I have good memories of Vacation Bible School. When I was growing up, it was held in the daytime, mainly because more moms stayed home with their children and could teach VBS during the day. I remember marching through the front doors of the church to “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” and I remember the notes played on the piano when it was time to sit down or stand up. Of course, there were the pledges and the homemade cookies made by Mrs. Nell and the grape Kool-aid. Decorations were sparse—mainly posters.
Vacation Bible School has changed a lot, and many are held in the evening out of necessity since many teachers now work outside of the home. The decorating videos provided with VBS kits will blow your mind. I chuckle because there is no way smaller churches can afford to do many of the things suggested. Sadly, some churches have abandoned having Vacation Bible School, but no matter how large or small the church or the Vacation Bible School, do not underestimate its importance.
I once worked with a man who was unchurched and could be an unpleasant person at times, but he liked me because my husband pastored a mission church, and I was the VBS director. You see, when he thought about VBS, his memories were of his godly grandmother who saw that he attended every summer. It was obvious he loved her dearly, and he loved Vacation Bible School. There is a church out there somewhere that had a profound effect on this man’s life simply because it chose to have Vacation Bible School.
I know pastors who love to boast at the end of VBS about how many children were saved. Not necessarily. I have known quite a few people who made “decisions” at VBS because their brother or friend did, and they discovered years later they really had not accepted Jesus at all. A successful VBS is not about numbers—how many attend or how many make professions of faith. It is about investing in the lives of these little ones and giving the Holy Spirit time to work in their lives as they grow. They will accept Jesus into their hearts in God’s timing. The worst thing we can do is plant a false confidence into these kids by rushing God.
If your church is contemplating not having Vacation Bible School because the past year’s attendance was not high or it costs a lot, I ask you to reconsider. VBS is one of the most important outreach events a church can have. Your VBS will be successful just because children are learning about God, and you never know when there is a godly grandmother investing in her grandchild.
Maleah Bell is a freelance editor and pastor’s wife. She and her husband make their home in Middle Tennessee.