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Genell Knisley, Associate Pastor
Oakes Church of the Nazarene
Oakes, North Dakota
jskgmk78@drtel.net 
701-742-3193 Church
701-742-2046 Home

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Oakes Church of the Nazarene
Genell Knisley, Associate Pastor

Never in my many years of participating in Vacation Bible School (VBS) has anything like this happened before. The evangelism soccer ball project offering was $500 and 23 children gave their hearts to Christ and signed a declaration of their experience. I believe that part of the difference in the outcome of the offering was due to the children having something tangible toward which to give.  We had a total of 45 children who participated during the week. 

At the Dakota District Assembly, our Mission Convention speaker was Brian Helstrom, the Executive Director for JESUS Film Harvest Partners (JFHP) based in the Kansas City area. The work of JFHP is to share God’s love with the lost to help fulfill the Great Commission using the JESUS Film and other tools such as the EvangeCube and evangelism soccer balls. Helstrom is a great speaker and did a wonderful job of helping us understand what God is doing around the world!

I was so inspired to get involved, the decision was made for the evangelism soccer ball to be our main VBS offering project. Every year at the Oakes Church of the Nazarene Vacation Bible School, a mission project is chosen for the children. I believed the evangelism soccer ball was something that would be exciting for the children. We purchased one soccer ball (to purchase ball go to JFHP.org) to use during recreation time. The meaning of the colors was taught during various times of the VBS: black – sin/spiritual darkness, red - Christ's blood, white - the cleansing power of Christ's blood, gold - God, green – growth as new believers.

Each day during our opening time, an offering was taken for the mission project and the children brought non-perishable food items for the local food pantry.  It has been my experience in the past that many children will bring their pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters for the VBS offering.  Some children have been known to even bring dollar bills to contribute.  We have generally had a competition between the boys and girls to spur on their contributions.  The total for the week is usually near $100.00 or sometimes a little over that.

 

The first night in the offering we had a respectable $10.10. Most of the children did not yet know the details of our evangelism soccer ball project and usually forget about bringing money for an offering the first night. The second night, the children brought in $91.51. The excitement just continued to escalate. I really thought the offering would be much less the rest of the week.  I was wrong.  The third night totaled $102.49; the fourth night was $80.10 and the last night’s total was $101.00. The offerings were so good because the children had something tangible to support. They knew how much the balls cost and what they would be used for, so they were excited to participate.  We had some children bring in $10 each day for their offering.  By the end of the five days of VBS, the total was $385.19.

 

As suggested on the JFHP.org website , we decided to allow the children to continue collecting money for balls from their friends, neighbors, and relatives. It was planned that the money would be due at the end of the month. God is so faithful! The total money raised for the project came to $500.00 which will purchase 50 evangelism balls. The very best news of all though is how our children responded to the drawing of the Lord during our VBS. We had a total of 45 children who participated during the week. On the 4th night of VBS, a very specific call was made for the children to “Receive the Savior” during our opening time. Twenty-three children gave their hearts to Christ and signed a declaration of their experience. The Museum @ 12627 curriculum this year was wonderful and designed so that the children would understand their need for Jesus to be their Savior and for action on their part. Our whole congregation was so excited!  We all praise God for how He has worked in the lives of our children!