’s masses seem to have a difficult time making adjustments lasting more than a few weeks.

Several years ago I stumbled across the book “Change or Die” by Alan Deutschman. The book presents three steps that helped classic no-change stereotypes from prison inmates to unionized workers. These steps can be helpful for us as we try to establish new faith growth patterns or even goals for mental, physical, emotional or relational living.

Step 1- Relate. In order to have a new way of living, new relationships are necessary. First and foremost, a relationship with Jesus Christ begins life transformation in a person. Along with this begins the process of seeing Christ lived out through other people. If you are reading this and do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, please reach out to us and we can guide you through understanding what this means. Others, if you want to grow in an area of weakness, establish a relationship with someone who is either stronger in this area than you or can lovingly hold you accountable. For instance, at one point I wanted to exercise more regularly. I tried accomplishing this on my own and made little progress. Then I talked with a friend, Tom, and we decided to exercise together. This started a deeper friendship while also helping us both keep a regular exercise schedule. Start a relationship that can help you change. Key word: RELATE!

Step 2- Repeat. Find the changes you want to make and repeat them over and over again. You want to discipline yourself to floss, do it every day! Trying to set a new time to roll out of bed, set your time and follow through no matter how challenging. Want to read your Bible every day, talk with that accountability person from Step 1 (Relate), set a time, choose a plan, then do it every day. Repeat the practice and follow through. Here is the challenge. You may have heard it takes 21 days to make a habit. 21 days beyond that will make it an unbreakable habit. Unfortunately, reputable research does not back up this myth. As you know, God has wired people differently. According to Oliver Burkeman, writer for The Guardian, the University College London psychologist, Phillippa Lally, studied habit forming. “On average, her subjects, who were trying to learn new habits such as eating fruit daily or going jogging, took a depressing 66 days before reporting that the behavior had become unchangingly automatic. Individuals ranged widely – some took 18 days, others 245 – and some habits, unsurprisingly, were harder than others to make stick.” Bottom line, forming habits takes discipline and a commitment to repeat a practice over and over. Fortunately, also from Lally’s study, you can miss an occasional day along the way and still stay on track. Key word: REPEAT!

Step 3- Reframe. The first two steps you probably can grasp pretty easily. Have relationships that will support, encourage and at times admonish your desire to repeat a new life practice. Say for instance a furniture maker builds a wooden chair and then puts a beautiful stain on it. The chair is then placed outside. The chair itself represents change relationships. The stain represents the repeated steps taken daily. Unfortunately, this chair will break down from the elements- sun, rain, cold, heat. Before long the chair will crack and splinter. Step three is Reframe. Reframing with this analogy is like painting a protective coat over the top of the chair’s stained surface. Reframing takes a new look at how one lives. For instance, I can stop eating potato chips because I do not want to gain weight. This may last for a while until I eat some chips, then eat them the next day, and then begin having them all the time. Reframing the situation asks why I’m not eating potato chips and goes deeper than weight loss. I begin to reframe my choices based on healthy living instead of simply trying to lose a few pounds. Suddenly I begin to consider what I am gaining through my choices instead of lamenting what I have lost. My choice equals health GAINED verses potato chips LOST. Key Word: REFRAME.

Relate, Repeat, Reframe- wisdom for us as we try to change. May God grip your heart and help you make changes that will honor Him with your life in 2019!

3 Early Warning Signs for the American Church- and why there is hope!

by Dave Coryell

On Monday, October 8, Florida State Governor Rick Scott issued a mandatory evacuation for all people in the path of Hurricane Michael. Most people heeded the Governor’s warning and fled to safety. Michael carved a multi-billion dollar destructive path through parts of the Caribbean, Florida and neighboring states. Sixty people lost their lives from the storm’s cataclysmic impact; many died because they did not heed the Governor’s warning. Around the world, several natural disasters occur each year. Modern technology from brilliant scientific minds allows for early warnings to come for most situations. Inevitably, a few people will chose to ignore the early warning signs.

Imagine a situation where 99.9% of the population ignored the early warning signs instead of the other way around. The death toll would be catastrophic! I contend that the American Church has been given three Early Warning Signs. Currently, the masses are choosing to ignore these signs. God’s work is never in jeopardy. His purposes will be accomplished whether or not the American church decides to open its eyes. However, my hope is that by pointing out these Early Warning Signs that God will use this information to motivate His people to rise up and Commit so they can Engage. God, please make it so.

Early Warning Signs:

  1. Diminishing Biblical World View- In 2007 the Pew Research group conducted a survey studying the beliefs of Americans and of Evangelical Christians across several age groups. The study was conducted a second time in 2014 to see what results had changed. Between 8 and 9 percent of American young adults aged 18-24 and aged 25-34 have a Biblical world view. The number improves slightly for those 35 and over to 13 percent. Overall, numbers continue declining for Evangelical Christians and are declining even faster for mainline church attenders. Bottom line, many Christians do not understand or truly own the beliefs of the faith they claim to hold. A steady rise in Christian behavior conforming more and more to the world’s cultural norms can be seen in almost every challenging arena.
  2. Disappearing Teen Responsibility- I know, some will be quick to say that teenagers and young people in general have always been challenged in this area. Others will rush to pull out quotes from Aristotle and others who wrote of adolescents’ irascible behavior. I found it interesting, however, to read Leslie Patton’s Bloomberg Business post on November 5th that explained how fast food chains are now hiring an increased number of senior citizens. Two reasons this trend has occurred include, 1) older people are found to be friendlier than the younger generation and 2) they have a more dependable punctuality. The older generations have soft skills that far surpass the raw soft skills found in teens and young adults. The obvious conclusion, teens and young adults need to sharpen their interpersonal skills. Once upon a time this transpired in school classrooms, at church youth group gatherings, and in public arenas like entry level jobs (fast food, etc.). Today, less opportunities exist for teens to grow their responsibility. What happens when young people who have not been challenged to make and keep commitments, lead small groups, or speak publicly are suddenly asked by a church to make a financial pledge, join a leadership team, or (pause to shudder) become a church member.
  3. Catholic Priest Tragedy- It started in Pennsylvania as priests from 300 different parishes were found to be involved in the sexual exploitation of young people. As expected, state prosecutors have been coming forward one by one to share the grim results investigations have uncovered. Those in Protestant Christianity cannot sit back for a minute and think that this tragedy will not have impact beyond the Catholic Church. A distrust for what some call institutionalized or organized religion has already been climbing for decades. The Catholic Priest Tragedy has allowed people to feel justified in the anti-established religious beliefs that so many people already held. How long will it be before even more people come forward to share about impropriety that occurred in their Protestant churches beyond the few stories that have emerged?

These cultural Early Warning Signs send a message. This message causes me to stop and say well, is there any good news? Absolutely! First, we must never lose hope as our trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Proverbs 3) Second, I am thankful to serve with Christian Endeavor, a kingdom ministry daily making a small impact to help young people Commit to a deeper following of Christ and Engage to build God’s kingdom while having accountability on the journey. God, help Your church to Awake and Arise by heeding these Early Warning Signs.

Tired of the Division . . . 3 Steps to Build Unity

by Dave Coryell.

Even as people prepare to go to the election polls in the US, the World lacks exactly what God expects of His people . . .  UNITY! Here are 3 steps that can begin to make a difference.

  1. Pause before you React– people’s statements inspired by media will begin to create anger or confusion in your mind. Before you fight back with a post, speak out in a conversation, or use your T-shirt, picket sign or bumper sticker, take a mental Time Out. Remember Unity! Think about the broader audience you might reach with your message. Consider who actually wins if you make your comment. Proverbs 15:1 explains that a “gentle answer turns away wrath.” Before you speak, consider whether your desire is to turn away wrath or pick a fight. Remember Unity!
  1. Everyone is Not Like You– This is Coryells’ First Law of Leadership. My kids can quote it to you as well as many people close to me. If everyone was exactly like you, the world would be boring. Understand, God has made you amazing with brilliant talents, gifts and experiences all rolled into the incredible package called YOU! What makes you incredible, however, is that you are unique: “Fearfully and wonderfully” made as Psalm 139 explains. Because everyone is not like you, you are going to encounter numerous people who look at life extremely different than you do. The next time you meet someone with a religious, political or social view extremely different than your own, instead of shaking your head in disgust or anger, thank God for the brilliance of His creation. This can build Unity! Use these encounters to make your image of God more magnificent and frame your life encounters through this lens.
  1. Build Bridges– Through my work I have traveled thousands of miles by plane. I frequently meet people with views different than my own. At the same time, my family has many neighbors who also have views different than ours. My goal is to love whomever I come in contact with. I want to show genuine concern for these people and their stories. I will attempt to share about Christ because He has been such a meaningful part of my story. However, I will attempt to do this in a manner that is gentle and shows respect (1 Peter 3:15). It has been so much fun receiving business cards from people on airplanes who think differently than me but appreciated my attitude. We enjoy taking Christmas cookies and other things throughout the year to neighbors. God has placed them next to us so we try to do little things to kindly reach out and build Unity! Being divisive is easy and takes little effort. Building bridges of Unity requires intentionality over time. Invest in Unity!

Enough people, committed to these three godly steps, can begin to change the world. Maybe, just maybe, we will see UNITY!

5 Steps to Creating an Effective Youth Ministry

by Dave Coryell

Observing youth ministry on five continents (don’t worry Australia, I’ll get to you at some point, Antarctica- not a chance!) provides a kaleidoscope youth min perspective. So many options, so many opportunities, but I have also recognized five key steps that make youth ministry effective across cultures.

  1. Equip People- A Youth Worker-Centered approach does not work long term. Finding a lead volunteer or hiring a youth pastor can be effective when this person develops a discipleship process the overall church embraces. The person also needs to see leadership development among young people and adult leadership as primary. In summary, LAY DOWN THE PRIDE AND BE BIBLICAL.
  2. Consistency- Effective youth ministry programs do not meet once a month or every other week. They meet every week and are not cancelled due to holidays, major church functions, or anything short of cataclysmic natural events. People are too distracted to remember which date is which. They need to meet every week without fail to find a rhythm and eventually invite others to come with them.
  3. Christian- Duh! The youth ministry meeting must be Christian. Seems common sense, but incredibly some well-intentioned youth workers water down their gatherings and eliminate or diminish the very substance that young people need to grow closer to Christ. Make your gathering unapologetically Christian- always with prayer, always with a Bible reading or study component.
  4. Socially Acceptable Atmosphere- Burn the moldy couches please! Never again should I enter a youth room that reeks of musty furniture. Play welcoming music that connects with young people. Create a socially acceptable setting for the youth you are serving in your setting being aware of all five senses! This can be in a home (that is cleared in advance), a church room, a park, or whatever works for the young people in your area; however, it must be socially acceptable TO THEM.
  5. Loving Atmosphere- Communicate all are welcome. All are valuable. All are affirmed. Eliminate favorites, put downs and sarcasm. Turn ministry over to the young people for effective welcoming and follow-up ministry.

Want to learn how to take these steps well? Desire to establish an effective discipleship plan that builds young people as leaders? Reach out to us info {at} CEworks.faith

The Founder

Riding home on a plane from a whirlwind tour, I came across a movie released about a year ago called The Founder. The story unfolds the McDonald’s franchise empire and how Ray Kroc made this happen. At first I was connecting myself with Kroc. He saw an organization with incredible potential and dreamed of what it could become. I felt the same way about C.E. He worked tirelessly during his early McDonald’s years. My investment of time and energy to Rebirth C.E. and expose more people to this ministry has also been challenging. However, that is where the comparisons end. Ray Kroc became obsessed with building the McDonald’s empire. He coveted control, power and even another man’s wife. Scripture tells us, “What good is it if a man gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul?” Mark 8:36

Let’s contrast Ray Kroc’s life with Truett Cathy, 1967 Chick-fil-A founder. Cathy centered his life on biblical principles. He enjoyed sixty-five married years to his wife Jeanette. He also built his restaurant into the largest fast food chicken restaurant in the USA. Some people want to vilify businesses as if they are inherently evil. God allows us the ability to do business so we can work. We work just as He did when He created the world and does as He continues working in and through us today. Kroc and Cathy are two visionary business men who knew what they wanted. Kroc wanted a fast-food empire and all the fame that could come with it. Cathy wanted to honor His God and do this to the best of his ability while he worked hard and loved his family.

May God help us to test our motives against His Word as we consider the steps we should take. After doing that, may we build His Kingdom instead of creating our own version of a McDonald’s empire.

Best intentions for VBS: 3 Ways to Make it Worth your Time, Money and Resources

Great time and money are invested in your church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS). Did you ever ask if it is worth it? Your best intentions for these programs take hundreds or thousands of dollars with countless volunteer hours. Take these intentional steps and see your VBS be worth all the resources you put into it!

Intentional Relationships: Make a REAL contact following the event- Children attend your VBS that do not go to your church. You may not know their family, whether the family goes to another church, or if these people have any connection to God at all. Form a team that will call and then stop by homes (addresses collected at registration) with a simple gift. Be prepared to thank the families for allowing their child to come to the safe and uplifting environment of XYZ church. Explain that you enjoyed having their child at VBS and that they are invited to attend a regular worship service. Have the team prepared to ask if the family has any questions about the church or faith in Christ. In a relationship-starved society, this extra step can pay huge dividends.

Intentional Programming: Develop clear events that can be publicized so families have additional easy entry points into your church. Examples are a Kick-Off Sunday as the school year is beginning, Harvest Parties in October, and Christmas parties. Working ahead on your planning will allow families to be informed about these events occurring throughout the rest of the year. Use your VBS contacts and inform people about these upcoming events.

Intentional Development: Most churches believe they have a plan to develop young people as Christ-followers. They come to this conclusion because the church uses a set curriculum or has developed age specific objectives. Unfortunately, these items are not sufficient. Finding children’s workers and raising the children’s ministry budget is not the answer either. Churches lack an equipping plan that puts ministry in a child’s daily life. We do not live in a program driven culture any more but churches continue to act this way. Christian Endeavor (CE) exists to help churches implement an intentional growth process that impacts kids, teens, young adults and entire families. A church that uses CE across all ages recently was shocked when asking their children at VBS how they could live for Christ daily- the young children articulated the Simple, Biblical, and Relevant CE principles.

May your church’s future VBS event intentionally build God’s Kingdom! Peace!!