Our church just finished Vacation Bible School, and I must say that every year I’m always glad we do it. This year we saw around 60 kids per night — that’s our biggest turnout and as many people as we see on a Sunday morning. Of those 60 kids, 20 of them made a decision of some kind. One of them, a young man who had been raised in church and had never experienced anything outside of that one church, said in reference to the gospel of Christ, “I finally get it now! I believe Jesus is my Savior.” I would consider this year a great success … and that wasn’t even the only fruit we had the privilege to witness.
Over the couple of weeks leading up to VBS we saw a small army of people — nearly half our congregation — step up in some way to help make VBS happen. We had people building sets, decorating the rooms, organizing lessons, making snacks, inviting neighbors, planning games, bringing supplies, and practicing hand motions. During the week, people dragged themselves in after work feeling tired and hit the ground running and experienced the power of God carrying them through the evening as they served these kids. We saw not just our church, but three churches working together and several more participating to introduce and reiterate the Gospel to the kids of this community and we saw kids learning how to serve each other in our mixed age groups. VBS served as a rally point and the people of God got to see what can happen when we serve God by serving others, together.
Pastor, your church needs a rally point. They need something bigger than themselves that transcends style and form and regular religious observation and that accomplishes something they can celebrate. Maybe that’s VBS. Vacation Bible School can reach any community (except maybe a gated senior community). It takes a lot of time, resources, and commitment, and it’s worth every bit of it. As you plan, promote, and begin to make it happen over the course of the year, it gives new believers a place to get their feet wet in ministry and it serves as an opportunity for older members to step outside their norm and see what God can do through them (and in them).
A ministry like this is a great launching point for other things. We’ve seen people taste and see the goodness of serving and sign up to keep serving in children’s ministry — one of the hardest ministries to recruit for. We’ve seen other people come to see what the buzz was about who began to connect with our fellowship. We’ve seen people estranged from the church for one reason or another, who brought their kids and began reconnecting and finding healing. A rallying point ministry like this builds the kind of community we all desperately long for. And here is an important note: You don’t have to do a lot, but whatever you determine God wants you to do, do it well.
Our VBS consumes about 5% of our entire $90,000 annual budget, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a commitment to raising up future generations of the church and it’s an opportunity for our people to simply love on the children of the church, and in the community. We think that’s worth it. I urge you to plan, promote, and produce a larger ministry effort. Don’t be foolish about it, but prayerfully consider what God has positioned you to do and lead into it. Give your people something more that the “little church” mentality. See how it impacts your fellowship and the fruit it bears. There is nothing more satisfying and encouraging than seeing young lives impacted by hearing the gospel, and other lives transformed by living it.