A few summers ago, we decided to opt out of VBS. It was becoming a lot harder to recruit volunteers to make VBS work as it should, so we decided to go to other events. For a few years, we did a sports camp, and then two years ago, we went with Evangelistic Block Parties. About this time, we had a group go to New York on a mission trip. On that mission trip, the group did these types of Evangelist Block Parties in a park in Brooklyn. They worked well there, so we decided to try them out in Natchez. The idea of an Evangelistic Block Party is basically a portable one day VBS. The first year we tried this, we went to 2 different communities. Last year, we tried three. Two at two apartment complexes in our town, and one in the backyard of our church. They were all a huge success. One of the apartment complexes we went to was the same complex we went to the first year. A lot of the kids and parents we talked with were very excited to see us back and all asked if we would come back again next year (which was this year). So, we did. This year, I really wanted to focus on sharing the Gospel with the kids. So many times, it's easy to get caught up in the games, food, and crafts, and forget the real reason that we are doing the block party- to share the Gospel. For Bible Study, I looked a several different VBS themes and found GCF's The Race Is On.
I always like to do a craft that has something tangeble for the kids to bring home to remember the Bible Story. This year, one of our Sunday School teachers and WMU ladies, brought me an idea called Witnessing Dolls. Basically the dolls share the story of Salvation, using CEF's Wordless Book. For the block party, we decided there wasn't a way to have each child a doll, so I created a handout that worked as a doll on one side and had the colors of faith on the other. For the actual craft part, the kids made colors of faith bracelets using the different color beads. You can click on witnessing dolls above for a link to witnessing dolls guide.
For recreation this year, I decided to use Centri- Kids' OMC!! It's really hard to explain. To see pictures of OMC in action, click on this OMC!!
We do these block parties on Sunday evenings. We basically move church to a different location for the evening. We had a good group show up to help. At the block party, we meet for 2 hours. In that 2 hours, the kids go to Bible Study, Crafts, Rec, and they are fed. I try to have people to not only teach kids, but also teenagers and adults because you usually have a big number of those come, as well. For food, we usually do hot dogs, chips, lemondade, and popcorn- if I have someone to bring the popcorn popper. Even though we had a terrible rain storm come 10 minute before we were set to begin, we still had 50 kids come. It was a huge success, and we look forward to heading back there sometime soon!!
here are a few pictures I captured from my blackberry during dinner time.