Vacation Bible School is just around the corner. Hopefully you are well into the planning and preparation. There is always so much to do!
Prepare the spaces
Create the decorations.
Gather the supplies.
Train the team.
Communicate with other staff.
Create promotional materials and get the word out.
And did I mention finding volunteers???
So. Much. To. Do!!
And this doesn’t even begin to speak to everything that needs to be done. If you’ve ever been part of planning a VBS, and especially if you’ve directed one, you know what I’m talking about.
In the midst of all of the preparation, I’ve seen that one very important component often get put on the back burner, or even left out altogether.
What is that component? The missions focus.
But I would argue that this is, perhaps, one of the very most important components you can have in your VBS.
3 Reasons Why You Need a Summer Missions Component with Your VBS
1. A missions component introduces children to a much broader understanding of our faith.
Most of us, including our kids, live in a little bubble called “our world”. It’s easy to believe that everyone’s “world” is just like ours.
But it’s not.
In fact, most children around the world have nowhere near the life that we have here in the United States. Exposing our kids to what life is like for other children opens their minds and causes them to engage with thinking about the blessings in their own life, as well as stirs compassion in their hearts for others.
2. A missions component is a great way to create enthusiasm during VBS.
When a child’s interest is piqued (see reason #1), you have the opportunity to build around that interest. Whether it is to engage them with teaching, create games to reinforce the message, offer activities to help them connect with kids around the world, or raise money for a particular missions cause (a great way to create enthusiasm!), offering the missions component, which is often different than anything else we do in children’s ministry, can create enthusiasm that can’t be generated in other ways.
And remember, it’s not just the kids that get excited about the missions component if it’s done right. It’s also the volunteers. Adults are just as enthusiastic to learn about and engage with those around the world.
3. A missions component creates an invaluable opportunity to serve others.
We know that serving is actually the key to helping our faith become real and, ultimately, stick with us. Our kids attending VBS are at the stage where their faith may or may not be “their own”. Serving others creates a practical reality to what we teach. It puts hands and feet to the stories and messages we are trying to communicate. It makes it all real.
How to add a missions component to your VBS
The good news about adding a missions component to your VBS is that’s it’s really not that difficult! Here are a few steps you can take:
- Find someone to partner with.
This can be missionaries from your own church or organizations that your church partners with. Or you can simply do a Google search for “vbs+summer+missions+program” and find more than enough options to choose from. Find one that fits the dynamics and focus of your VBS. Many offer a very simple to implement program that you can have one of your volunteers put together and manage.
- Make the connection.
Reach out to the missionary or organization you’d like to partner with and make the connection to focus on them for your VBS missions component. Note: if you reach out to a missionary, or work with an organization that doesn’t already have a program in place, it will mean creating the component from scratch. This may take a lot of work, so make sure you plan for it. I would recommend connecting with a partner that already has a program in place in order to keep it simple.
- Implement the program during your VBS and make sure you keep in touch with the partner.
You want to be able to inform them of the results, and later find out the impact that was had because of your VBS engagement. You can use this later to keep missions in front of your kids.
There are few parts of VBS that are as simple yet so impactful as adding a missions component. And as we said, there are many, many opportunities to partner with some great organizations.
If you need someplace to start, consider working with our friends at Sweet Sleep. They offer easy to use and highly impactful opportunities to engage in a fun manner with missions. Their programs are FREE and completely downloadable.
To find out more about the Sweet Sleep opportunities, click here.
This article originally appeared here.