Image Credit: Damen Therkildsen

Otis Orchards VBS Leads to Young Adult Baptisms

When Otis Orchards Church board members felt God urging them to hold a Vacation Bible School program in the summer of 2021, they weren’t sure if they would find the volunteers to pull it off. Nevertheless, they continued to feel God's call to step out in faith and believe He would provide the help they needed for a successful VBS program.

“If you look at the return on investment — meaning how many people become a part of the church or take an active role to get more people into the church — VBS has a much better return on your investment of time and money than do regular evangelistic series,” said Matthew Burton, Otis Orchards Bible worker.

“Generally, with a standard evangelistic series you can expect maybe a few individuals to become interested in your church, whereas with VBS you can sometimes get a whole family and even a few friends,” he explained. “The plus of teaching kids about Jesus, the reason why the return is better with VBS, is that kids are so excited to learn more about Jesus.”

The church board applied for help from His Travelers, a volunteer group of young adults led by the Upper Columbia Conference children’s ministries department. Luckily, His Travelers were able to assist with the program, putting on a Bible skit and volunteering as rotational group leaders.

That Sabbath, the church was packed full of members, children and guests. Michelle, a mother who had been bringing her young son to VBS every day, attended the church program, and continued to attend church every Sabbath following the program. Michelle became a regular attendee of the young adult sabbath school at Otis Orchards and started becoming more involved in the church.

In addition to sending His Travelers, Michelle, her young son and others, God also sent a couple from a neighboring church to assist with the program. Following the completion of VBS, the couple felt impressed by God to provide more leadership and assistance at Otis Orchards. They transferred their membership and began attending church, bringing their son, Christopher, each Sabbath.

Christopher became a regular attendee of the young adult sabbath school, and became more involved with the church. After several weeks, Michelle and Christopher each expressed interest in baptism. Both were baptized in February.

“I think that VBS played a significant role in the baptism of Michelle, and played an indirect role in the baptism of Christopher,” shared Burton. "These two individuals are taking an active role in our church, ... [leadership is] the most valuable thing that has come out of our outreach."

Otis Orchards is planning another VBS for the upcoming summer with the help of His Travelers. They are excited to form more connections with the community.

Featured in: May/June 2022


Makena Horton

North Pacific Union assistant communication director and Gleaner managing editor