VBS brings out the best in FBC Richmond children's minister

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RICHMOND, Ky. (KT) – Rachel Cobb’s DNA probably has a lot of VBS.


Cobb, the children’s ministry director at First Baptist Richmond and the director of the church’s Vacation Bible School, even says, “I tell people that Vacation Bible School is in my bloodstream.”


When some church members hear VBS, they get cold chills.


When Cobb hears it, she gets goosebumps.


More than 300 children are at FBC Richmond's VBS.
More than 300 children are at FBC Richmond's VBS.

“I would do Vacation Bible School every other week all year long if we had the funds and the staff to do it,” she said. “Vacation Bible School is so intentional. In many churches, it’s the only time during the year the entire church is involved in an evangelistic ministry geared to kids and families.”


Like other churches, FBC Richmond is enjoying a return to in-person VBS after hosting it virtually last summer. They aren’t requiring masks but are doing extra cleaning, washing hands and spreading out a little more than usual.


There’s already a big difference in what has happened.


Nine children made professions of faith after talking with counselors on Sunday night, and after an evangelistic message from Pastor Travis Farris on Tuesday, 70 children asked to have a gospel conversation with a counselor.


“That was like ‘Wow! What is God doing here?’’’ Farris said.


The church has been on a spiritual roll itself since Farris became the pastor eight months ago. They have had baptisms eight of the last 12 weeks, and that’s not counting the nine that came forward Sunday who will be baptized in the coming weeks.


Farris gives the credit for a successful VBS this week to Cobb’s organizational skills and the dozens of volunteers who have stepped up to work.


“This takes the whole charge and that’s what draws me to VBS more than anything,” Cobb said. “It’s the unification of what happens around the church. Some can donate money, some are prayer warriors, some can get on the floor with the kids. There are so many things and it takes everybody. When everything comes together, it happens well.

“The icing on the cake is the kids coming in and being excited, seeing their friends, bringing friends and those parent contacts.”


FBC Richmond’s VBS has 325 kids registered and an average of around 300 attending each night. Last year during the virtual VBS they had around 200, Cobb said.


“We didn’t know what kind of numbers to expect,” she said. “We’re thrilled with these numbers.”


Cobb said they certainly talk about the gospel every night but don’t have a gospel invitation. Instead, they ask the kids if they want to know more about what it means to follow Jesus. If a child raises his hand, they reach out to parents through texts and emails with these options:

  1. If the parents would rather talk to the child at home.

  2. Please talk to our child one-on-one with a counselor.

  3. Make an appointment to talk about what it means for my family to follow Jesus.

“We already have a lot with all three and we’ll follow-up with those kids even after VBS next week,” Cobb said.


Cobb was as excited about what might happen Thursday and Friday as she was during the kickoff celebration Sunday that included a performance from Christian illusionist Matt Adams.


Cobb and the church are committed to VBS because it is the perfect way to evangelize children and often the parents, too. She received a text from a father that brought a broad smile to her face.


“A dad texted me and said, ‘Thank you so much for what you’re doing. It’s exactly the foundation I want to be speaking to my kids every day,’’’ he said. “When I get a text like that, it lights my fire.”


When it comes to VBS, Cobb's fire seems to be perpetually lit.


“She’s phenomenal,” her pastor said.

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