I just completed spearheading a great committee of people as we planned our church’s 75th “diamond jubilee” anniversary celebration. As we pored over the documents about our history, we found ourselves in awe of the ways God in His grace and faithfulness has sustained and built—and continues to build—His Church, and our church in particular. One of the stunning stories is of how one elderly “mystery couple” (no one knows their names) in the 1920’s began praying for the children who were playing in the streets of Seattle on Sunday mornings rather than going to church. They shared their burden with a woman and her daughter, Ida and Gladys Kaiser, who went on to begin a Sunday School ministry that bore tremendous fruit and eventually became a church—our church—that continues to this day.
Ida was just an ordinary woman, willing to do whatever God called her to. But she was extraordinary in a very important way. You see, she belonged to what was then the largest Protestant church in the world. This church was planting Sunday schools all across the city, and the church leaders wanted very much for her Sunday School ministry to be under its auspices. But Ida had been witnessing her church, along with many evangelical churches of the day, succumb to the current trend away from a strong commitment to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God. She stood firm in her decision to keep her Sunday School ministry separate lest it, too, fall away from holding tightly to the Bible as our “only rule of faith and practice.”
That unwavering commitment became the DNA of our church, which continues to faithfully preach God’s Word today, 93 years after Ida began praying for those children. That is what enables a church, and I would submit, its VBS ministry, to have lasting eternal impact. Let’s be creative, and keep VBS fresh, but let’s never follow current trends that would lead us away from the Word of God. Only strong Biblical teaching, challenging Scripture memory, and a clear, daily presentation of the Gospel will make our VBS ministries stand the true test of time in God’s economy!