Cookies and Kool-Aid. Crafts and games. Four of the biggest components of Vacation Bible School (VBS). We know there is much more, but perhaps these are the things we remember about VBS when we participated as children.
I still remember the teachers who gave three hours each morning for a week during the summer to make sure I had a positive VBS experience. We would line up by age on the church steps, argue over who the VBS director would pick to carry the flags and the Bible, and then proceed to march in to our designated pews as the pianist welcomed us to the sanctuary with the VBS processional.
The filmstrip projector guided us through the pledges, songs and a missionary moment for the day. I never understood why the VBS director’s child was always chosen to advance the filmstrips.
Our teachers would then take us to our classroom for more teaching and fun. Crafts in the fellowship hall were a favorite for everyone as we would begin our creation on Monday in hopes of finishing it in time for the VBS commencement on Friday evening. Recreation was always outside on the grass, and then we would relax for our refreshments, which usually included homemade cookies.
Every summer it was the same thing. Until one day at 8-years-old, when the plan of salvation was given, I asked Jesus into my heart. The years of planning, promoting and implementing VBS reaped results. A person accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through the presentation of the gospel has always been and always should be a focus of VBS.
At its core, VBS still represents a powerful and effective outreach tool for the local church.
Is VBS still relevant today? Absolutely! In 2017, 65,000 people gave their lives to Christ, 835 answered the call to vocational church ministry and more than 19,000 people started attending Sunday School because of VBS.
We have replaced the filmstrips with ProPresenter, the crafts now come pre-assembled for each day to complement the lesson, and peanut butter cookies are off limits. The methods may have changed, but at its core, VBS still represents a powerful and effective outreach tool for the local church.
Today’s VBS is designed to reach people of all ages. Various tools are used to emphasize the Bible lesson for the day and encourage real life application. VBS has the potential to be the most impactful outreach tool for the local church and provides a place of service for every member, whether it’s teaching in the classroom or serving snacks. There is a place for everyone.
The upcoming TELL Conference is designed to equip leaders to more effectively make disciples through gospel-centered teaching, training ministry teachers and leaders, classroom management, and creating safe and secure ministry environments. Bill Emeott, who serves as lead ministry specialist for LifeWay Kids, will be the featured speaker.
The conference will include breakout sessions for VBS teachers of preschool, children and preteens, as well as one for VBS directors. Additionally, you may choose the all-day training option and stay for lunch and an afternoon session on VBS extras, which will focus on music, crafts, games and snacks.
Learn more about the TELL Conference at ncbaptist.org/tell.