Is VBS Really All It Could Be?
VBS is a wonderful opportunity to reach children who don’t usually come to church. We understand that if we reach these children, we potentially reach their families. Because of this, we spend lots of time and money every year in preparation for this week. We recruit volunteers, decorate rooms, then plan and practice. The big day finally comes. Parents flock to church, drop off their children, and away they go.
Many of these parents treat VBS as free babysitting for a week so they can get a break from their kids who aren’t in school over the summer. Some of these parents do what we call VBS hopping in order to get more than one free week of babysitting.
That’s why I ask the question, is VBS really all it could be?
Many times, in order to reach these families (with the free babysitting mindset), we aim for these children to have a ton of fun and learn a lot of good things about Jesus. By the end of the week we invite them to begin a relationship with Him. We hope the parents will see such a change in their kids, they may want to attend our church where we can disciple the entire family.
In order to answer my question however, we have to decide if that’s really what we are going for.
Do we want children to meet Jesus at the end of the week, then wait to see what happens with their parents?
Have we set these children up for a sustainable relationship with Jesus (regardless of what their parents decide)?
In our VBS packages we have asked these questions and have chosen a different approach.
We want our children to meet Jesus by no later than day two. By the end of the week we want them doing some of the things Jesus said would follow those who believe, such as hearing His voice and healing the sick. In other words, we want them equipped to lead other people to Jesus by demonstrating His love for them.
In one package, we also teach them what the Bible is, how we got it, as well as several interpretation skills (which the majority of adult believers don’t know). This helps them discover their deep love for the Bible (1 Peter 2:2), and it helps keep them from being overwhelmed by the Bible.
One children’s pastor who taught one of our VBS programs last year said this: “Our Senior Pastor, a wonderful man who has been in ministry for over four decades, remarked that he has never seen a VBS like this and added that it was what he had always imagined a VBS could be.”
So to answer my original question, Is VBS really all it could be? I believe it is.
The answer is yes! Not only our VBS packages, I believe all VBS’s are all they can be. VBS is incredible, no matter what the goal is. Any VBS that leads a child to Jesus has accomplished something of eternal significance.
Knowing this, as you plan your VBS this year, I would like you to ask yourself one final question: What is my actual goal for this year’s VBS?