It’s Summertime: Beware of Evangelical Attempts to Evangelize Your Children

vbs

It is summertime, a time when school children spend their waking hours in leisure pursuits. I have many fond memories of the warm days of summer, three months of freedom from the rigors of the classroom. I spent countless hours at the swimming pool, riding bikes, playing baseball, going to Kings Island/Cedar Point, overnight camping, and aimless hanging out with friends. I suspect children today do many of the things I did half a century ago.

Evangelical churches know that they will have numerous opportunities over the summer months to — through coercive means — win boys, girls, and teenagers to Jesus. Church members are encouraged to scour their neighborhoods in search of children to invite to their church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS), Backyard Bible Club, or Day Camp. Non-Christian parents, unaware of the ulterior motive of Evangelicals, readily allow their children to attend programs that serve no other purpose than to turn children into Christians.

Evangelical churches are quite savvy when it comes to methods used to attract children to what can only be described as indoctrination camps/meetings. Years ago, Vacation Bible School was the main tool used by churches to evangelize neighborhood children. While many churches still use this method, other Evangelical churches use day camps to draw children to their lair. These camps are fun-filled weeks sure to thrill most children. Some of these camps focus on sports. Regardless of the theme or focus, the end game is always the same — evangelizing children and teenagers.

Most of the time at these events will be spent doing fun activities. Fun! Fun! Fun!, says advertising material. What’s never stated is that the fun is a means to an end — making sure every attendee has an opportunity to ask Jesus into their heart/get saved/become a Christian. Some churches even baptize youthful converts at special services at the end of the week.

Sadly, many non-Christian (and Christian) parents are way too trusting. If Evangelical neighbor Susie stops by to invite their children to VBS or day camp, many parents quickly say yes. After all, the events are being held at churches, parents think. What harm could possibly come from allowing my children to go? As those of us who follow closely the machinations and shenanigans of Evangelical churches know, churches are NOT safe havens for children and teenagers. I would never advise parents to send their children to churches unattended. The risk is too great, especially now that we know that sexual predators and child abusers are often fine, upstanding church members, pastors, deacons, youth group leaders, and Sunday school teachers. No parents in their right minds would allow their children to spend time with neighborhood registered sex offenders. Doing so would warrant a visit from child protective services. Yet, these very same parents don’t think twice about letting their children attend church activities that are magnets for predators. (Churches rarely do criminal background checks on summer program workers or the ministry teams that go from church to church holding camps/meetings.)

Evangelical churches should state very clearly their motives when inviting neighborhood children to VBS or day camps.  Imagine what the response would be if advertising material contained the following:

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL

We are Wonderful Baptist Church
666 Salvation St Defiance, Ohio 43512
419-956-Jesus

Come Join Us
June 13-17
6:00-9:00 P.M.

Lots of Fun and Games
Crafts and Snacks Too

And while your children are with us we plan to use coercive means to evangelize them. We plan to scare the hell out of your children, teaching them  that if they do not repent, they will spend eternity being tortured by God.

Disclaimer:
We plan to use workers who have not been thoroughly vetted. It’s too darn expensive to do a background check on everyone. Besides, we are Christians. Everyone knows Christians would never hurt children.

Something tells me that doing so would drastically reduce VBS/day camp attendance. Maybe not. Surely the fine folks down at First Baptist Church would never, ever do anything to harm children, right? People need to open their eyes and pay attention to the nefarious methods used by Evangelical churches (and some mainline churches) to evangelize and indoctrinate unchurched children. Just remember, it’s never just about  fun, food, and fellowship. The ultimate goal is always to win wicked, sinful children to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

In any other setting such methods would be roundly criticized and condemned. Churches, however, get a free pass because they are considered depositories of morality and ethics. Until people realize that churches do not warrant such trust, children will continue to be targeted for evangelization and indoctrination.

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10 Comments

  1. JR

    What strikes me as increasingly odd is that the way God has chosen to save people from an eternal hell is to have his missionaries hold cake sales, family activity days and kids holiday clubs.
    For something so important you would think he would lay on signs and wonders. Can you imagine Peter in acts doing face painting so as to get an oportunity to talk to Jerusalem families?

    Reply
  2. Pingback: About Vacation Bible School | Civil Commotion

  3. Suzanne

    It’s not just day camps and VBS either. In this area IFB runs a sleep away camp, a poorly-maintained facility with a scummy pool, dangerous equipment and untrained workers. Kids can earn a discount by memorizing a ton of Bible verses at the mobile Bible club that they visit twice a week DURING school just off the school grounds. You think you’re sending your kid away to a fun summer camp, and yeah, it is fun, but there’s a lot of IFB bs being poured into their heads.

    Reply
  4. Oldbroad1

    The hubster and I were hoodwinked once like this. There was a nearby IBF church (Harvest Baptist – now Coastal Shores Baptist) near the house. We were looking for a new daycare for our 3 yr old and 1 yr old and our neighbors highly recommended them. We had no exposure to this kind of Christianity before, so we were clueless in that regard.

    I will say we were pleased at first (they taught our 3 year old to read and the caregivers were great with them) until 2 things happened.

    (1) I get a phone call from the pastor saying he needed to talk to us about the 3 yr old. So, I go to meet him and when I walk into the office his wife, who was sitting on the edge of his desk, literally leaped off and said “oh, we weren’t doing anything!’ I’m thinking, WTF lady, you’re his wife…….. The pastor and his wife then went on to say that our 3 yr had been acting “willfull” and wouldn’t listen to them, meaning THEM (no complaints from the caregivers). Well, evidently, the pastor goes to each daycare class once a week and gives them a kid’s bible lesson. I’m thinking, that can’t be too bad, then pastor said my daughter won’t sit still for the lesson and they wanted my permission to “discipline” her. I said if that involved paddling, I’d yank her out and sic DSS on them so fast their heads would spin. They backed down real quick. Our 3 yr old was oblivious and loved going there so we decided to let this ride.

    (2) Then the last straw: During the summer they had a VBS. They didn’t tell us that the daycare kids would be involved in the church’s VBS and we only found out when the caregiver said we were invited to watch the little play/skit that evening. We were plenty pissed off at this point, but went to see the play. It was very cute and harmless until at the end the pastor told the kids to sit down behind him on the stage because he had a message for all of us there. The asshole then went on to rant the most hateful and scary “sermon”. The usual blather about getting right with JESUS or you will burn in the lake of fire for ALL eternity, we were living in the end times, etc, blah blah. Every kid was petrified and some were crying. Good god, we snatched our kids home and never went back.

    These people are abusive assholes and I cannot believe people left there kids there after that.

    Reply
    1. Brian

      Well Oldbroad1, if that was not a totally facetious last word, let me offer an option for you: People leave there children there to be properly harmed, to brought up in the way children should go, to have the shite scared out of them and have them abused. This is called Christian parenting.

      Reply
      1. Oldbroad1

        It’s called religious whack-doodle “Christian” abusive parenting, IMO and I agree with you. Being raised as a RC up in Jersey did not prepare me for this mindset in the bible thumping belt. The only crazies I had contact with were the Jehovah Witness’ that had a church near my childhood home. My Dad’s uncle was one of them and we avoided him like you avoid the drunk crazy uncle at Thanksgiving. We went to church but my dad insisted we go to public school and we weren’t overly religious. I truly didn’t understand what these people were about – I learned real fast tho.

        Reply
        1. Oldbroad1

          BTW, that church over the next few years built a huge building to house a Christian school K-12 and it grew quickly. Then one of the teachers was caught molesting teenage girls at the school and was arrested. Funny how the pastor and his wife suddenly got the call to preach the gospel to the heathen Ukrainians and left to go do that under the auspices of the Beacon of Hope world missions. Sick

          Reply
  5. Ami

    http://portlandtribune.com/go/42-news/309975-187832-summer-fun-school-set-for-hollydale-west-gresham-

    This was in our local paper this week.
    I love the whole ‘but we’re not pushing Christianity’ BS… of course they are!!!!

    Reply
  6. Tammy

    Important post, Bruce, we do tend to trust those supposedly godly people without a thought to the damage they may cause. And even outside the religious intimidation and indoctrination (which is a horror of its own), and the danger of exposure to possible sexual predators, on top of these there is also the general safety issue to consider.

    Case in point, I was once asked to substitute (last minute for the youth pastor’s pregnant wife) as a counselor at a church sleep away camp. It was during a heatwave and many of the activities were held in pavilions outdoors. After one outdoor evening sermon, I was alerted by a group of teens that their friend was very ill. I went to check on her and found her lying on a picnic table, alert but pale and clammy-skinned. I was immediately worried she was suffering from heat exhaustion, so I went to get her youth leader.* Upon telling her the situation, the youth leader shrugged and laughed telling me something about how she knew the girl and that the girl was just “under conviction”. I was stunned that she wouldn’t even check on the girl, let alone seek medical attention for her. Our church’s youth pastor helped me get the teen into an air-conditioned cabin where we applied cool compresses and had her sip water and rest. She, fortunately, recovered and went on to finish out the week with no problems. To the best of my knowledge, her parents were never informed of the incident. Little did they know their precious child was in the hands of untrained bozos like me.

    * I didn’t have access to a landline and cell phone signals didn’t go out to the remote area where the camp was located (gravel road in the middle of nowhere), or I would have called 911 immediately. I didn’t have first aid training; if any other adult at the camp did, I was unaware of who they were.

    There are plenty of secular camps and activities for parents to allow their children/teens to enjoy in the summer where:
    – they won’t be intimidated/indoctrinated
    – background checks are run on workers and volunteers to help stave off would be predators
    – and where people are trained in first aid in case of safety issues (like heat exhaustion)
    Try checking your local police department, library, schools, parks and so on for information. Check out any program, secular or religious, completely. And if that offends them, don’t let your child attend.

    Reply
  7. E Welt

    I was a kid that lived for being out and about during my summer vacations! By the fifth grade, I liked the idea of making a little of my own money. When an opportunity to cut lawn’s arose through the community center, which was connected to a church, I jumped at the opportunity. On the day the church were doing “interviews” for lawn care kids there were two other kids I recognized from the neighborhood present. We were all hired. A couple weeks into performing the work I realized the pastor was collecting the money from the home owners and doling out anywhere from $3-$5 for the day’s work to each of us, which sometimes included up to five or six lawns. We all worked so hard that The church was only able to offer us two or three days a week of work, the lawns just didn’t grow fast enough to keep us busy full-time.
    One day, into the 2nd yard mowing of the day, the Pastor showed up and said this will be the last yard today we are mowing, and that we were needed back at the church. I thought this was going to be then landscape work performed on the church grounds. We were not that lucky. We returned to the church to see a woman holding her purse at the door telling the pastor” this is the last time”. The three of us walked into the church to see 5 toddler aged kids sitting around a short table. We were basically told this was our job for the rest of the day. The pastor left very soon thereafter latching the door after himself. That was around 11am on a very hot summer day. He returned very near 5pm when very soon thereafter a parent arrived, paying him some money and thanking him. We received no money, no thanks, nothing.
    This was an early lesson that taught me if you go with the flow and give someone the opportunity to take advantage of you, they will.

    Reply

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