We recently finished a week of Vacation Bible School at Eden. If you have ever helped out with a VBS before, you know the drill. You hand out flyers in the surrounding neighborhood, decorate the church building, and distribute prizes ordered from the Oriental Trading Company—all while acting crazy. Then, when it is all over, you take a long nap because, for whatever reason, VBS is exhausting.
So, is VBS worth the time, the money, and the effort? Is it worth sitting in a room crowded with any number of sweaty kids? Yes, it is worth it all. Here are a few reasons:
VBS can be a means of developing relationships in your community.
Those hours spent canvassing, usually on a humid day in late July, are actually meaningful. Whether your flyers go out in a mailer, as an ad in the paper, or by your own hands, those flyers are reaching the homes of people. Likely, these people live in close proximity to your church, so they know that it exists. But they might not know much more about it than that. Even if your church has been in the same location for decades, neighborhoods change and old neighbors are replaced by new people who know nothing about your church. These flyers are telling your community that they, and their children, can enter your church building. More significantly, these flyers indicate that when they enter your building, they will be welcomed.
VBS can be a means of sharing the gospel with children.
Most VBS programs attract a mix of churched and unchurched children, and both groups need to hear the gospel. Without a doubt, there are churches that misuse this platform to get a conversion count at the end of the week, to get kids to make some sort of monumental decision, or, on the other end of the spectrum, simply to entertain children.
However, VBS can be a platform for sharing the gospel through lesson times, songs, and personal conversations. In these times a gospel seed is planted. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t hearing of numerous children come to Christ during a VBS. Be encouraged that the gospel seed has been planted for some and being watered for all.
VBS can be a means of sharing the gospel with parents.
Our church has a closing program, which involves a play performed by the children, along with song and verse presentations from each age group. At the end of the presentation, the gospel is explained clearly and simply. It is not a long message, but it is a message of hope and salvation. Following this gospel presentation, parents and children intermingle while enjoying refreshments and conversation.
VBS can be a means of loving parents by loving their children.
A friend once told me that some of the most meaningful acts of love he has received are those done for his children. He explained to me that when someone loves your child, they are really loving you, whether they realize it or not. He would often talk about the love and joy he would feel when people took time to invest in his children. In the same way, a church can love the parents of the children attending VBS simply by investing in their children’s lives.
VBS can be a means of teaching children to enjoy.
During the summer, many kids spend the majority of their time being nannied by the television while their parents are busy with their daytime responsibilities. Often, children turn to the television, gaming system, or cell phone to find joy. These things are not necessarily bad, but they steal from the enjoyment that children can find by participating in games with their peers or by making new friendships with children their age.
In our era, the innocence of a child is lost quickly. VBS can be a time where some of that innocence is regained. When children see adults and teenagers having fun that it qualitatively different than the fun that they observe on a regular basis, they are learning to enjoy more rightly.
VBS can be a means of cultivating a healthy church body.
During VBS, a group of church members comes together each night for a week where they work together, solve problems together, laugh together, and dress up in ridiculous clothes and costumes that would embarrass them anywhere else. When people serve together like this they are forming bonds of friendship that will last.Not only does VBS serve to strengthen the relationships of church members, it also provides an opportunity for people to learn to skills and abilities through service. Whether it is learning to teach, acting in a skit, or leading singing, VBS provides ample opportunity to experiment with different skill sets, to develop
Not only does VBS serve to strengthen the relationships of church members, it also provides an opportunity for people to learn to skills and abilities through service. Whether it is learning to teach, acting in a skit, or leading singing, VBS provides ample opportunity to experiment with different skill sets, to develop ability, or to try something new in a low-pressure environment.
So, is it worth it?
Yes. Absolutely. For these reasons, and much more, VBS is worth all of the time, money, and energy. Ultimately, VBS is worth it because it can be leveraged as a means of strategically building relationships in the community and in the church with the goal of pointing people to Christ and making God’s name known.