The unforeseen fruits of serving in VBS

by Jill Carter, Contributing Writer

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Vacation Bible School is one of the best outreach opportunities for churches. Childhood ministry consultant Cheryl Markland encourages the entire church to get involved. For related material check out 21 ways to be a part of VBS.

I love Vacation Bible School! This motto is displayed on T-shirts and canvas bags, but for me, it is more than a motto; it is a way of life. VBS embodies the very best things about being a believer in Christ and a member of a local body of believers. It is both welcoming children to Jesus (Mark 9:37) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) in action.

Perhaps more than any other endeavor, VBS is a ministry of the whole church. It starts with the existing congregation. Everyone is invited to VBS. Classes can be offered for babies through adults with literature and resources available to support them. For one exciting week, everyone is immersed in a single theme with a single message. During that week, children are the central focus as the church clearly communicates the gospel and pleads the help of the Holy Spirit for them to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

But the effort doesn’t stop there. VBS is the single largest outreach event of the year for most Baptist churches. It is an event that successfully leads new families to church doorsteps. And the outreach effort isn’t limited to just a few. Children invite other children, adults invite neighbors or take posters to local business and community bulletin boards, and senior adults mobilize flyer distributions in surrounding neighborhoods. VBS can be the least threatening opportunity for the unchurched to come for the first time.

Such a large anticipated harvest requires a huge investment of workers. Fortunately, VBS is a perfect place of service for many with various talents and interests. For some, this means roles that require a high level of interaction with students. Classroom teachers not only impart the truth of God’s Word through activities and Bible storytelling, but they shepherd children through other classes where they learn songs or play games aimed at reinforcing these truths. Recreation, art, music and missions teachers directly interact with assorted groups of children as they teach, and often these roles capitalize on the talents and interests of workers.

There are also many roles that require minimum interaction with students. If you like to cook, preparing snacks might be perfect. If you like to act or you can only be available for certain days, there are often more isolated needs for drama and production teams. Are you gifted at record keeping or technology? Attendance, registration or media might be great avenues to serve.

Even if you are unable to unable to attend VBS, there are still ways you can help, such as decorating, preparing crafts or shopping for supplies. The possibilities for service are boundless. However you serve, everyone who contributes is a part of every child’s journey that comes to salvation.

As awesome as a week of decorations and high energy learning is, it is essential that the mission remains central. Our immediate goal is to make new believers and to disciple existing believers. But it goes beyond the immediate ramification of increasing our numbers today.

Since VBS is geared primarily toward the younger generation, it is an extremely effective means of multiplying for years to come. The 12-year-old who says yes to Jesus today might be the senior pastor or chairman of the deacons 50 years from now. I know one 10-year-old girl who made the decision to follow Christ at a VBS over 50 years ago and today, she works in VBS every year. She does so out of gratitude for the gift given to her that day. I know her because I am her.

As I said, I love VBS.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jill Carter is a retired Preschool Minister, having served most recently at Green Street Baptist Church in High Point, NC. Jill has also served as a preschool representative on the BSCNC VBS team and as a resource specialist for twenty years.