The cookies and lemonade are consumed. The clever decorations are put away, and the volunteers have moved on to the next ministry opportunity. Yet the fun memories, take-home crafts and important spiritual lessons that happened, still linger.
Yes, as many Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) have come to a close, it’s a good time to think about what just happened and what can happen next.
First, there is the opportunity for VBS follow-up. Not only can churches follow through with baptism and discipleship of those children who made decisions, we can go a step further. Churches can continue to reach out to the families of the children who attended, inviting them back to church and seeing how we can serve them, in the name of Jesus, beyond the summer.
We can also think about how VBS is one of the most important—and in high demand—things we do as the church. In fact, new research shows that “VBS remains one of the most popular church programs in America,” as “six in 10 Americans say they went to VBS growing up. Two-thirds of American parents say they (planned) to send kids to VBS this summer—even if they skip church themselves.”
These numbers, which are courtesy of a recent LifeWay Research survey, should encourage us. In talking about the results, writer Bob Smietana said, “Almost everyone involved (in VBS said they) had a great time.”
These great times, according to the adults polled, include: “spending time with kids their own age (46 percent), learning Bible stories (45 percent), singing songs (40 percent), creating crafts (37 percent) and playing games (34 percent).” In terms of eternal impact, “one in 6 (17 percent) remember making a spiritual commitment at VBS, and most (88 percent) say VBS helped them better understand the Bible.”
VBS means great memories, relationships, Bible learning and Jesus. Fortunately, those patterns of positive sentiments about VBS continue strong to present day, as “most parents (95 percent) say VBS was a positive experience for their child.”
What God has given us in VBS, then, is a popular program that is Bible-centered and brings people into the church who might otherwise not go. VBS gives us a connection to families that is truly hard to come by in a fast-paced world filled with broken families. We should not treat this opportunity lightly.
We can also think about the appeal of VBS and how it could apply to other areas. One Oklahoma City church, Portland Avenue, recently held a VBS for senior adults. For a first-year event, it was a tremendous success.
Other programs like VBS that minister to children and youth—including church preschool and school programs, public school outreach, Back-to-School backpack drives, meal assistance programs, tutoring programs and more—are ways that we show that we care.
After all, we want to show the world—which evidently still loves VBS—that Jesus still loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Click below to see VBS photos from churches all over Oklahoma.