Why We Changed Our Mind on VBS

Why We Changed Our Mind On Vacation Bible School

We did Vacation Bible School for five years in a row and stopped doing them for the past 12 years because we weren’t accomplishing what we set out to accomplish with them. Last year we started to do them again here is why we started again and why you should do VBS as well.

  1. We live in a very pluralistic society that doesn’t value church but values traditions. There are many parents who have young kids who either don’t go to church or infrequently attend church but have great memories of VBS. They want their kids to have those some memories and will put their kids in VBS before taking them on the weekend.
  2. Having 15 hours in the VBS week to speak new truth or reinforce what is being taught at home is invaluable. The new regular attendees standard is now 12 to 24 Sundays a year. VBS gives you a nice chunk of time to drill down into core truth that kids need in the world we now live in.
  3. Partnering with parents starts with equipping parents. Doing VBS with this in mind makes VBS more valuable than a simple stand-alone program.
  4. VBS has to be a whole church focus. It can’t be something your department does. I did a department-focused VBS years ago and just finished a church-driven VBS. The difference is night and day.
  5. Reaching new families has to be a focus but not the whole focus. We want to reach new families but we also need to build the foundations of the families we have. One of the reasons we write our own VBS is because we want a VBS that speaks to the specific culture and values of our church that no VBS curriculum could ever do. There are tons of great ones out there, but for us, VBS is more than an outreach tool, it’s a gospel shaping delivery device for the whole family.
  6. Our church has changed. We care about the weekend service still, but we care more about intentional ways to help with spiritual formation and discipleship in a variety of ways outside the weekend service.

I have written posts about why VBS is no longer relevant, I was right and I was wrong. I was right because how we do VBS has to change and why we do VBS has to change. If how and why we do VBS changes it can be an amazing tool to reinforce the framework of your entire church. I was wrong to say that a method is no longer useful at all because it was no longer useful to me. So I hope you pray about whether you should do VBS, and if you do VBS evaluate why you do VBS.

This article originally appeared here.

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Sam Luce
Sam Luce has been the children’s pastor at Redeemer Church in Utica, New York for the past 14 years. Currently he serves as the Utica campus pastor and the Global family pastor. A prolific blogger and popular children's conference speaker, Sam has worked in children's ministry for over 23 years and is also a contributing editor to K! magazine.