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Americans Still Love Vacation Bible School–Even Non-Church Goers

VBS, however popular, is not without its critics.

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A survey conducted by LifeWay shows that most Americans hold a positive view of Vacation Bible School, the educational Bible program that thousands of churches across the nation put on for young children during the summer vacation.

“Six in 10 Americans say they went to VBS growing up. Two-thirds of American parents say they plan to send kids to VBS this summer — even if they skip church themselves,” says the report, “Even If They Don’t Go to Church, Americans Still Love VBS.”

This includes even those who don’t regularly go to church.

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60 percent of parents surveyed said they are planning on sending their children to VBS programs put on by churches they don’t regularly attend, while 69 said they’d send their child to a different church if their child was invited by a friend.

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“Each week of the summer there are thousands of VBS programs going on around America,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, in a statement following the release of the report last week. “It’s one of the things that people love about church.”

“People still believe Vacation Bible School is good for kids,” he added. “Even parents who don’t go to church want their kids to go to VBS.”

The Christian Post explains that the study drew from 1,200 American adults interviewed between March 7-10 at a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

“Other findings included 60 percent of respondents saying they attended VBS as kids, 88 percent of those who attended saying VBS helped them understand the Bible, 95 percent saying VBS was a positive experience for their children, and 61 percent of respondents who did not attend VBS still holding positive views about the program,” CP notes.

Thom Rainer, the president of LifeWay, is a vocal proponent of VBS, and, In a recent column published by The Christian Post, he referred to it as “the No.1 evangelistic tool in America” and urged churches to continue the program.

VBS, however popular, is not without its critics.

Pastor and author Peter M. Burfeind argued in a 2017 column for The Federalist that the programming relies on a “bait n’ switch philosophy” which he likened to “trying to get your child to eat vegetables by embedding them in a Twinkie.”

“Sure, the child will hear some good things about God, but the medium of the message — the razzle-dazzle theme, characterless music, throwaway crafts, forced theatrics, the theological minimalism — is what the child internalizes,” he wrote.

“The deeper message conveyed is that what is meant to be an eternal truth is derivative, unserious, inauthentic, forgettable, commercial, frivolous, and cheap.”

Frivolous or not, LifeWay clearly demonstrates that many adults still remember VBS fondly and are happy to send their kids to the program as well. Whenever the Gospel is preached, that’s a positive thing in my opinion–with or without the bells and whistles of a fun and entertaining children’s program.

(H/T The Christian Post)

 

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Faith

12-Year-Old Hailed as Hero After Saving His Friends Life After Disturbing Snapchat Posts

We certainly hope there are many more young people like Gabe out there willing to reach out and intervene when their friends are in trouble

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Most of the time, when we think of preteens using Snapchat, we think of all the scary things that can happen online. Bullying, predatory behavior, pornography. It’s a scary cyber world out there. But oddly enough, when one 12-year-old with a good heart and sharp instincts managed to use Snapchat to get his friend the help she needed in the nick of time, by responding quickly right when he noticed something was amiss. Yahoo News reports: Gabe Rongier had been chatting with his friend, who he met on the social media app through a mutual friend, when he noticed a drastic change in the girl’s emotions. According to CBS Pittsburgh, the girl shared a disturbing post that read she “wouldn’t be here tomorrow.” Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? for Yahoo’s newsletter. Gabe, not knowing how to alert the authorities in Texas about the girl possibly being a danger to herself, called the suicide hotline. “I called the suicidal prevention services and it linked me to Officer Chandler [in Texas,]” Gabe told the outlet. “He went to her house, checked up on her. The next day he called me and said, ‘She’s fine. It’s real.’” Gabe’s parents, Fred and Lori, were informed by investigators that they used geotracking to locate the girl and that they arrived in time to intervene with any plans she may have had. “Of course, I’m very proud of him, but I really hope that other young people his age might see the story and also be inspired to also take action to help somebody in need just like Gabe did,” Lori said. Fred added, “When he went to bed, I always kiss him and, I’ve been telling him since that day, ‘You’re my little hero.’” Officer Chandler also sent Gabe, who wants…

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Faith

Huge Fire Tears Through Church…You Won’t Believe Went Unscathed

Firefighters were absolutely shocked when they finally got inside the razed church.

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Truly and utterly, there are some time in which the truth is far stranger than any conjured fiction. Here in America, we seem to love these stories and the mysteries behind them.  We’re obsessed with unsolved true crime, the paranormal, and all things hypothetical…including bizarre notions about the ancient Egyptians galavanting around with extraterrestrials. Is this simply escapism run amok?  Perhaps, but we have been drawn to the impossible and improbable throughout the entirety of human history. That is why the story of a church fire in West Virginia is so compelling. Firefighters in West Virginia surveying the damage from an inferno that had gutted a church over the weekend were astounded when they discovered that a bevy of Bibles and crosses had somehow survived the conflagration unscathed. The remarkable find was reportedly made early Sunday morning after the Coal City Fire Department helped to battle a blaze that had engulfed the Freedom Ministries Church in the community of Greenview. Upon entering the building, the team of rescue workers was stunned to see that every Bible inside the church had apparently made it through the harrowing ordeal undamaged. Posting pictures of the amazing sight to Facebook, the department noted that the fire had, at one point, been so hot that they were actually forced to pull personnel from the building for their safety. The temperatures were so extreme, they explained, that everything inside should have been reduced to ashes. Firefighters also remarked that none of the crosses inside the church itself were damaged by fire either, adding to the mystery.

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