VBS is no vacation — but worth it
From our childhood — when we heavily anticipated screaming the “Booster, Booster” song at the top of our lungs — to becoming teachers and wishing the child sitting next to us wouldn’t, VBS has become a part of our history and a staple in churches across the country and even around the world.
Our local theme this year centered on teaching the parables, and none could be closer to capturing the essence of VBS than the parable of the sower.
Sowing the seed in the hearts of children is not only a privilege but also a great responsibility and one not taken lightly by the VBS team.
Children: While the world presents numerous struggles and adult-sized problems, these few days provide a safe haven for children to pile into Suburbans, minivans and buses and make the journey to the local church building. There they will be greeted by people who truly care for them and have taken time out of their hectic schedules to prepare lessons from God’s word.
Those teaching are fully aware that the name is misleading — there is no vacation involved. Teaching the Bible to happy, over-excited kids is no small feat, but getting the opportunity to watch a child who has never sat in a Bible class answer questions about the lesson by the end of the day or a child who has never heard the song “Jesus Loves Me” sing it by week’s end is worth every ounce of spilled Kool-Aid and cookie crumb-covered floors.
When statistics show that some of our young people are leaving the church, there is no reason why a congregation can’t come together for a few days to focus its time and energy completely on youth. What an enjoyable and significant way to prove to them how interested we are in their spiritual growth.
Community: VBS also offers the possibility of establishing relationships with parents. It opens avenues of communication, displays servanthood and invites them into our building, giving them a chance to meet local Christians. Whether it’s a sign at the local grocery store, a sign in front of the church building or television or radio spots, advertisements are noticed and many parents will take advantage of the offer, granting us an occasion to show their children Jesus.
Creativity: Many church members happily break out of their comfort zones by donning hand puppets and Bible costumes all for the amusement of children and the glory of God, knowing that acting silly for one week out of the year can work wonders for helping kids learn the Bible.
The creativity involved is astonishing. Whether it is colossal sets being built within the auditorium, games that rival primetime television, in-depth skits or simple-yet-relevant crafts, God’s people are a clever bunch and there is no better time to showcase that talent than at VBS. Nevertheless, we must be cautious not to allow ourselves to get so caught up in the entertainment aspect that we forget the main objective is evangelism.
Christ: There are naysayers who question the effectiveness of VBS, but for those of us who have seen hearts being touched and eyes being opened, we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it is still an excellent tool in teaching Jesus. And whether we’re teaching a child’s Bible class, offering adult classes for their parents, or using this week to hold a gospel meeting, taking Christ to the people is what VBS is all about.
Seriously, isn’t that what life is all about?
Support your VBS. You may have more fun than the kids!
PAULA HARRINGTON is a regular columnist for Forthright.net. She and her family worship with the Calvert City, Ky., church. She can be reached at [email protected].
FeedbackKeep up the great work. I designed my 1’st VBS in 1980, Soldiers of the Light. In 93,Whisper A Prayer & 94, The Savior, The Sea & Me I did all the classes, also. It’s great to know others design their own. Your work is in my prayers! WOW!Vickie KarnesGravel Hill & also Pleasant Grove & HectorDover, AR
72837July, 6 2010Thank you for focusing on VBS. Yes, “sowing the seed in small children” is a great ministry that each congregation must not neglect.
Here at Central Church of Christ we are are currently engaged in teaching children in two thickly populated areas and look forward to starting two congregations because we reach the parents thru their children. It is good to see children and parents eventually in church.
We are in need of teaching materials, even used ones.Felix R. GarlitosCentral Church of ChristQuezon City, Metro Manila
PhilippinesJuly, 20 2009Love this article! Good to know that VBS is still as important to other churches as it is ours. I have been a member of the Blanchard Church of Christ all of my life..31 years and VBS is still going strong. We have a great group of Christians that all know the importance of sowing the seed in small children.Brook HaysBlanchard Church Of ChristBlanchard, Oklahoma
United StatesJuly, 20 2009Loved the article on the importance of VBS. Our VBS has grown to 527 registered (400 last year) We offer our VBS free (i think this is what VBS should be if the church can afford to do it) and do our own curriculum and props. This year was on the book of Acts and our theme: RAdical Reactions: explosive acts of faith! We used a Mad Scientist theme for our a.m. get togethers and skits and the kids LOVED IT! I also love and believe in doing things outside the box as Shannon Rains (know her and love her!) has done. If VBS isn’t working for you — do something else but do something!
I am so lucky, my job is helping others introduce Jesus to kids!Cindi CervasWest Houston church of ChristHouston, Texas
USAJuly, 20 2009