Nobody will ever be able to tell me that Vacation Bible School is a bad thing. As a matter of fact, I think it's one of the most important things we do as a church. Our VBS this year is Camp Out: Getting S'more of Jesus. It's June 5-7 (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday), with dinner at 5:15pm and VBS classes from 6-8pm. You know why I think it's so important? Because it's one of the biggest reasons I'm a pastor today.
When I was a kid, in the days before mass-marketed VBS campaigns, my little home church in Barre Center (pronounced "Berry")New York did a homemade VBS each year. We'd start each day with "Barre Bird," a parrot hand puppet brought to life by one of our church's women, teaching us the Bible story for the day. Then volunteers from our church taught us Bible lessons, made us snacks, led arts and crafts, and (my personal favorite at the time), led us in recreation outside. I started attending VBS when I was four years old, and went every summer through sixth grade. I loved it! Not only was I learning valuable lessons about Christianity, I was building relationships with the adults in my church, and seeing them "in action" sometime other than the "usual" Sunday morning worship time.
But once I "graduated" from VBS is when I really realized how important it was. After seventh and eighth grade I was a helper in VBS classrooms. I taught the Bible lessons and played with the kids and built those important relationships. Then, starting after my ninth grade school year, my church let me be a VBS teacher! For four summers straight I taught the same group of kids, from their first through their fourth grade years. I still keep in touch with some of those kids today!
VBS was a lot more than just "what the church did every year" to me. It was a chance for my home church to raise me in the faith, show me the love of Jesus, and then empower me to put the lessons they'd taught me to use in leading others. In short, my church used VBS to do exactly what churches are supposed to do to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Looking back on it all, there's no denying that Vacation Bible School was a huge influence in my being called to ministry. It was where I fell in love with the church, and with teaching the Christian faith to other
So...I'm wondering: how will our kids look back on VBS? We have a great chance to do for our children what my home church did for me. Who knows...one of them might write a newsletter article someday for the church they're serving as pastor! And, of course, it's not just for the kiddos. I'll be leading an adult VBS class each night, 6-7ish on the biblical book of James. All of us are being made into disciples in the church! So plan on being at VBS 2017, Camp Out: Getting S'more of Jesus, June 5-7, 5:15-8pm. See you there!
Your brother in Christ,