There is nothing more Southern Baptist than Vacation Bible School!
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What images pop into your head when you hear the words Vacation Bible School? Do you have fond memories, or are you wondering what is VBS? VBS stands for Vacation Bible School, and it is a summer church outreach focused on giving kids a fun and creative place to learn about the Bible and to build relationships with churches and other kids in the area.
If VBS has been a great experience for you as a child or adult (or both!), you are probably smiling. Some may think of VBS as “old school” or not an event for your style of ministry. You might think VBS is OK, but you feel pressure because you need an event that sets your church apart from others in your area.
What Is the Purpose of VBS?
Many people may wonder what the purpose of Vacation Bible School is and if it’s still relevant. The answer is actually very simple: the purpose of VBS is to minister children in the church, create outreach to the surrounding communities, and to create evangelism opportunities. This purpose is supported by a creative theme of Bible study, activities, worship, and even time for some tasty snacks.
If you are not sure VBS is for you, here are a few things to consider.
1. VBS is a dependable ongoing ministry.
For 95 years, LifeWay has provided trusted VBS resources to churches, reaching more than 25,000 churches and 3 million people annually.
VBS can be a short-term event with long-term results.
With a typical five-day time frame, VBS offers a chance to pull out all the stops and create an unforgettable experience. Research shows connections made during VBS result in salvations , discovery of church prospects and potential workers for other ongoing children’s programs. Also, it is not uncommon for a leader to volunteer to help for “just one week of VBS,” and feel God’s tug on his or her heart to work with kids permanently.
2. VBS creates lasting memories.
VBS is a special event that creates memories that help lock Bible truths in a child’s heart and mind for a lifetime. Birthday parties and other special events have themes that use creativity to evoke feelings of excitement. Games, food, decorations and fun all link together in a total package. VBS does the same thing. When we connect with kids through this ministry, the biblical truths that permeate all aspects of VBS also connect with their hearts and minds.
3. VBS is an opportunity to share the gospel.
VBS is an intentional evangelistic opportunity.
The biblical content built into the curriculum lays foundational truths that help kids understand who Jesus is and why they need a personal Savior. The relationships you develop with kids and their families can provide many opportunities to not only show the love of Jesus, but to share the truth of the gospel.
4. VBS is an event that you can customize.
VBS is what you make it.
Whether you provide an on-campus experience that encourages your church kids to bring their friends or an off-campus, community-centered Backyard Kids Club, the purpose of sharing the good news about Jesus is the same. Some churches are finding that it’s worth the effort to do both. After a great on-campus experience, you can take those resources to backyards and community rooms, or on mission trips.
VBS is the resource. The name you choose can be your own! You can call it VBS, Kids’ Week, Fun Zone or any event name of your choice. Kids will come to love and talk about the events that excite them, engage them, and help them know that God and the people at your church really care about them.
VBS is an opportunity to ignite the imagination of your church, involve volunteers for a specific “doable” commitment and connect with the kids in your church and community. The methods you use will create memories. The message you share will change lives.
Rhonda VanCleave is a publishing team leader at LifeWay Christian Resources. She leads children’s church at Rock Springs Baptist Church, Columbia, Tennessee where her husband is pastor. Reprinted from: https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/vbs-right-for-your-church-kids-ministry