Never Waste a Moment

By Krisit Sullins

Vacation Bible School has arrived here at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church. The decorations are being hung.  Crafts are being prepped and snacks are being planned.  After years and years of experience, we have a routine and a plan.  However, the reality is much greater than the plan.

For those who lead in ministry, volunteers who give their time, and those who, at all stages of life, find a way to serve, this week is a week of moments.  Moments that are made when teachers, in costumes, make the stories of the Bible come to life.  Moments when adults and children worship together.  Moments when our youth give up their time to decorate, lead and invest.

The best moments are when you see a child grasp the reality of God’s great love for them.

As the AFBC family prepares for Vacation Bible School, our prayer is that God moves in a mighty way.  Our theme, “Finding Messiah”, sets the stage for children to discover how they can know Jesus was truly the Messiah, sent to save us.  We will journey through the Bible finding proof within the stories in the Gospels.

This is more than a program we do, or just an average week in the summer.  It is a time that will be filled with moments for the children who attend.  Often a moment is all God needs to change everything.  Christ, Himself, understood the importance of taking a moment of time to be with children.  He knew their value in the Kingdom.

As each volunteer prepares for VBS, we pray they would see the importance of the task at hand and would embrace the sacrifice it requires to make a Kingdom impact.  We pray for each family that will be connected through VBS, that they would be changed by learning about the Messiah who loves them.  And we pray that God would move in His mighty way so that by Thursday night it would be clear that all that had been accomplished was through Him.

May each of us be able to answer like Peter when Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16

Extreme Love

By Kristi Sullins

And I pray that you may have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love Christ. Ephesians 3:18 (NIV)

If you could truly grasp the extreme level of the love of Christ would it change your life? The answer is YES!

This year for VBS we went extreme. VBX focused on the extreme measures of Christ’s love for us. The children journeyed to the vast Artic Tundra, the long Nile River, the highest peak of Mount Everest and the deepest point of the Marianas Trench to examine stories from the Bible that prove God’s love for us knows no limits.

In this journey we saw God work in unbelievable ways. Our average nightly attendance was 229, and there were over 30 children who made decisions during the four days. We had close to 200 volunteers each night willingly giving their time and talents to make the truth of Christ’s love come alive.

VBS is our largest children’s event of the year. It will take hundreds of volunteers and it will use a large chunk of the budget. Exhaustion is always present by the end of the week, and some struggle to understand why we do it every year. Within all of that prep work and exhaustion is the face of a mom who finds out her daughter just prayed to receive Christ, or the connection a preschooler with our senior pastor who dedicates that entire week to be in preschool. The joy in exhaustion can be found in the child who is inside the walls of a church for the first time and is asking questions when they see people praying. It is found in the jars of salsa that go out to un-churched or unconnected families when our church members faithfully give more of their time to go to each person’s home that wants more information about what we are doing at AFBC. For Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church, the reality is that the week of VBS is a time for us all to offer our time and talents, and wait expectantly to see the amazing things that God faithfully does.

For four days, hundreds of children heard the truth about love and the One who loves us without limits. That love is the only thing that will truly make a difference in our lives and the world we live in. To grasp the Extreme love of our God changes everything!




Never Too Old

By Gerry Wakeland
This week the seniors of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church have enjoyed Senior Vacation Bible School. And all week as I have talked with colleagues around the country they have asked the same question…”What is Senior Vacation Bible School? Aren’t seniors too old for Vacation Bible School?

When Pastor Michael Cook accepted the call to Albuquerque’s First Baptist church in 2006 he had a number of ideas that would revitalize our fellowship. They weren’t all about buildings and locations. Many of them were about people.

One of those ideas revealed his passion for seniors and their health and welfare. This idea has turned into one of the most popular programs for the seniors of our church. We call it Senior Vacation Bible School and yes, it is patterned after the same named program for our children.

Four days every August seniors gather at AFBC to relive a most precious time in their youth, VBS. The week is full of songs and games, laughter and tears, creativity and crafts and grounded in great Bible teaching,

The morning starts off with breakfast. Anything from biscuits and sausage gravy to homemade granola and fresh fruit might appear on the breakfast buffet.

Worship Pastor Matt Snook opens our worship time with music. This year Dr. John Hatch, former Senior Pastor at FBC Lake Jackson, TX, taught lessons on the importance of the family in today’s society. His lovely wife, Alice enhanced the morning study with song.

Our seniors love games. The most popular game of the week was the AFBC rendition of Family Feud in which the Kolle Family faced off against the French Family. Amidst a lot of laughter and coaching from the audience, the Kolle Family won. Another popular game shared secrets from our church staff. You’ll never guess who broke his finger washing his hand. And just for the record, Pastor Trey is not the only daredevil on our staff.

The men spent the week building Crayola trucks which will be given to children at the Baptist Children’s Home. Some of the women helped the men by painting the trucks. Other women created some helpful gifts such as magnets, notepads and bookmarks that will be shared with the teachers at Petroglyph Elementary and carried with the Senior Choir when they sing at nursing homes.

And of course, we ended every morning with lunch prepared by the church staff. Pastor Kevin and Pastor Michael grilled. Pastor Trey smoked pot roast and Ms. Kristi made homemade chicken and dumplings. And Susan Rasinski made her very first peach cobbler just for our seniors, and it was yummy!

Friday ended with a special treat as Matt introduced our very own Senior Gospel Quartet comprised of Jim French, Carolyn Manuelito, Gail Kirby and Matt. They shared some old favorites as everyone clapped and sang along.

It was a great week. Everyone left edified by the Word of God, encouraged by the fellowship with other believers and excitedly looking forward to next year!

It just goes to prove that you’re never too old for Vacation Bible School.