When Ed Young was growing up in small-town Mississippi, a boy far more interested in baseball than the state of his immortal soul, his mother asked him to attend Vacation Bible School. He put her off until a friend of his passed along a secret: all the students were going to make shoeshine boxes.
On that basis alone, Mr. Young spent the summer of 1947 at First Baptist Church in Laurel, Miss. He indeed made the shoeshine box. And he also learned the basics of Christianity from the pastor’s wife. During the Bible school’s commencement ceremony, he stepped forward to be baptized.
Exactly 65 summers later, the Rev. Ed Young has reapplied the principle of evangelical enticement as the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, a megachurch of five campuses and 58,000 members. He has overseen the creation of Vacation Bible School for the 21st century ”” an over-the-top amalgam of Christian rock, humorous skits, Broadway-style musicals and, lest we forget, strobe lights and fog machines.