What’s Missing from Too Many Vacation Bible Schools

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“I love Vacation Bible School.”

So begins a short little song that is often sung this time of year. Those words, though, also share my heart. I think VBS is a wonderful event. I have attended Vacation Bible Schools since I was a baby, I suppose. I have taught at a number of them and have directed (I think) 14 years’ worth of VBS.

Here at 9th Avenue, we are still a few week away from our Vacation Bible School for 2016, but I am encouraged by many of the conversations we have been having in preparing. The reason is that we are not leaving out what too many places forget when planning a VBS.

The Bible.

That “B” in VBS stands for it. Everyone knows that the “B” is for “Bible.” We have Bible stories as the basis for classes and so forth, but we really need to take stock of our Vacation Bible Schools.

As I look around and see much of what passes for Vacation Bible School, I have to ask if our children are getting much Bible at all when they attend.

Don’t get me wrong. I totally agree that VBS offers a chance for congregations to teach in ways that they may not normally be able to. Many do a great job of trying to reach out to the community and bring in children who might not usually attend services. Knowing that, we strive to make the Bible “come alive” in our Vacation Bible Schools. That’s all well and good.

Here is what we all need to consider, however: are we thinking of our creativity first, or are we thinking of the Bible first?

That might just be a sobering question to ask!

Our creativity is a gift from God, but it can be far too easy to think of the creative side as our primary goal, then just try to find a few Bible stories that fit the “image” we have already chosen.

(By the way, we can fall into this trap in Sunday school, sermon series, or any number of other things.)

Instead, we need to be certain that, when the children leave a VBS, they remember the Bible story in addition to the creative element. Too often, we think about them remembering some creative side and then we just hope they “get a little Bible” while they are with us.

To truly put on a Vacation Bible School, teachers need time to study the text, not just the decorations. They need to think about the glory of the Bible, and then let their creative juices flow as to how to present that lesson to each student who might be present.

Let us all be careful not just to have an event. Let’s all strive to have a Vacation Bible School.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn




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