Backyard Bible Club – A week in Review
June 23, 2007
Back Yard Bible Club or Vacation Bible School as they call it in the south began on Monday. Several different start times had been communicated by various individuals so we weren’t sure what time the kids would show up. We had also been told that there could be anywhere from 1 to “a lot of kids” showing up. There were15 that showed up on that first day – 5 of which were high school age. My orginal plan was to have the High school aged kids help, but there had come to be taught. I wasn’t prepared for this so as I went through the first part of the morning, my mind was trying to think through how to put the small groups together and with which person. In the end, I ended up taking the high school kids for small group time – this proved to be a wise decision as the week unfolded.
In Minnesota, people do these in their back yards – hence the name Back yard Bible Club. However in Pearlington, it is too hot for one, the trees have not yet recovered and most back yards are housing building materials. We met at New Hope Baptist church, which has a larger yard area, part of which houses a cemetery. Due to the high temperatures and humidity levels, we met inside the church. The church was a great facility to use for this activity as we could spread out for small group time and have tables to use for the crafts. The yard area was great for things like ultimate Frisbee and water balloon tossJ.
The curriculum used this year was “Things Hidden” and we looked at five different parables that Jesus used to teach about the spiritual things of God and Heaven. It is well written and I could easily adapt it to use with the High school students
The first parable that we looked at was the pearl of great price which focused on the fact that the Kingdom of God is worth all. The purpose of this parable was to lay the foundation for the rest of the lessons. There were to see that even though things might be hidden from our sight, they still exist and that God sometimes hides things from us because He has not yet given us the eyes to see the truth.
Next we looked at the parable of the soils and what kind of heart is represented by each of the soils. This lesson taught the kids that how the word of God is received is dependent on the condition of the heart. Since these kids have not been exposed much to farming, I spent a fair amount of time explaining about sowing and how it was done in Bible times. They had many questions about the soils and how one can change their heart so that it will receive the seed and produce good fruit.
The day that was probably enjoyed the most was the day that we studied the prodigal son and the fact that God welcomes imperfect people into heaven with rejoicing and celebration. We talked through a lot of issues relating to inheritance, wise living, being proud, and what God does to humble us. We talked about how God does what is for our good and His glory and that our happiness is not his primary goal for our lives. This was a harder concept for these High school kids, but they seemed to understand that what makes them happy here are the things that are more fleeting in nature and that they need to remember that there is an eternity to have joyful hearts. I did have to explain the difference between happiness and joy. Once they understood that difference, they made insightful statements.
We also had a birthday celebration for our snack time on this day. Courtney and Garrett share a birthday and we found out that Sunnie, the oldest boy attending the back yard bible club shares that same day as well. God orchestrated celebrations. There were two others that had birthdays in June as well. However I told them that the Birthday cake was for everyone who either had or will have a birthday this year. It was beautiful to hear them sing Happy Birthday to the group. This was enjoyed by everyone.
Then we studied the parable of the wheat and the tares and we talked about how believers and non-believers live together while on earth and sometimes it is difficult to tell them apart. We talked through the fact that there will be a time of separating the righteous from the unrighteous and where each will go. This was the day for them to think hard, especially since I was asking harder questions. They had a much harder time articulating the difference between the righteous and the unrighteous. According to them, the righteous do good things. We had a great discussion of what it means to do the right things for the wrong reasons or with a wrong heart and doing the right things for the right reasons or with a right heart. They were challenged to look at the things they do from a different perspective.
The last parable that we looked at was the lost sheep. Like the shepherd in the parable who goes looking for his one lost sheep, God goes after those that are his. I reminded them that all of us have turned away from God and that without His help we cannot find our way back to Him. During our small group time, I asked the kids if they thought God was seeking after them. It was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop on the carpet. This is unusual since there was almost always a constant chatter in this group. They thought about this question for a long time. Finally one of the girls asked, “How would you answer the question Miss Corrie?” I said that I thought God was seeking each of those that came to the BYBC and that He was diligent to seek those that are his. The follow-up question to me was, “How do you know if you are his?” To this question I was able to share the gospel. Pray that each of the 5 high school kids that heard the gospel will understand and see the glory of God and His redemption shining through.
It was not long into my first small group time with these High School kids that they asked if I was a teacher. When I said yes, the oldest boy Sunnie responded with, “Figures.” For the rest of the week, there were giving me a hard time about asking “those hard questions.” I just kept asking them and they kept answering them. We had some good discussions about whether one should ever put the brain in neutral. Of course they said yes it was ok since it was summer. I had a different opinion and they listened. I think it has some impact because they started asking harder questions as we progressed through the week.
At the end of our time together I asked the kids to give me some feedback. One of the questions I asked regarded what they considered a highlight of our week together. All the High school kids said, almost in unison was, ‘Memorizing the Scripture and answering the hard questions.” God was indeed at work in the hearts of these young men and women. Pray that satan will not be able to snatch away the word that was sown and that others will come along and water the seeds that were planted.
The kids know that I am coming back in November, Lord willing. They also know that I will ask them two questions – “Where is your heart?” and “Do you remember the verses we memorized?”
During the course of the week, I got to meet all of the Pastors. Some sat in and listened during the teaching time. There were also some parents that listened in as well. This is good, they need to know what their children were being taught. New Hope’s church covenant is very similar to BBC’s church covenant. It was good to be in a church that has similar theology. The kids want us to come back next year and they want to bring more kids to the BYBC. Shirley, one of the local ladies from the church looked at the leader’s guide and said, “This is good, real good. Can you come back again?” Pastor Langham was not at the church the last two days, so I will need to follow-up with him regarding our return. However, it seems like God is laying the foundation for our return.
One of my prayer warriors made the statement that went something like this – God has given you a base to reach out into the community. Now you know why satan was working so hard against you before you came down here.
God was indeed good during this time. Garrett and Sunnie, both of whom will be sophomores in the fall spent a good deal of time together outside of the BYBC. This was a good thing. I got to see several of the kids during the week at other places than BYBC.
Only God could have orchestrated this week. Now pray that He will continue what He has started.