While we all love the fun, the games, the lessons and the snacks, the reason you pour more resources into Vacation Bible School (VBS) than any other event in the year is to change the community and your own kids more into the people God has called them to be.
Changing the community is a goal we all share for VBS, but have you thought about the potential for families in your church to disciple their kids using this event? We have precious weeks leading up to the event that set dad and mom up for discipleship conversations in the home. Here are four ways you can help parents capitalize on that opportunity.
- Explain the why.
The first way you can use VBS to disciple your kids could start right now. Take a minute to inform your kids that your family will be inviting friends to VBS this summer. Then, explain why we invite our friends — if Jesus is the only way to be with God forever, then the gospel is a message that becomes the most important in the world!
The way you treat VBS can drive home the message that Jesus is the only way to a relationship with God. “We need our friends to hear the gospel, because it’s the only message that saves us from our sin!” That simple explanation of evangelism should resonate through living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms all over the state leading up to this summer. And it helps our kids understand why we invite our friends to VBS — so they can hear the gospel, turn from their sin and follow Jesus!
- Pray together.
Read Scripture. Pray. Sing. Family worship is that simple! Read. Pray. Sing. I believe this is one of the most important rhythms families can have in the home. And as you are practicing family worship, praying for our friends is a natural part of that time together. But if it’s not part of your routine just yet, here are some other ideas for when you could incorporate prayer into your day.
- Pray for friends in the car on the way to school.
Get some index cards, write their friends’ names on them together as a family, then pray for those friends.
Include their friends in your bedtime prayers, and specifically pray that they will be able to come to VBS.
Be encouraged. Your kid values what you value, so you have a chance to make praying for our friends a big deal in your home. Imagine the celebration your family could have if a friend from school or the neighborhood were to surrender their life to Christ at VBS. That’s what we’re praying for.
You’ve talked to your kid(s) about why all our friends need to give their life to Jesus (part one) and prayed for those friends (part two), but now comes the fun part. Put your kids in strategic places to invite their friends. Make time one night to plan when you will see each friend to invite them to VBS. I can tell you from experience, if you don’t plan for the invitation, it will rarely happen. I’m praying that families from all over North Carolina will hear the gospel through the invitations that you and your kids will extend over the next few weeks.
One of the most underrated parenting principles is that kids replicate what we celebrate. Think about what you’ve celebrated with your kids recently: graduations, team victories, a good performance. Are we subtly communicating to our kids that the most important things are school, sports and individual accolades? How can we begin celebrating spiritual things, as well? I’m glad you asked. After explaining why our friends need Jesus, praying for our friends to come to VBS and inviting our friends to VBS, we get a chance to celebrate. We either celebrate God answering our prayers that our friends are coming to this event with us, or we celebrate that God has given us a chance to start a spiritual conversation with our friends. Both are blessings from God, and both deserve some ice cream celebration.
Explain the why, pray, invite and celebrate. Because parents are the primary disciplers of their kids, these four ideas could produce more spiritual growth in your families than any one-week event at our churches this summer. So let’s start using VBS to disciple kids at home!
by Josh Navey / Children’s Pastor / The Summit Church
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