Hope United Methodist Church, where I pastor, just finished a four day Vacation Bible School last night. We had a great time! There is a lot of planning and work that goes into VBS. Ask any director/co-director and they will tell you how much time and prayer that goes into the week. Inevitably, there comes a point in the planning (usually the week, or day before the start date) where the stress builds and you are led to wonder “Is all this work and preparation really necessary for VBS?” Of course, in my experience, those feelings quickly go away once VBS starts and the music begins to play and you can see the joy on the children’s faces as they worship God.
Here is why I love VBS:
1. The Memories: I grew up in the church, and as a kid, my parents took us to several VBS programs at area churches. I remember playing kickball for recreation at North Salem United Methodist Church and VBS in the basement of Hadley Presbyterian Church. (By the way, I went back to Hadley Presbyterian Church this past year for my grandfather’s funeral, the children’s classroom looked exactly the same as it did 28 years ago! Even the same crayon bins!) I don’t remember very many themes or songs- but I remember caring people who showed me that God loved me and that Jesus can change my life!
2. The Kids: I’m a former youth pastor- and I love being with kids of all ages. I love seeing them have fun. And most of all, I love seeing them worship God! Our children are such a valuable resource, and we need to treat them as the treasures and masterpieces they are (Trust me, we’ve had a few pieces of work at VBS!). Our mission or task as a church is to make disciples. What better time to do that than childhood? Children can begin developing practices and habits of disciples at an early age- and it is our responsibility to train them!
3. The Adults: We had incredible adult leadership this year. As I walked around each station, there were several times when I thought about how talented and gifted our adults are. It is exciting to see adult serving where their passion is! It truly makes a difference. I’m sure that our leaders are tired after the week, but as we look back, there were seeds planted at VBS that will need to be cultivated and cared for- and that over time will grow and bloom into something truly beautiful. Our adults, whether they were taking pictures, handling registration, serving snack, or leading a station was planting the seeds of God’s love every time we loved on a kid.
A lot of time and resources go into a week of Bible School. As a pastor, I think VBS is worth every penny and hour spend because of the seeds of faith that we plant. When a child is baptized in our churches, the congregation makes a vow or covenant with the family of the baptized child that as a church, we will provide everything possible to ensure that the child is raised to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is a high and Holy calling for every church and every Christian who has made that covenant to fulfill.
What is your favorite Bible School memory or story? Did your VBS use puppets- did you love them or were you terrified of them?