Again this year we have had great fun watching you respond to our Impossible Clues. Thanks to our friend, the creative genius Steve Bussell at Seventh Story Productions in Franklin, Tennessee, for another great year of clues that even makes those of us who know the theme scratch our heads in wonder.
My favorite quote from this week was from co-worker Patrick Watts who said, "I know the theme and still can't figure out the clues." Steve, this indication that you out did yourself. You are truly the clue master and we are honored to have you on the team.
We are also honored to have each of you on the team as well. We affectionally refer to you as our VBS Groupies and we love you dearly. Thank you for making this week one of the true highlights of our work year - and for at least one week each year LifeWay's highest rated blog!
While we all wait for the big reveal right here at 1:00 PM (CST), I want to ask you to join me in praying for the thousands of churches starting VBS today. Traditionally the first full week of June is the biggest VBS week of the year. Almost 50% of all Bible schools will be held in the next two weeks.
Statistics tells us that approximately 3,000,000 kids, tens, and adults will participate in one or more Bible schools this summer. Ten percent will tell us they are unchurched by leaving the church affiliation line on their registration card blank. This means that collectively we will discover 300,000 unchurched individuals this summer and this number does not include family members who didn't participate in VBS. When parents and siblings are factored in, we will discover 1,050,000 people this summer who are spiritual orphans.
Join me in praying that not only will these spiritual orphans hear the Gospel proclaimed during VBS, but that they will be adopted into church families who do everything possible to build upon and continue the relationship connections made during VBS.
Some of the saddest conversations I have each year are with church leaders who say they no longer have VBS because it is no longer effective. When pressed what I typically learn is that the church accepted the gift of unchurch families attending VBS, but did nothing to build upon the relationship and continue the connections.
Throughout the afternoon we will be releasing additional theme and content information. I think you will be surprised by the many upgrades and improvement you will discover. You have spoken and we have listened!
One improvement I can tell about now is new terminology to replace follow-up and Family Nights.
We have decided to replace follow-up with continued connections. This is the result of multiple conversations with VBS leaders during of VBS 2013 Preview events in January and February. For many of us VBS follow-up has become nothing more than a "thanks for attending" postcard. Once the card is dropped in the mail we pat ourselves on the back and check follow-up off the list. While we need to express gratitude, to be effective we must go beyond a postcard and do the work of building upon and continuing the relationship connections made during VBS. You will hear more about this in the weeks to come.
Another term being upgraded due to these same conversations is family night. Beginning with VBS 2014 we will now call this celebration of the VBS week exactly that - VBS Celebration. You will hear more about this in the weeks to come as well.
I am truly excited to share the VBS 2014 theme, but even more excited about the information I'll be sharing later today. So stay tuned!