Ever wonder if you should still plan a VBS for your church and community? Let’s be honest, it takes a lot of time, resources, and energy to put on a week of Vacation Bible School, Bible Camp, Bible Adventure—or whatever your church calls it! Some leaders debate if it’s worth it for a couple of reasons—“we’re just reaching our church kids” or “parents hop around from church to church to get free childcare.” I get the frustrations behind these reasons, but I want to challenge and encourage you to broaden your vision when it comes VBS.
VBS is not just for kids: we all know that preparing and producing a VBS of any size takes an “all hands on deck” mentality from the church. This is a time for parents, empty nesters, teens, college kids, and senior citizens to lock arms and go all in for the purpose of sharing the gospel in a fun and impactful way. Therefore, parents should be exposed to all the biblical content their child will be hearing which will help them have engaging conversations at home. You are equipping them without them even knowing!
VBS is a place for families: Even if parents are not volunteering due to work schedules or other reasons, VBS should still offer something for parents to be engaged in either daily or sometime during the week. It may be a kickoff “party” where the Pastor gives the heart behind VBS being about sharing the gospel or it may be a family worship night where parents get to worship with their kids. Corporate worship is so important in the life of the family because kids need to see Mom singing and Dad reading the Bible, all while sitting together and hearing a message about what was learned at VBS.
VBS is a launching pad: Families who experience VBS together should leave with a refreshed heart to live on mission together. Your goal as a kids leader should be to challenge them to live on mission in their neighborhoods, schools, and sports teams. Provide tools for them to share their faith and remind them that Jesus calls ALL of us to “go make disciples.”
If you broaden your vision to reaching families, not only kids, VBS can be seen in a totally new light. Vacation Bible School is for kids of all ages, their families, the local church congregation, and the community it serves. If all of these groups are engaged, and VBS is used to its fullest potential then it will surely have ripples of faith that last to eternity.
“Go therefore, and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Jana Magruder serves as the Director of LifeWay Kids. She is a Baylor graduate and offers a wealth of experience and passion for kids ministry, education, and publishing. She is the author of Kids Ministry that Nourishes and Life Verse Creative Journal, which she co-authored with her teenage daughter. She and her husband, Michael, along with their three children reside in Nashville.