Great is our Lord, and of great power” (Psalm 147:5, KJV). Our Lord parted the sea, calmed a storm, and opened prison doors. He rescues, keeps safe, and provides for His followers. RescueZone: Saved by God’s Power can be a life-changing adventure as your students learn to trust and celebrate God’s goodness and power. The Bible records the lives of people who learned of God’s love and power, up close and personal—godly people who obeyed, trusted, and praised God and told others about Him.
RescueZone challenges students to obediently follow God’s leading; to enthusiastically praise God; to trust God to lead, provide, and protect; and to tell the world about our wonderful God.
In teaching students Biblical truths, RescueZone honors daily heroes, people who selflessly help others—rescue workers, firefighters, police officers, Coast Guard, and National Guard. RescueZone gives each local church a friendly way to interact with its community. Almost every community has firefighters and police officers. A search-and-rescue team, a Coast Guard crew, or military personnel may be stationed in or near your community. Why not use this year’s VBS theme to reach out to them? Invite a different rescue worker to come to your church each day, bringing emergency equipment that learners can touch and handle.
Before your daily heroes arrive, prepare a treat and a large thank-you card. If members of your church are rescue workers, military officers, police officers, or firefighters, ask how your church can help and encourage them and their coworkers. These daily heroes protect, help, and serve us. They deserve our appreciation!
After VBS is over, don’t neglect the relationships you have started with your daily hero-visitors. VBS can be an outreach ministry of your church to reach your community for Christ. Develop a strategy for showing your support and encouragement to rescue workers in your community. Let them know that people at your church pray for them. Invite rescue workers, community leaders, and local military personnel to special services at your church. Take goodies to the police or fire station or to the local military base. Pray for local men and women serving overseas. Send encouraging e-mails, letters, and care packages. Effective relationships are built over time.
Together we can accomplish more
Who helps the rescue workers? RescueZone: Saved by God’s Power offers a way for your church and your VBS to be involved in an outreach to a hurting world and to offer support and encouragement to a special group of people who minister in our communities. Our chaplains often minister to daily heroes—firefighters, police officers, rescue workers, and military personnel.
Operation RescueZone, the missions project for RescueZone, offers your students and your church the opportunity to partner with the Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries, helping Regular Baptist chaplains as they minister to a world in need.
Pastor Matthew Smith of Cortland, New York, a volunteer chaplain with the police department, ministers to his community in a special way. Each week he rides in a patrol car for one shift with a member of the sheriff’s department. His ministry opens new doors of outreach for his church. When a firefighter was killed in the line of duty, Pastor Smith and his police partner were asked to inform the family and to minister to grieving firefighters. Through continued friendship with the firefighter’s family, Pastor Smith shared the gospel with the firefighter’s mother. She trusted Jesus as her Savior. The firefighter also had a ten-year-old son who did not attend any church. Pastor Smith’s church raised the money to send the boy to a Christian camp, where he also asked Jesus to be his Savior. Building relationships, providing comfort, partnering in prayer, and sharing the gospel are all part of Pastor Smith’s ministry in his community.
While in Iraq, Chaplain Randy Curry was able to reach out to children in fun ways. Iraqi boys and girls are much like American boys and girls. They love to play games and ride bicycles, and they are great at playing soccer. Chaplain Curry had fun teaching the kids how to play “Duck, Duck, Goose.” Since he was the only soldier playing, he was picked to run around the circle almost every time.
When on patrol, American soldiers often drove to a village to meet with the village leaders. Some soldiers stayed outside in their vehicles, guarding the meeting. As soon as the vehicles stopped, children from the village ran to see the soldiers. Few children spoke English, but the soldiers and children soon learned to communicate in other ways. The soldiers recognized the children from their many visits to the village, and they became friends.
Chaplain Curry was able to help those friendships grow by providing toys and school supplies for the soldiers to give to the children. He received boxes and boxes of school supplies, books, and toys that American schools, churches, and families had sent. Most of the children have very little. When given small toys, the children smiled so big!
Chaplains also minister to military personnel and their families. When military officers are deployed to serve overseas, they often leave behind spouses and children. Chaplain Randy Curry saw a need and moved to help. He took a video recorder and storybooks to Iraq and recorded moms and dads reading aloud favorite storybooks. Each video was mailed to its family.
When one particular video reached home, the family popped the tape into the VCR, eager for the sight and sound of their loved one. On the screen appeared Dad, reading aloud from a storybook. His little daughter jumped up, ran, and threw her arms around the TV, hugging her daddy. That video probably was replayed many times, bringing the absent parent close to his little daughter.
The Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries has set up Operation RescueZone to provide needy children and adults with necessities. Those items could include Bibles, storybooks, and phone cards that allow men and women on active duty to talk with their families.
Also, small stuffed bears will be purchased for the chaplains’ ministry to children. A stuffed bear spans the differences in language and culture, bringing a needy child the message, “You’re not alone. Someone cares.” When visiting those children in the States or abroad, chaplains will use the bears as a ministry tool. Each bear has a zippered opening in its back to hold a New Testament or tract, providing another way for chaplains to share the gospel message.
Each church that commits in advance to give its VBS offering to the Chaplaincy Ministries fund will receive one bear so the VBS kids can see a tangible way they can help hurting children in their community and around the world. Our great and powerful Lord has helped us. We can reach out and help those around us.
The Almighty God loves us and sent His only Son, Jesus, to meet our greatest need—forgiveness of sin and an eternal relationship with Him. In response we praise God; love and worship Him; honor, obey, and trust Him. You can use your VBS ministry to show His love and greatness to people in your church, your community, and around the world.
Visit the Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries on the Web.
Peg Arnold is the VBS editor for Regular Baptist Press.