April 17, 2021

VBS (Vacation Bible School): Is It Still Fulfilling Its Mission?

Girl Going to Sunday SchoolThis week I will be helping my family with their Vacation Bible School being a teacher (as I have done many years in the past).  When we brought up the question of VBS in my church, I was one that sided on not doing that program, but doing Good News Clubs– taking the teaching to local projects in order to get to people where they are.

My reasoning was this:  At one point in time VBS’s probably served an entirely different purpose.  I can envision a culture that had much stronger grasp on the basics, and churches wanting to give religious education when school was not in session.  My parents tell of times where VBS was held during the day, not at night like it is now.

The problem is that as time passed, the amount of Bible knowledge in the society as a whole has dropped.  Now, when you have a VBS, it’s much harder to be focused on one mission.  You now have two audiences– one is the church kids that have grown up getting education in Sudnay Schools, home, and sometimes a church run school.  Then you have those that have not heard anything that you’re trying to evangelize.

The way that I’ve seen it happen is that VBS’s put so much emphasis on evangelism, that they don’t really serve the church kids, which was really their first target audience. It doesn’t really hit the unchurched, either, because the teachers are trying to keep the churched ones interested.

Perhaps a good solution would be to have both– Good News Clubs to target the unsaved, and then VBS to target both.  But right now we have a mix which is hard to judge whether or not it is having its best impact.

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4 thoughts on “VBS (Vacation Bible School): Is It Still Fulfilling Its Mission?

  1. Here’s my take on VBS…
    It’s pretty expensive and takes a WHOLE LOTTA effort.
    That said, I have great childhood memories of VBS. My girls do too. Gotta love getting Bible stories, crafts, snacks, games, puppet shows, skits with all your best church friends for 5 nights in a row! Right?
    I’d like to hear more about your Good News Clubs. I know our VBS committee was a bit disappointed in the curriculum we chose in that its emphasis on evangelism was nil. In fact, by the 3rd night the Bible story teacher (we do site-based) and I put our heads together and figured out how to work the salvation message in because, frankly, it wasn’t jumping out at us! In every other way, it was an awesome program. But that’s a pretty significant thing to leave out. We did attract quite a few children that don’t normally attend our church, so we felt it necessary to bring it up. Maybe this program was taking into consideration that most VBS kids are churched?

  2. The material isn’t very good this year for the one I’m doing. It doesn’t have a strong salvation message, but should it (per my discussion earlier)?

    For Good News Clubs, we have material and we take a few people out and do VBS in an open air park or in a entertainment center. We give a story, have a craft, give out prizes for verses, etc., but totally with people that are unchurched rather than trying to talk to a churched audience. Now we just have to take those and transport them to church.

  3. Sounds like something CEF would do. Or maybe I’m thinking of their back yard Bible schools. Which I’ve always wanted to do…
    Sounds like a good way to go. I used to direct our puppet team at church and we’d go to the park, set up our stage and sound system and go to town. Great times, the kids loved it, and people in the community started inviting us to perform at their church events. Do you all have a puppet team?

  4. We’ve had some teens present puppet presentations during VBS before, but we don’t have an active team, per se. Our pastor wants to start one, but it’s one of a lot of things he’s trying to do.

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