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Memorial Day is next week and that means summer is here. My grandkids have their summer camps lined up and Vacation Bible School is at the top of the list.
Summer camps are great for kids. Most camps have outdoor activities which I’m a big fan of. I’m a firm believer that kids need to get outside and away from screentime!
Vacation Bible School Is A Great Summer Experience
I was an adult when I became a Christian and didn’t have the Vacation Bible School (VBS) experience as a child.
I knew kids who went to VBS but I was never invited to attend.
Interestingly though, any adult Christian that I know can speak to their childhood VBS memories.
Since I’ve been a Christian I’ve had the privilege of being a part of a great VBS. This experience demonstrated the benefit of investing time and resources into this memorable summer event for kids.
Churches that make learning about God fun benefit from the fruits of their labor – kids who love God.
Interacting with the kids and watching them learn and grow is an invaluable experience. Something that every adult (volunteer) should experience.
4 Reasons to Host a VBS
1. VBS Impacts Kids
Vacation Bible School not only gives kids something to do but has a significant impact on their future.
For instance, the VBS that I was involved with utilized hundreds of volunteers. Many of the kids who grew up going to the camp, came back to volunteer as teenagers.
The experience taught them to serve others and pass on what they learned to the next generation.
According to a Barna research study, 43 percent of Americans who make a commitment to Christ do so before the age of 13, and 64% of born-again Christians do so before their 18th birthday.
If these statistics are true, every church should be investing time and resources into impacting our kids for the future. One way to do that is by hosting a VBS.
2. VBS Impact On Volunteers
Churches would not be able to host a VBS without the support of volunteers. Often those volunteers need to take off of work to help.
However, these faithful laborers often leave the event feeling like they received more than they gave.
People who give their time to be part of a VBS program do so because of the impact on the kids they serve, but also the impact that it has on their own lives.
Giving our precious time to the kids is a rewarding experience and once you get a taste of it you want to do it more.
The Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and a well-run VBS program demonstrates that principle for the volunteer.
3. VBS Impact On The Church
The target of a VBS program is the children.
However, the not-so-visible impact is on the families of these kids. These kids have great experiences and go home and share that with family members.
Many kids who attend VBS don’t belong to a church and this is an opportunity to expose your church to families in the community.
It is not uncommon for kids to come to Christ and then bring their families along for the ride.
Use VBS as a way to expose your church to families in the community. And sometimes you may find new members showing up because they loved what you did with their kids.
4. VBS Has An Impact On The Community
Every community loves to provide opportunities for neighbors to gather. There is often an event calendar that encourages community members to participate.
Local communities love having planned summer activities for kids. These local leaders want their neighborhood parents to have choices for kid summer activities.
A well-run VBS can impact the community by setting an example for organized and safe fun for kids.
This impacts the community because it demonstrates how the church is willing to invest time and resources into children.
VBS Is Declining
It is unfortunate by there are not as many Vacation Bible Schools as there used to be.
The Barna study also suggests that 68% of churches offered a Vacation Bible School (VBS) in 2012 which is down from 81% in 1997.
So why is the number decreasing if the data is clear that reaching children at a young age is important to influencing their commitment to Christ?
The study states that 30% of churches have stopped doing VBS because of a lack of volunteers and 19% because of not enough time.
Let’s talk about these barriers.
Lack of Volunteers
All churches struggle to find enough volunteers to support their programs and services.
To address this, it is important to create a volunteer program that is efficient and effective.
What this means is developing an organized system that creates a great experience for the volunteers.
If volunteers feel valued, and that the service they provide is a good use of their time, they will, in turn, be advocates and help to recruit others to help.
The secret is to create a great experience that the volunteer wants to share with their friends!
Not Enough Time
Vacation Bible School is a big church event and big events take significant time to plan.
Planning for VBS should begin months before the actual event so that there is ample time to prepare all of the logistical details.
For example, begin the planning process six months before the scheduled VBS and take that time to plan the details so the week of VBS, all you need to do is implement the plan.
We all get caught in a frenzy if we don’t take the time to plan. When the reality is, that effective planning is a time saver.
The Barna study data just validates what we all believe that the kids are worth the time and effort that is put into a great VBS.
We have several volunteer documents and job descriptions to give you a jump start on your VBS planning. You can also check out our event planning tools in our growing library of forms and job descriptions.
If you are a member you can access the library here. If you are not a member but would like to explore our library, you can see that here.