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Church of Christ VBS ad makes Jay Leno’s ‘Headlines’

Jay Leno

Last week’s Vacation Bible School at the Poncha Springs Church of Christ in Colorado has hit “the big time,” as Randy Roper, family minister at the Edmond Church of Christ in Oklahoma, described it.
On the “Headlines” segment of NBC’s “Tonight Show,” host Jay Leno held up a newspaper advertisement for Poncha Springs’ VBS, which featured the theme “Heroes of the Bible.” The ad includes a drawing of a superhero.
“I know there are many heroes of the Bible. I don’t remember Superman being one of them,” Leno jokes in the video posted below. “I guess you want to get the kids into it.”
My 17-year-old son, Brady, was among 43 teens and adult sponsors from our home congregation, the Edmond church, who traveled to Poncha Springs to lead last week’s VBS. Five teens from the Poncha Springs area were baptized during the week.

  • Feedback
    Leno is right, though.
    If we are using such worldly things to get children involved in church, how are we relying on God? How are we having Faith that indeed His Word is enough? It sickens me to see such worldly compromise going on. I pray that those who were baptized were moved more by God than flashy signs and slick arts and crafts sessions with little teaching.
    Joseph A Nagy Jr
    July, 27 2010

    Joseph, Leno was making a joke.
    The superheroes discussed each day of the VBS were Esther, Noah, David and Jesus.
    Did you actually watch the video? The “slick art” you referenced was a stick figure that Leno thought looked like Superman.
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    July, 27 2010

    Hello Bobby, Pretty funny stuff
    I Can’t get the video to run off your website, but I have to say that I am aware that a newspaper ad was publisised in the local Mountain news in which it stated something like “Come and hear about the Hero’s of the Bible”… Each of the 4 days were dedicated to a different character… Esther, Noah, David, Jesus was last. Seems as though I recall that there may have been some liberties taken with Artwork by the paper in which the advertisement made a word play on “HERO’s” directed at kids… I don’t see the harm, but then again.. I don’t here an outcry against the Veggie Tales series either. Kids enjoy watching a cucumber talking about the story of David and Goliath, or any of the other hundreds of stories in the veggie tale series…sort of like the made-up superhero in the newspaper might narrate the story of Moses.. The point of the story gets accross to the 5 year old just as effectively. Of course the readers of this article should know that the actual “Biblical” story of Esther, Noah, David and Jesus were taught each day in the Bible Class by the teenagers to the children that attended. It should also be mentioned that the five High School students who were baptised were taught in an actual Bible Study Group (not by caped crusaders)and their faith is being developed further by the local congregation. God Bless
    David King
    July, 27 2010

    PS… I’ve even dressed up as a FIREMAN for the Childrens Bible Hour a couple of times to illustrate how “the tongue can be a raging fire” or how important it is to “don’t let your light (candle) go out”… Hope Jay Leno doesn’t get any pics of that… who knows what that guy might come up with… ha ha
    Good Article.. See Ya!!
    July, 27 2010

    If by such worldly things you mean using a picture of Superman to go with our theme, which was Heroes of the Bible, then just know that it’s hard to find a ClipArt picture of David with a slingshot or Noah leading animals onto the ark. And it would be even harder for a kid who has never gone to church or picked up a bible before to recognize that and realize that they were a hero. I was there. I taught third and fourth graders. We didn’t go to Poncha Springs to reach out to kids who had grown up in the church and already had a solid faith. We went to reach out to kids who didn’t go to church and didn’t know who Jesus was.
    We baptized five teenagers last week. Thomas, Selena, Nigel, Haley, and Brittany. All five of them said they believed that Jesus Christ was the son of God. All five of them would come to our devotionals at night. A couple of them went with us to do service projects, and three of them want to start the youth group at the Poncha Springs Church of Christ. The two others go to church with their parents. All five of these kids were in our teen class at VBS, which we had outside on a tarp, and there were no flashy signs or slick arts and crafts session. They had an auditorium sign which was just an orange posterboard that said “Club Teen” and had the names of all the teen class teachers on it, and that was about it.
    Brady Ross
    July, 27 2010

    Good publicity for the church! This was cute and funny. Thanks for sharing it! We’ve got to be able to laugh at ourselves!
    July, 27 2010

    This VBS was a great work for the Lord. We’ve used all sorts of illustrations, costumes and themes to get children to come and study the Bible. If it takes Superman (and it seems it really wasn’t) then let’s use Superman. As long as these things that children identify with are not immoral or ungodly in some way, let’s use them and let God use us in trying to win children and adults to the Lord. God bless these teenager and their adult sponsors. And to get mentioned on a national TV show is fabulous. Just keep up the great work and let God be glorified!
    James Haney
    July, 27 2010

    Heroes of the Bible sounds like Hebrews 11 to me!!
    Even when we use Bible Class curriculum published by brethren we are to make sure it is scriptural and not just take the publisher’s word for it. (We are all human) I still pick and choose to this day what I teach the children in my classes by searching the scriptures as the Bereans did.
    We have so much to compete with these days. We need flashy, memorable things to get our kids’ attention. If we don’t the media, and everyone else will see to it they get our kids’ attention and it won’t be biblical.
    Melody Huffman
    July, 27 2010

    Brother Brady, you guys did a great job. … Your fruit is a glowing testimony to God’s work through your efforts. Keep spreading the Word!
    John Dobbs
    July, 27 2010

    It was obvious it was Superman, but how is this any different than using Greek gods, and the altar to the “unknown god” that Paul used to reach the intellectuals of the time? All things to all people to WIN AS MANY AS POSSIBLE to Christ.
    Good job VBS’ers and blessings to those precious 5 – my new brothers and sisters!!!
    July, 27 2010

    Q: If we are using such worldly things to get children involved in church, how are we relying on God?
    A: This is a thoughtful question. We are applying the pattern Christ applied. You might be familiar with the term “parable”. It is from Greek parabol: juxtaposition, comparison, parable, superposition…
    …usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle.
    Christ drew these form situations, charters, and objects that would be familiar to those he taught.
    We rely on God to give us inspiration to plant the seed in those he puts in our path. We rely on God to provide the water and the nourishment to germinate that seed. We rely on God to reap the harvest.
    Charlie Buchanan
    July, 27 2010

    I happened to see that segment on Jay Leno and thought it was very funny. Some good, positive publicity, too!
    Jennifer mentioned the very scriptures I was reading this morning (1 Cor. 9:22,23) about finding common ground (NLT wording) – or in the words we are familiar with, on how to “become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some”.
    VBS is for kids, so we speak the language of kids at VBS. (Yes, I am a VBS coordinator.) These precious kids, teens, and their families are worth every minute of our effort.
    Keep up the good work and keep on VBS-ing!
    Norma Cook
    July, 27 2010

    Oh please! This is NO huge deal, kids like Superman and he’s a better role model than a lot in cartoons now. Some people need to be less legalistic, less rigid and need much more to do in life.
    July, 27 2010

    Brother Brady, it’s great to hear about the good work of a brother who is about his fathers bussiness. Well done!
    James Milstead
    July, 27 2010

    “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” I Cor. 9:22
    Well done! If Superman brings kids to Christ, then use Superman! If it is cookies and punch, use cookies and punch. If it is subsuming our own opinions and preferences for the good and growth of the church, then by all means let’s do it.
    July, 27 2010

    Way to Go! Great publicity for the church.
    July, 27 2010

    I am glad Jay Leno had enough spiritual thoughts to show the ad on his show….everyone will take it in a different way and each is entitled to their own opinion…
    We are using this same “Heroes of the Bible” this week in our VBS…. we take one bible character each day and have the story, craft and game geared to that character….the kids love it and ask and answer the questions very well….they listen and are excited…
    My hat off to all Bible teachers whether in VBS, bible classes, mission field, etc….
    May our Lord bless each endeavor to teach the bible in this world of turmoil and worldly materialism…
    July, 27 2010

    Nice. and Leno was funny too. My perception has long been that people in the churches of Christ worry about trivia while the main mission is left undone. Supposing it was sinful to use Superman in a VBS ad; which sin is worse, using Superman in a VBS ad, or not evangelizing? So it is great to occasionally read about people in the COC who are bucking the trend and getting The Work done.
    July, 30 2010

    Jesus said that we must meet people where they are in their walk. The saints were trying to be encouraging, effective and well receieved by the masses. They did just that! They were not going against the word so “what’s the problem”? They’re trying to win souls by being creative but biblical,… what are the “naysayers” doing? (Complaining) I give kuddos to anyone who has the courage to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in love, God bless.
    Theo Laws
    August, 15 2010

    Nobody would ever say that I am a “liberal” in any part of my life. This story was FANTASTIC, and brought a positive comment about the Lords church from a popular national figure.
    He laughed about the similarity to the line drawing to that of “Superman”, and then said exactly what we need to realize – “Want to get the kids into it more”.
    In my 30+ years as a Christian, I have seen many differant “worldly” things to get the local kids AND THEIR PARENTS interested in coming to VBS. If they would have come in without some kind of “lure” or “worldly tag”, nobody would use those things.
    One of the comments I read is accurate – these “fake” superheroes are a better example to most kids than most of the people they see or read about every day. Especially than that of most of the new movies and video games they spend their time on, not to mention our politicians!
    Way to go on the VBS, and getting some national publicity for our Lords servants.
    Paul Johnson
    August, 26 2010

    Wow, what a common topic these days, but really an on going topic for quite a while. I find myself up in arms over where to draw a line with what our children see, hear, watch, participate in, and use for entertainment. Personally I have taken a stand that anything worldly that my kids want to be a part of has to be discussed. I explain how things are made up, or derived from stories that could be from ancient times.
    The emphasis is on the fact that nothing should come before GOD, and no person should idealize anything of this world. However, to think that our children will not see, hear, watch, play with, or be a part of things separate from GOD would make an assumption that our children do not live in this world. Living in this world is not an option, and with holding common, cultural material from children may make things worse for you and them, and possibly their relationship with GOD.
    If someone is going to draw the line for Christians to separate themselves from all things that are make believe, not of GOD, and of this world please explain how you would go about this.
    Shelby Holcomb
    November, 12 2010

    I do think that we have to be careful about the use of gimmicks to lure people into the church, for whatever reason (be it VBS or worship). People who are just looking for entertainment or snacks or socializing MIGHT eventually become more interested in learning about, serving, and worshipping GOD, but I wouldn’t count on it. It’s really got to be all about God, or we’re just more into serving ourselves.
    July, 5 2012

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