This 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.