“Children’s Revival”

I’ve seen and been to quite a few Vacation Bible Schools over the years. My daughter even went to one this summer (at a Baptist church no less!). This one run by Mr. Bill and Mrs. Nancy is the first time, however, that I can recall seeing one called a “children’s revival.”

There’s just something off-putting about that to me. Perhaps it’s because revivals in general tend to be so very manipulative and the thought of targeting that kind of approach at children seems abhorrent.

73 thoughts on ““Children’s Revival””

      1. I know many churches who do evening VBS too. One did because their school district switched to year-round school. Others have because they don’t have enough stay-at-home moms to run VBS during the morning.

      2. Exactly. I always enjoy volunteering at VBS, and it basically has to be at night, otherwise, who would be able to help? Maybe fundy churches have enough stay-at-home moms to help, but many churches have lots of families with two working parents (such as our family.) I agree that’s a little late for 4 year olds, though…

        The biggest problem here is the over-use of Comic Sans. :mrgreen:

        1. The churches I’ve been in often make use of a few families that either have stay at home parent, or staff for supervision and make heavy use of college students who work at nights.

    1. Our VBS was from 6-8pm for ages 4-11, M-F. While it was a great program, I really wish it had been 1 hour instead of 2. My younger ones were a mess every night & after a few late evenings, my older kids were wiped out, as well.

  1. We had a gentleman in our former church that called VBS “children’s revival.” He was the only one that called it that. He would make announcements to the church about “children’s revival,” everyone just interpreted it as VBS.

  2. To bad Trinity doesn’t have a website, for they would be worthy of FWOTW club, I pastored near there, and knew some of the people, and yeah, the former deceased pastor (The Rev. Dr. Dennis Carter) was like that feller from Oklahoma.

      1. Jimmy Standridge. I was told how great Dennis Carter’s preaching was, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and listened to two tapes, both times he preached on several families in the church listing name and problems 😳

    1. The Masons’ website more than makes up for it:

      “This site has been graciously donated on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary by: Walt and Leta Sutherland.”

      w00t!

  3. Yeah, I would be a little leery of this. Children are (generally) so eager to please the adults in their lives, especially those they perceive to be “special” (like, for example, a special Bible teacher and his wife), that is seems very manipulative. Maybe it’s just the word “revival” that is pinging my radar, but why can’t it be an ordinary, happy, fun VBS like most kiddos go to???

  4. Years ago (like close to 20) the local CEF sponsored a “children’s revival” on a Sunday afternoon at an Alliance church (only mention denomination as not an IFB type). I took my kids. It was actually fun – all the fun type stuff many of us loved as kids ourselves – magic tricks, chalk art, the whole bit. And as I said, it was a one day shot. Now, the IFB in my neighborhood has “Vacation Bible Revival” on their readerboard but no further info on the web site so hopefully it’s a matter of semantics.

    1. My paternal grandfather and one of my uncles were fairly high-up execs in CEF. It was a pretty good program, but I had to go to EVERY ONE of the Five-Day Clubs in the area. After awhile I HATED them. Wasn’t fond of VBS at church either. I was in church twice on Sunday, on Weds night, and Christian school every day. After awhile you don’t just get tired of it- it grates on you.

      And I hated kool-aid and cookies. 😛

    1. That was my first thought. Stop sinning you wicked little sinners and repent! The testimonies will be laced with not tithing, staying at home on Wednesdays, and breaking the 5th Commandment.

    2. Exactly! Revival is a renewing in one’s spiritual life. Reviving the dead things or things that are lacking. What child needs revival?!? Such a sloppily used word nowadays…

    1. Yes. This is a spotting of the (very) rare endangered IFB children’s pastor. Their fundy bona fides are slightly suspect (because they dont preach to MEN, haymen?) and thus are almost never the recipients of honorary degrees.

        1. Make that the 1970s.
          Mr. Bill’s first appearance on Saturday Night Live was in SNL’s first season, on February 28, 1976.

        2. Oh good! I was thinking ’77, so I wasn’t too far off. I was hoping it wasn’t that my friend Jeanne’s older brother was smoking something interesting on the sofa behind us…

  5. They used her first name instead of referring to her as Mrs. Bill? 😮

    As for the hours, our church in Michigan has had it at night for years, though usually from 6-8. Since it’s summer the kids are out of school and it’s still light out when the kids get home.

    1. Naw. They are just going to strangle it when they get there. The kids will be sad at first, but once they get saved they will realize what a great sermon illustration puppicide was and they will feel just like the little boy who gave his loaves and fishes to Jesus.

  6. I checked out their website a bit. Can I just say that I REALLY HATE the “my friend” lingo that the old Bob Jones (CA 1970s) grads insist on using. It’s fake. It’s phony. Anyone with even the slightest inkling of what real friendship is would know that you don’t make someone your friend just by saying so. It’s like, “And the pastor said, let thou be my friend. And thou wast my friend.” Fake, phony, and fraudulent.

    Go read Plato on friendship and De Amicitia by Cicero and Aelred of Rievaulx and try again. 😕

  7. Agreed.

    Unfortunately, this is a ‘slippery-sloppy-slope’ statement, because to make such an observation, requires the advent of critical thinking skills, which are sadly, non-existent among the legalistic.

    But unless someone else has another option to suggest here or has access to an exclusive uber-spiritual lexicon, then the notion of someone opting to use the wording ‘revival’, to market {e.g. reach children and/or their parents} a specific function or event…, then the entire attempt to communicate, was a big swing & a miss.

    Children, especially those listed in the flyer here, between the specific age group permitted to attend, are experiencing pre-adolescence and/or their formative years.

    And with the excessively-rare exception of an overt, {both physically & mentally} blatantly-mature attendee not withstanding, then the children in this age group by definition, are in the process of forming & developing their beliefs, opinions & convictions, having absolutely nothing to do w renewal, reviving or reawakening {e.g. revival}.

    Granted, this may be a simple, yet poor use of semantics, but if that’s the case, then it would likely suggest that, someone less than qualified to teach children proper English, {their good-intention not withstanding}, would be in the ‘drivers-seat’, of both teaching & leading, some very impressionable children.

    re·viv·al (r-vvl)
    n.
    1.
    a. The act or an instance of reviving.
    b. The condition of being revived.
    2. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence.
    3. A new presentation of an old play, movie, opera, ballet, or similar vehicle.
    4.
    a. A time of reawakened interest in religion.
    b. A meeting or series of meetings for the purpose of reawakening religious faith, often characterized by impassioned preaching and public testimony.
    5. Law Renewal of validity or effect, as of a contract or judicial decision.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved

    [Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/revival%5D

  8. I remember listening to Mr. Bill & Mrs. Nancy on the radio when I was a kid. My wife and I were just discussing the other night how the whole child evangelism program is completely backwards from what you see in Acts. Adults were evangelized, then households were baptized. If the adults are converted, they will bring up the children in faith. Not the other way around.

        1. In all my years in the church, including VBS, 5-Day Clubs, bus ministries, door-to-door, etc- NOT ONE of those kids stayed. Maybe as late as middle school, but I never saw one stay past that. The friends from school who came to church with me? No one kept going past 8th or 9th grade.

          You really do have to get the parents first. Evangelizing a kid and hoping that they’ll bring the parents in? On the planet I live on, it doesn’t happen.

        2. I know a family in Fundystan who started coming because the kids were invited to church. The kids are now adults with kids of their own. I know one never “took” to church but the dad did and still attends. He is one of the faithful worker bees, without whom a lot of stuff wouldn’t have been done as well or as cheaply.

      1. My church used to use David C. Cook’s Bible-in-Life Sunday school series. Then I became Sunday school director and read the books. The introduction to every teacher’s manual, even the one for kindergarteners, included a page about watching the children for signs that they were ready to “become Christian,” inducing them to say a prayer, and prompting them to produce “signs of grace.” This in the so-called Anglican edition!

        Where is the Holy Spirit in all of this? And who the hell is David C. Cook to assume that children who are in Sunday school already aren’t Christian?

        1. Dear Jenny Islander:

          ‘…who the hell is David C. Cook to assume that children who are in Sunday school already aren’t Christian?’

          My point precisely. From the perspective of the covenant, children of believers already have a relationship with God. Yes, they need to mature, to claim and affirm God’s promises for themselves, and publicly profess faith in Jesus Christ. But as God’s promise to Abraham included Abraham’s children [Ge 17, etc.], so it is with us who are in Christ [Ga 3:29].

          One suspects that at Trinity, the children of believers are — with a few, discrete qualifications — little pagans.

          I’ll take the book of Galatians over David C. Cook any day. I suspect you would do the same.

          Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

      2. Tiarali, your and Brian’s statements made my blood run cold. Being encouraged to reach my (little) friends for Christ during the entirety of my childhood definitely blinded me to the mindset behind the proselytizing of children. 👿 As a parent, it definitely rubbed me the wrong way, but I couldn’t put my finger on the reason.

        You guys nailed. 🙁

    1. http://www.antworxstudios.com/tellastory/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Authority-the-chain-of-command.pdf

      😯 Well, if that isn’t a recipe for abuse. More of the “men are absolute leaders” authoritarian patriarchy crud. He actually says children don’t have to question if what their parents are asking them to do is from God, since God has already commanded children to obey their parents. So, Dad asks you to lie about your age to get a discount on your buffet price? Sure, God’s ok with that! 😉 Parents ask you to keep quiet about your brother’s bruises from his “spanking?” Yup, God’s cool with that, too, kids. Nothin’ to see here but godly discipline & Christ honoring obedience to the chain of command!

      Barf-tastic. 👿

        1. Because men can’t follow a recipe, bless their hearts. We wimmenfolk have to bake cookies for you, hay-men? 🙄

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