Why We Will Continue to Offer VBS
Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time for Vacation Bible School (VBS). And here’s a fun fact: VBS began in 1898 when Walker Aylette Hawes wanted to get children off the streets of New York City during the summertime. So, she rented a beer hall (yes, a beer hall—the only space she could find), and began a summer Bible program and called it Everyday Bible School.
More than one hundred years later, VBS is still a summertime staple in many churches across the country, but it has seen a decline in recent years. The number one reason for a church not offering VBS in their community: lack of volunteers. The second reason: lack of children. But I refuse to let these barriers stand in our way, because the cost of NOT reaching out to our children and the community is too great. I’m sure at some point you’ve heard the statistic, but it bears repeating: nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus as their Savior do so before the age of 13. These years are critical at laying the foundation of faith in a person’s life. VBS provides a great opportunity to reveal God, present the Gospel, lay a foundation of truth, outreach to children and families in the church and the community, teach service, build relationships, and have fun!
That’s a lot to accomplish in five days, but somehow we manage to do it year after year. But it takes a team of dedicated volunteers to pull it off. And if you think that’s not you, I encourage you to think again.
*Parents: VBS is a great, short-term commitment, way to get involved in the discipleship of your child. By becoming involved, the lessons learned can be carried on in conversations beyond the two hours of VBS. It is also a way for your child to see you serve the church. If they don’t ever see you serve, why would they want to serve the church? It is first and foremost our responsibility to model following Jesus, through learning and serving, in their lives.
*Youth and younger adults: Kids love to learn and play alongside the “big kids.” VBS is a great way to renew and reinforce your faith and commitment to Jesus, while being leaders and role models for the next generation of Jesus followers. If young kids see you following Jesus and serving the church, they will be more likely to do the same.
*”Older, wiser adults”: Year after year I am amazed and humbled by your willingness and faithfulness to serve during VBS. I greatly appreciate your time and talents year after year. But maybe you helped years ago when your children (and you) were younger, therefore you’ve “taken your turn” already and no longer help. Believe me, I hear you! But you have years of wisdom and experience to pass along to the future of the church, so please don’t count yourselves exempt from helping. We are all part of the larger church family and serving the church is a team effort. Some children attend VBS, but are not part of a Christian home. You could be the first voice to speak the name Jesus in that child’s life.
Vacation Bible School has proven to be a fun and effective way to reach the children within our church and in the community year after year. Maybe we won’t get enough volunteers. Maybe we won’t get many kids. But children have decided to follow Jesus because of VBS. Families have joined our church because of it. Parents have become more involved because of it. That is why I will continue to offer VBS—God is worth the effort. His message is worth it. Our children are worth it.
Please visit our website: hopeindayton.org/vbs2017 to register your child for Vacation Bible School 2017. There are also printed registration forms on the VBS table near the lobby at Hope. Prayerfully consider being a part of VBS week—it is guaranteed fun!