Ashland—Rob and Renee Parsons have been on a Vacation Bible School mission this summer.
Parsons, the pastor at Central Baptist in Ashland, and his wife, Renee, have taken mission teams to several churches in the Greenup Baptist Association to put on VBS.
It has been welcomed help for some struggling churches who do not have either the resources or membership to run a successful VBS.
“We’re not snagging other people’s sheep,” explained Renee Parsons. “We want to help put on a VBS and then help them provide a sustainable (children’s) ministry after that. We work with the pastors.”
Parsons says churches had become too isolated and looking inward instead of outward. It seems working together has opened doors, he said.
They are partially funded through the Greenup Baptist Association and Kentucky Baptist Convention.
The couple have a trained team of about 32 workers who often split up duties to do VBS at multiple churches.
About 20 churches in the area have provided help or given them materials.
“The successful churches don’t call me” to run the VBS, she said. “If the haves will help the have-nots, all our churches will grow.”
However, many are thrilled to have some help with a trained staff.
On a recent Saturday at Central Baptist they held a block party.
It was the culmination of a VBS at Pollard Baptist, the kickoff for one starting next week at Central and a preview for New Hope, Blackburn Avenue and Second Baptists.
But it doesn’t stop with VBS, Parsons said.
“This is a kickoff to children’s ministry that can last the whole school year,” he said.
The idea is to get as many children in VBS as possible, he said.
“If a child already has a church affiliation, we’ll send information to that church,” Renee said. “This isn’t church work. It’s kingdom work.”
Greenup Baptist Association alloted $2,500 for the ministry and the Parsons used that to buy materials and training.
Forty were trained and 32 ended up working. They are between the ages of 9 and 60, Renee said.
“Christianity has become counter-cultural,” Parsons said. “We have to get back to First Century stuff.”
Parsons has been at Central Baptist for a year and membership has tripled. The 77-year-old church was close to closing before he arrived.
They went from about nine who were regularly coming to 60 or 70 before the summer break hit.
“The way he teaches Bible study is like being at a seminary,” said Ed Allen, who has been a member at Central since 1948. “They’ve made a big difference in our church.”
Rob and Renee were youth pastors at Central about 20 years ago.
“It was the first place we served in ministry in 1996,” he said. (Daily Independent)
Mark Maynard is editor for the Daily Independent of Ashland.