Fairbanks VBS Brings 'Amazing Race' to Alaska Interior
“The world is waiting for you. Good luck. Travel safe,” says host Phil Keoghan at the start of every Amazing Race on CBS.
During July, kids ages 6 to 12 faced off in Amazing Race-style contests as part of the annual Vacation Bible School at the Fairbanks Church. This year’s theme, "Team Jesus’ Amazing Race," explored the concepts of dedication, discipline, determination, dependence and decoration through a myriad of competitive tasks that challenged participants to strategize, work together and depend on each other to succeed.
Just as the athlete trains his body to the task, focuses his mind on the goal, and dedicates his time and effort to the purpose at hand, this year’s participants discovered the attributes necessary to prepare for and complete the exciting challenges translated to every aspect of the daily Christian race with Jesus.
“We wanted to create a program that would engage younger children as well as older tweens," says Leola Gillette, VBS director. "I think we accomplished this with the help of the Holy Spirit. The most amazing thing was seeing God’s hand in the details of planning and executing this year’s VBS — great faith-building experience for me personally."
Steve Evenson, Fairbanks Church pastor, enthusiastically started each day with the Amazing Race theme song: “We’re on a race, an amazing race, the finish line is heaven.” The lively song with its memorable lyrics and actions reminded everyone to fix their eyes on Jesus, throw off what hinders them and run with endurance the race set before them.
“VBS is important because children are important to God,” says Ruth Prato, assistant VBS director. “Our goal is to build a relationship with the participants and present an accurate picture of our amazing God, so that they can accept Him into their hearts as their personal Lord and Savior.”
As such, many hours went into planning a VBS that would be challenging, fun and memorable while grounded on biblical principles. Many volunteers generously contributed their time and talents to make this years’ Amazing Race VBS a smashing success. “If every VBS were like this," said one child, "I’d come every year.”
VBS remains a relevant and vitally important outreach to Adventist children as well as kids in the surrounding community. The Barna Research Group surveys demonstrate that American children ages 5 to 13 have a 32 percent probability of accepting Christ, but youth or teens aged 14 to 18 have only a 4 percent probability of doing so.
A vibrant, appealing VBS is an opportunity to share our love for our creator with those still new to the world, in a relaxed, enjoyable and interactive format. We have the opportunity to connect with visiting families and offer them the unique view of God our church presents.
Have you considered leading VBS in your church? God will equip you with all the resources, tools and volunteers you need. Don’t hesitate! Jesus said, “You are to go to all the world and preach the Good News to every person” (Mark 16:15).
The world is waiting for you.