VBS (Vacation Bible School) week can be a difficult, grueling, cruel, thankless and exhausting experience. So why do people continue to pour themselves into these events year after year? I’m glad you asked. Very simply, it’s because VBS week is also one of the most rewarding things a gathering of believers can do. Below are some of the reasons that I love VBS (even though it is exhausting). Feel free to add your reason in the comments below if you don’t see it on the list!
10. You can never have too many opportunities to practice patience.
Having led “story time” for our church’s VBS for the past 8 years this is one I’ve learned over and over again. You’re in the middle of telling the most riveting story from the Bible and then you ask a question about the story you’ve just told and the sweetest little 6 year old looks up at you and proceeds to tell you the life story of her most precious hamster. Sure in the moment that can try a person’s patience, but you’ve also made a connection with one of the littlest members of God’s kingdom. And she cares enough about you to want to share a bit of her life with you.
9. You can never have enough opportunities to practice any of the “Fruit of the Spirit.”
In Galatians 5:22 Paul says that the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Trust me. Where two or three or a couple hundred children are gathered there will be fun. And trouble. And opportunities to show love in the face of anger, joy in the face of sadness, peace in the face of chaos, patience in the face of trying situations, kindness in the face of rudeness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in more places than you could count. And that’s a good thing!
8. I love the excitement and the expectation of the children as they show up each day for VBS.
Adults could learn a lot about how we are to approach corporate worship, the gathering of the saints for fellowship, and being in the presence of God.
7. VBS is an expression of the entire body of Christ using its gifts and abilities for the glory of God.
From those who work behind the scenes to design sets and make copies to those who teach or appear in skits, all are important for the success of the week. Senior adults labor alongside of teenagers. I can’t think of an event that models better how the body of Christ should work EVERY day!
6.We have fun!
Yes we have a schedule, yes we have times that are very focused and serious, but we have FUN! On the New Earth I believe we will run, laugh, giggle, smell, taste, listen, touch and all to the glory of God. VBS reminds both adults and children that there is a joy in the Lord that is contagious. The gospel is serious, our sin is serious, and the consequences of rebelling against God are serious. But joyful hearts are good medicine!
5. VBS gives us the chance to connect with our community!
Yes, some kids spend their entire summer hoping from one VBS to the next. When they drop into our VBS, we should be thankful! Each time we connect with a new family, we develop a better picture of what our community is really like. VBS will help us to better understand how to minister to our neighborhoods.
4. VBS gives us the chance to demonstrate the love of Christ.
In today’s world, orthodox (true) Christianity is increasingly unpopular. If we affirm biblical marriage and label sin as sin, we will be unpopular. And one way to fight against the “angry Christian” stereotype is to love our neighbors. VBS gives us the chance to do just that! As we serve our neighbors’ and co-workers’ kids, we can dispel many of the myths that surround our church. Paul encourages us to do just that: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). VBS provides our church a premium stage for wowing the world with the love of Christ! Remember the words of our savior, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
3. VBS give us the chance to fulfill the great commission.
Missions is not just something missionaries do. Nor is it something we do “out there.” Jesus said all of us are to be making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20)! We need to be sharing the gospel in Asia. But, we also must talk about the good news of Jesus in our towns, homes, and ballparks! VBS gives us an amazing venue for reaching and discipling the kids in our community! By participating in VBS, we get to experience the joy of obeying Jesus’ mission call!
2. Children need Jesus too!
There are children who will hear the gospel, who will repent and trust only in the finished work of Christ, and will be saved! Children are sinners in need of a Savior. If you don’t believe that we are sinners at birth and by choice, go work with 2-year-olds for a Sunday. Not many parents have to teach little Johnny how to be selfish with a plastic dinosaur. He knows how to be selfish quite naturally thank you! And yet, when the gospel is shared and children are called to repentance and faith, when they are baptized, God will shine His light, dead hearts will be awakened, faith will be granted, and children will believe and be saved!
Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, who was born into the world with this most important mission and agenda, set aside time with children. Matthew’s gospel records this moment in Jesus’ ministry. In the midst of some very adult teaching on divorce some parents in the crowd began to bring their children to Jesus so that he might lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked the parents. Jesus turned to them and said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:13-14) Children are not distractions to be put up with. They are not merely the future of the church. They are the church, and precious to God.