Morgantown pastor’s research develops VBS strategy

Morgantown—A Kentucky Baptist pastor is using newly “unearthed” information on vacation Bible schools through his doctoral research and the Southern Baptist Archives to encourage churches to disciple children.

Roger Taylor, pastor of Aberdeen Baptist Church in Morgantown and recent doctoral graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, researched the early years of VBS for his doctoral project.

“I believe, first of all, that I shed light on the subject of intentional follow-up, and I have devised a strategy that churches could go by to assist them in doing a better job,” Taylor said.

He uses the acronym “CONNECT” to illustrate his strategy:
Connect with children and families.
Offer service opportunities.
Navigate assimilation and involvement with new members.
Nurture relationships through records management.
Execute a strategy.
Communicate the strategy for follow-up and care.
Take the church’s outreach strategy to a new level.

Using the acronym, Taylor developed a pamphlet for distribution to assist churches in a VBS follow-up strategy.

Taylor’s inspiration for the project was the growth of Aberdeen Baptist Church’s VBS program from 37 attendees in 1996 to nearly 300 now and a Baptist think tank’s need for research on intentional follow-up.

“That’s the hardest thing I do with Bible school is to be able to follow-up,” Taylor said.

“That’s what led me to Bible school,” he added. “With it being through Southern Baptist means, I was close enough to the Baptist archives in Nashville to start this research.”

Taylor built off the research of Homer Grice, described by Taylor as the “go-to man for vacation Bible school in the Southern Baptist Convention.” The work was compiled by Bill Sumners, director of the archives. With this material, he constructed an “intentional VBS follow-up strategy.”

“I found the real history of VBS. They were always there to help assist me in coming up with the research that I needed to unearth this,” Taylor said.

Consequently, he personally presented his dissertation to the Southern Baptist Archives.

In addition to his research being given to Midwestern Seminary, he also presented copies to Southern Seminary and Criswell College, from which he is a graduate. (WR)