“Children rise to the level of expectation set for them” has long been advocated and well documented in educational circles. Yet when it comes to VBS, churches tend to forget this golden truth!
Too often we set the bar low in what we think our kids can learn at VBS, and consequently decide to water down what we offer them. I don’t know all the reasons for that; perhaps it’s because in VBS we’re reaching out to kids who aren’t used to being in church or who don’t know much about the Bible or the Gospel, and we’re afraid of putting them off. Maybe it’s because we think kids won’t come if VBS feels too much like school, that they can’t possibly equate learning with having a fun time. Or maybe we think VBS is just too short a time for kids to really learn anything of consequence. Whatever the reason, many churches have reduced VBS to a “sports camp” week of fun and games with some basic “lite” teaching tacked on, rather than providing a life-changing time of learning deep truths from the Word of God while having great fun in the process.
The saddest part of this is the many missed opportunities for introducing children to the riches of Scripture and the God who authored them—the great majority of Christians say they came to faith in their childhood years. But there’s another sad reality to what the “dumbing down” of VBS leads to—VBS burnout. Pastoral leadership may well pull the plug on VBS altogether, deciding that what essentially amounts to entertaining and “babysitting” kids simply requires too much time and energy–that it’s not a worthwhile investment of church resources.
So I say let’s raise the bar! It’s astonishing what kids can learn even in 5 short days. Let’s not waste the opportunity VBS week brings us to introduce kids to the deep riches of God’s Word and the amazingly profound, many-faceted truths of the Gospel. Reachout’s programs have a long track record proving not only how much kids can learn, but how much they LOVE learning at VBS. It’s the children themselves who can’t wait for VBS to start, who cry when it’s over, and who invite their friends to join them year after year.
Watch for our upcoming blog posts on specific ways to raise the bar in your VBS. We promise you’ll be amazed at the results!