Why VBS Matters, Part I

VBS Reachout

Some time ago a meeting took me to the top of a Seattle high rise, giving me a new perspective—a bird’s-eye view–of an area I’d driven through thousands of times before. In the distance stood the snow-capped Olympic mountains; in the foreground, a landscape filled with the prolific firs of our Evergreen State—all except for one patch. Amid the sea of deep green stood a circle of trees you couldn’t miss, with stunningly brilliant red leaves.

In the landscape of the church’s ministries, I believe VBS similarly stands out from other (also beautiful) children’s programs. It’s such a significant, one-of-a-kind ministry—usually the church’s largest and often only evangelistic outreach to children—that to remove it from the church’s priorities leaves a truly momentous* hole. (*mo·men·tous:  adj. extremely important or crucial, especially in its effect on the future course of events) ...read more...

Why Not You?

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There has never before been as great a need for prayerful diligence and creative initiative in getting children engaged in reading and learning the Bible. According to the latest research done collaboratively by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society, Bible skepticism is inversely linked to Bible engagement. Their 2014 study revealed that “The number of those who are skeptical or agnostic toward the Bible—who believe that the Bible is ‘just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice’—has nearly doubled from 10% to 19% in just three years.”* Their research showed that two-thirds of those are 48 or younger, and compared to all adults, this demographic is less likely to read or own a Bible, or to believe it contains all we need for living a meaningful life. Their conclusion was striking: “Given the increase in Millennials who don’t believe the Bible is sacred and the decrease in Bible awareness among Millennials, Bible skepticism will likely continue to rise in the next five years.” ...read more...

Raise the Bar at Your VBS and Get Ready to be Amazed!

VBS Reachout - Raise the Bar

“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. ...read more...