Bible studies sprout in backyards

Published 4:12 pm Thursday, July 31, 2008

Twenty dripping wet kids climb onto the trampoline in Robin Manning’s backyard ready to hear a lesson from God’s word.

On the surprisingly breezy and cool summer morning, this group is one of many in backyards across the Birmingham area laughing and learning together through Rock the Block.

The event is the Church at Brook Hills’ twist on Vacation Bible School.

“It’s been amazing what God is doing by bringing everyone in the neighborhood together,” Manning said. “What’s even more wonderful is that the younger kids hear the teenagers’ testimonies.”

Almost 75 groups began meeting July 28 in backyards from Calera to Avondale. Babs Whaley opened her home in Highland Lakes up to a dozen hyper-active kids.

“They are not just here playing … the kids are here on my porch studying the Bible,” Whaley said. “It shows the kids that, ‘Hey, there is someone in my neighborhood that I can talk to Jesus about.'”

These particular kids learned about Jesus by designing salvation bracelets. Each bead on the bracelet represented something: black for the sin that people commit and red for Christ’s blood that covers the sin. Each kid placed the beads on their bracelet and listened to scriptures from John and Romans.

“This gives them the chance to get one-on-one attention,” said Children’s Minister Kymberly Bankston. “That’s something we weren’t able to give with 1000 kids at VBS last year.”

Bankston said the hope is that the teachers and host families can make relationships with kids and their parents who might not otherwise step foot in a church. At a closing carnival event Friday night, the kids and their families will be invited to join the congregation in worship throughout the week at the church and in other home studies.

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