A couple years ago, before I was a youth pastor, my wife and I were opening ourselves up to God asking Him to show us what He wanted for us....where He wanted us to go....what He wanted us to do. The options were limitless for us as we knew He had called us and were willing for whatever He might ask of us.
On one trip back to Fulton from Olathe, KS (where we lived at the time) I had this vision of what Fulton could be and what could happen if the churches in Fulton were to ever unite. As with most towns that have different denominates many of them see the others as wrong and I am sure some of them really want nothing to do with the others. Many have been set in their ways so long that they don't want to change. They want to do things "the way we've always done it." On the other hand though, my wife and I have both been to several different churches in Fulton and when I think about it, I have connections that I could pull on from many of them.
Currently there are around 22,437 people who live in the Fulton zip code (as of the last census). When doing a little research I found that there are at least 40 "Christian" churches with a Fulton address. Using those figures every one of those churches have the opportunity to reach almost 600 people not including those that travel from outside the zip code to come to one of those churches. The sad part is, I don't know a single church in town that has over 300...most have less than 50.
These are sad numbers.
Since we moved back to Fulton, my eyes have been opened even more to the number of hurting families that live there. Families that are broken, kids without dads, people who are addicted to one thing or another, etc. It has been a wake up call to the reality of the world we live in. I know its not the only place with these issues or these statistics. I know people are hurting all over the nation...all over the world.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if God hasn't put us here to be part of his missionary work here. He keeps opening my eyes up to what could be if only the believers would unite and realize we are in the battle together.
Like I said many of the churches have issues with the other churches in town. They disagree with what the others are teaching. I have come to the realization that it is ok to disagree as long as you are following God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. If you are doing that, God will change you to what He wants you to be. I know He is changing me and what I believe and I trust that He will do that in others as well. No one can fully understand all that God is and all that He has to offer. If we are truly following after Him, we can't possibly do anything but change.
Anyway, so I don't really know where to start with this journey, but I know God will show me when it is time.
These thoughts began to run through my mind last night and today as I think about all the churches that are doing VBS right now. Parents who don't even go to church often send their kids to VBS. I am sure there are various motives for it, but I can only image that for many of them they want something more for their kids that what they have themselves. They know there is something more than where they are at, yet, they feel stuck.
What if, in a year from now, all the churches.....all 40 plus churches did a VBS, but instead of inviting the kids to come to the churches they spread out through the community? What if people held VBSs in the back yards where they could develop relationship with not only the kids that are in their area, but also have the opportunity to reach the parents and offer them a relationship as well.
I know it would be a big responsibility to this and I don't know that I am the one that could even handle it. I know God would bring about those who could help me with it, if this is what He wants. When I think about if each church could hold just 5 of these throughout the area, that would put over 200 VBSs throughout the area. If each one could handle 10 kids, that would be 2000 kids that could be reached. These would be easy numbers to hit, but it would take the body of Christ deciding that doing the work of Christ is far more important than the "doctrinal" stuff that will really make no difference in the end.
This is just one of the visions that God has given me of what could be. Like I said, I don't really know where to start, but I could sure use your prayers in this matter as I know God could do some amazing things if we could all come together.
To give credit where credit is due, the back yard VBS came from a program called Back Yard Bible Club which our church in Olathe, KS (Living Hope Church of the Nazarene) hosted each year.