Five churches have pooled resources to create a more effective and resourceful Vacation Bible School to serve the downtown Lincolnton Christian community better. Five Churches, One Mission.
Though the story of how exactly the program came to fruition has gotten lost over the past few years, Rev. Tony Matthews of First United Methodist Church; Rev. Danny Trapp of First Presbyterian Church; Rev. Michael Collins of Emmanuel Lutheran Church; and Rev. Susan Walker of Emanuel Reformed Church and Exodus Missionary Outreach Church of Hickory have joined together in their recent annual tradition of combining their churches’ VBS outreach into one weeklong event for all of the five churches to aid in.
Robbie Combs, Director of Ministries at First United Methodist, is helping head up the event for his second year. Some churches have this program during the day, but he has found it more beneficial to hold the service in the evenings. He said: “It’s easier in the evening because it’s easier to get volunteers. People work, and it’s harder to get people during the day. Traditionally, I’ve always done it during the day. Other churches that I have served have done it more in the evening, though, and it’s actually been a little more successful.”
This event occurs in part because it allows more children to interact with each other and because of how cost-effective it can be. Combs detailed that each church picked a night to make dinner and that all of the extra expenses that come up were split evenly between the five churches.
The NC Coalition of Churches has been involved in the planning process, as well. Combs said, “It’s been a group effort for the smaller churches uptown that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of resources.”
Sunday night kicked off the VBS week with a large attendance of around 40 children participating. Participation throughout the week can fluctuate, as the churches have seen their attendance peak on day one or later in the week throughout the years. The theme of this year’s VBS is “God’s Masterpiece,” which was developed locally among Combs and the help of the five churches.
Rev. Matthews thinks that showing the different denominations of churches coming together can be a “life lesson and a teaching lesson” of bringing people together in today’s polarized climate. “Our culture wants to be so segmented now– them and us, and I think it’s a good lesson for our churches and our community about how we can work together,” he said. “We’re different denominations, so we have our differences. Our differences don’t separate us, and we’re still sisters and brothers.”
The joint VBS will be running every evening until Wednesday, beginning with a 5:30 p.m. dinner. The churches are also encouraging participants to bring school supply donations for teachers in our local schools.
“Our churches look forward to these times when we come together for VBS,” said Rev. Walker. “The pastors are in the middle of it all, and we love working together. Our young people are having great fun while celebrating God’s Creation – what could be better than that?”
Photos courtesy of First United Methodist Church – Lincolnton
Melissa Cordell is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies and is the Staff Reporter to L Town Radio. To email Melissa with a story idea or news tip email at firstname.lastname@example.org