Evangelizing through VBS

Phoenix South Mountain Corps uses summer tradition to attract new kids.

Children arrive for VBS at Phoenix South Mountain Corps.

The Phoenix South Mountain Corps used this summer’s vacation Bible school (VBS) as a tool for outreach and evangelism, pre-registering 50 kids from the community.

“We have a thriving corps with close to 60 active junior soldiers every Sunday, the majority of whom were enrolled in the last three years. There is a real danger in getting comfortable and complacent. Our ministry here would be pointless if we didn’t live it beyond our church doors,” said Major Denise Hawk, corps officer with her husband Guy. “There are still many more youth in South Mountain who are waiting to hear about the saving power of Jesus.”

To help kids and parents feel more comfortable, the corps’ youth director visited the home of every child registered for VBS prior to the first day.

Each day, VBS began with a simple prayer of thanksgiving that the children would repeat and ended with prayers offered by a few kids. One child prayed, “Thank you, God, for my new friends at The Salvation Army and for all this fun we are having.”

This VBS program ran from Thursday to Tuesday¾different from the conventional weekly VBS schedule. The soldiers leading VBS hoped that by having the children attend Sunday services as one of the regular days of VBS they would feel connected to familiar faces and more likely to return. On Sunday morning the sanctuary was packed with standing room only. Many of the kids invited their parents¾and the entire family came for worship.

“Stay tuned for the rest of the story when we enroll all these youngsters as the newest junior soldiers of the South Mountain Corps!” Major Guy Hawk said.

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