VBS is kind of like giving birth.
For months, the average churchgoer doesn’t even realize there’s a VBS coming.
It’s not until you’re just a few days from the due date that anyone offers you help in any way whatsoever.
Actually giving birth to a VBS takes way longer than you remember. You start on a Saturday but it’s never over until Sunday or even Monday!
Somewhere in this process, you swear that this is the last one. 19 is enough!
But then you actually see them – the smiling little faces laughing and learning. It all seems worth it in that moment.
Then, just a few days later, it’s time to go home… and the clean-up begins. Noooo!!! How could such small children produce such a large mess? And how am I supposed to store all this stuff?
I’m noticing a trend of more and more churches forgoing VBS. I get it. It’s a lot of work, and if the church members aren’t into it, one person can’t do everything. I personally hold an affinity for VBS for 2 reasons. I was first introduced to Jesus at a VBS. I became a Christian as a result of people’s willingness to take the time out of their schedules and share the Gospel with a bunch of little kids. The second reason I’m particularly fond of VBS is I get to play silly characters I would ordinarily not get to play at church. I’ve been an Australian animal conservator in search for something I’ve never seen before – the elusive Jesus. I’ve been a secret agent that found magic sunglass called “Nerdbenders” which turns people from ordinary nerds to super-human heroes. I’ve been dozens of different quirky characters over the years. This year, I’m a mix between Inigo Montoya, Green Arrow, and a Jedi Master. I am taking kids on a harrowing journey to find the Great Chief Yeshua. I’m telling you, it’s way more fun than putting together quarterly business reports. Here’s why doing a VBS at your church is totally worth it.
VBS Teaches FUN
Ready for the psychology on fun? Here it is. Fun makes friends. You know those friends you have, the ones that are so boring, the ones where you have nothing to talk about, and those who don’t like any of the same things? Oh, you don’t? That’s because no one is friends with people they don’t like and have nothing in common with. That’s called family. That’s a joke (kinda). Having fun with someone creates a friend. When kids have fun at church, they make friends. When adult leaders have fun with the kids at church it builds trust. Having fun at VBS creates long-lasting relationships that can grow all year long. Trust is the most valuable thing a child can give. Use it wisely.
VBS Teaches TEAMWORK
It does take lots of people to put on a VBS. But remember, don’t let the superfluous things scare you off. Give kids an empty room, a ball, a piece of paper, animal crackers, and a glue stick; and kids can have fun for hours. I think us adults have gone so overboard with decorations, crafts, and snacks that we have sucked all the fun out it. (Screw You Pinterest! I can never get anything to look like you!!!) We’re exhausted before we even see a child. Don’t get me wrong, the kids love it, but they would also love a brown paper bag that they could draw on and then get filled with goldfish crackers. So don’t get bogged down on decorating and the like if it causes you to fold-up-shop on VBS. Instead, use that time to figure out what your people love to do, and let them do that for VBS. I think you’ll find a lot of people willing to help if they don’t have some complicated curriculum to follow or crafts to complete that take an engineering degree. VBS should be the outline of how your children’s ministry team can work together, and figure out who is willing to at least occasionally work with kids. They can become your volunteer base who can get put on some sort of monthly rotation to help serve the kids a couple times per year. The key is, VBS can’t be seen as this island that doesn’t interact with anything else around it. It should be integrated into the entire strategy of the church.
VBS Teaches JESUS
Every VBS I’ve been a part of does a great job of sharing about Jesus and how He died for our sins and rose from the dead. I have seen some children’s programs which are not quite as clearly focused. The kids know about Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the Whale, and Daniel and the Lions Den; but don’t know how that fits into the bigger story of God. Every children’s ministry should be focused on the Gospel. Every kid should know that Jesus loves them and has a plan for them. VBS can refocus and reenergize any children’s ministry and every leader. And beyond all that… Kids Get Saved At VBS! Neighborhood parents might treat your church like a free babysitting service. Awesome! Makes sure they know you’re here all year long on Wednesday night or Sunday morning or whenever you do your children’s ministry. A great way to reach new families in your neighborhoods who are unaffiliated with another church is by providing things for their kids to do. They might just look at your church as a safe place for their crazy offspring to get out of the house for a minute. That’s a fine introduction. In time, that family should know that you love them and are there to help them however they need. Jesus can become real to them through your hands and feet.
I’m all for your thoughts. What else does VBS teach your church?