One of our favorite events of the year is Vacation Bible School. Churches across the United States attract crowds of children to their VBS programs each summer.
So why is it that KidZ at Heart does not put on Vacation Bible Schools around the world?
When we began dreaming about an international ministry to reach children for Jesus, one of our earliest contacts was the pastor of Riga Matthew Church, Pēteris Sproģis, in the capital city of Latvia. The ministry of Matthew Church was well-known across Eastern Europe and the leaders of many churches were looking to Pastor Sproģis and his large, growing ministry for answers on how to be the church of Eastern Europe.
When asked, “What does your church need help with?” Pastor Sproģis response was immediate: “Children’s ministry. We have no idea what to do!”
The need was clear, and the challenge cast. But Pastor Sproģis quickly followed this first statement with another, one that would prove to be even more formative for the young ministry soon to be called “KidZ at Heart International.”
Pastor Sproģis’ request: “Please tell your American friends not to send us even one more Vacation Bible School team. We don’t need to know what you can do for one week, we need to know what we can do for 52 weeks.”
And it was this pastors’ request, and many others like his, that infiltrated the DNA of this ministry. Still today, instead of taking American programs to kids around the world, KidZ at Heart equips people to reach and teach kids for Christ within their own culture.
KidZ at Heart avoids the unintended consequence of leaving church leaders and families without a way to continue the ministry. Instead, together, we equip people to reach the children of their communities themselves. And to continue doing so after our teams have gone home!