Matt Galvan Evangelist
Vacation Bible School (VBS) is one of those programs that probably every Baptist church in our circles has, and for good reason! VBS gives churches one of the easiest ways to reach dozens, maybe hundreds of local children with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bringing that many souls under the sound of the Gospel is a big deal and requires time, money, work, and people. And, people are limited in all those things. Whether your church runs 30 or 300, what can be done to make a church’s VBS the most profitable that it can be?
Start with the church members’ mentality towards VBS.
1. Help them see VBS as Gospel work, not the church’s summer program. Oftentimes, the church becomes lulled into just doing what has always been done. Doesn’t your church have some form of VBS every summer? Mine does. In fact, if a Baptist church in our circles didn’t have some kind of summer outreach program for youth, we’d wonder what was wrong. Because VBS is usually an annual event, church members can start to have feelings of, “Well, I’ve done my time” or “It’s time for someone else to step up and do the work” or “We have other things to get done with our summers.” People who decline volunteering at your VBS need to remember that this program is not just an alternative to the YMCA’s summer events. This is the church’s cooperative effort to see children reconciled to God! And since when is the ministry of the Gospel something where “I’ve done my time?” II Corinthians 5 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…and [God] hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” Church members may have lost the vision of their “ministry of reconciliation to children” in the time-consuming stress of decorating, baking snacks, and googling craft ideas. Bring them back to seeing the urgency of reaching children and their families with the Gospel.
2. Help them see VBS as your church’s team effort to reach the lost. Which member of a 22-man starter squad on a football team is dispensable? None of them—if you want to win a championship. I guess if you’re content with an okay/decent season, some of them aren’t vital to your team. When it comes to VBS, every member of the church team is vital. Each church team member has different gifts, talents, health limits, time availability, and money. Every church member (including the pastor) is inadequate in some way; but every church member has something to give (I Cor. 12:12-31). Church members’ mentalities need to be changed from “Mmm, yeah, that’s not going to work with my schedule/talents/health problems” and start thinking, “Mmm, I don’t see yet how this will work with my schedule/talents/health problems, but I’ll do whatever I can, Mr. VBS Director.” VBS is not about a preacher coming in and doing something big; it’s about everyone getting together and seeing that God can use them.
If the church members’ mentality is in the right place, your church’s VBS will be on the right track.