We recently finished a Vacation Bible School in our church. It has been a few years since a church where I was pastor did a somewhat traditional VBS. I was reminded of some of the reasons why I hadn’t done one for a few years and I was overwhelmingly struck by the positive aspects of VBS. I believe each church has to evaluate the practicality and benefits of a VBS in their own community. With that being said here are a few lessons I learned during our recent VBS.
-Enthusiasm is attractive – One of the great things about kids is that if you are enthusiastic they will get into whatever you are sharing. I believe adults need to be reminded that enthusiasm is attractive. Enthusiasm can draw people into church and it can attract people to Christ. Too often we sin by taking the greatest truth and boring people with the good news of the gospel. VBS is anything but boring, at least if it goes well.
-Smiles make your day – Kids smile a lot. I like seeing smiles. When you smile at someone they will usually smile back. When you smile you feel better and if you can make someone else smile you help them feel better as well. What if you committed to smiling at everyone you make eye contact with tomorrow? Now don’t avoid eye contact so you don’t have to smile. Commit to smiling as you make eye contact with people for a day and watch what happens.
-It takes many hands for it to work – A lady in my church said to me the day before our VBS began that one of her favorite things about VBS is that so many people in the church work together to make it happen. I will confess I had not been viewing VBS in this way. As the week went on I recognized how true her statement was and it revolutionized my thinking. It takes people doing all kinds of things and it takes people who are willing to do whatever is needed on that day.
-The greatest outcome may be the fellowship of the adults who served – This was true fellowship. Not eating a meal together, but serving together and there was much sharing that took place as they served. We had some people matched up with people that they really did not know until they served together. This produced some great results.
-Focusing on kids is a life changer – Whenever you focus on kids you will see lives changed. Your life will be different and so will the life of the kids. I have only been the pastor of this church for 5 months. As a result I didn’t know the children all that well. Serving in our VBS helped me get to know the kids and I really fell in love with them. I was changed by the kids and by serving in VBS. I saw some of the kids really respond. Before that week the kids knew I was the pastor, but now they know me and some of them even like me.
-Repeating something out loud inscribes it on your mind – We did a lot of “repeat after me” during VBS. We did this with the theme for each night and with memory verses. The kids knew their stuff and so did I. I am still figuring out how to do more of this in my teaching and preaching. I wonder if I can get their parents, and grandparents to yell some answers out during the sermon.
-Giving should be fun – The kids got so excited to bring in their offerings. They were especially excited to give to sponsor a child from another country. Yes, some of the money was handouts from their parents and some was from the workers. But, many kids brought in money from their own banks from home. The joy on their faces when they gave and when they celebrated how much was given was great to see. I wish we adults would give with that kind of joy.
We had parents and some other relatives come on Sunday morning and for our picnic celebration after worship. I am praying that we will see some of them return in the weeks to come. We had children who accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. Bottom line, our Vacation Bible School was definitely worth the time, effort and money. Also, the lessons learned were definitely worth it. Now to stretch these lessons into all of our ministries.
Do you do VBS? If so, how did it go? If not, why did you choose not to do one?