LIVONIA, MI – Recently, while wearing a VBS t-shirt, I was asked by a 20-something young man, “What does VBS stand for?” (Yes, I continue to wear the shirts after VBS.) I replied, “Vacation Bible School.’ He said, “I know what those words mean but I don’t know what that is.” I explained, but it saddened me to know we have a generation that does not know the happiness, joy, love and truth that is all part of VBS.
VBS, Vacation Bible School, evokes many precious and wonderful emotions; from the love of the leaders, to the happiness of being with friends, to the joy of learning about Jesus. They all are part of my fond memories. But there is no greater emotion than that created by the many wonderful opportunities VBS provides the church member.
Taking a walk down memory lane first takes me back to childhood, where it seemed that everyone had a VBS. Not only did I attend our church’s VBS, but also those of my friends and relatives. Yes, there were different themes and new verses, but I encountered the same caring servants of God.
It was also a first opportunity for me to invite others to enjoy VBS in the fun environment that included the gospel in both message and the lives of the children and leaders. As a very young Christian, I was able to be a witness in my Jerusalem, as Acts 1:8 admonishes.
Fast forward a few years to my life as a teen. That was my first opportunity to serve as a VBS helper. It was there that I learned the importance of service in the church and my role in that. From that first exposure, I went on to minister, as a teenager, in children’s choir and as a bus captain. VBS was the door that opened my heart to service.
As an adult, I have had the opportunity to continue that desire for ministry both in and out of VBS. God has provided several VBS roles in which I have been privileged to serve—from nursery to crafts to teacher and, most recently, to VBS director. Having attended our church for more than 25 years, I have had the privilege of watching many of the children I’ve ministered to grow up and, in turn, serve the Lord.
Now, as a grandmother, I love that the Lifeway curriculum gives me a connection with my grandchildren, even those in other states. They love showing me that they know the songs, motions and Bible verses. Some of the songs are so memorable that we continue to sing them years later.
Although VBS is a significant starting point, the relationships we create can and should be nurtured beyond that. Since we our church has VBS for the whole family—from birth through adulthood—we, the whole church, can find a place to minister and someone to whom we can minister. We then need to build on those relationships to make disciples as directed in Matthew 28.
Yes, VBS is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to serve God and others, to create and build relationships, and to share the gospel with those who need it. These are all part of our responsibility as the body of Christ. Let’s ensure that this ministry opportunity remains by each supporting our own church’s VBS.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elaine Weathers serves as VBS Director at Merriman Road Baptist Church in Livonia, MI.