Vacation Bible Schools are in full swing already and will go on through the next several weeks. Even so, I wonder if we aren’t missing the mark on VBS.
Before I go on, let me say I’m a big fan of VBS. I think VBS is a fantastic event on multiple levels. Primarily, it’s a great way to reach out to kids who don’t normally go to church and to teach them the basics or foundations of who Christ is and what He means to us. Often, those kids will then turn around and either teach their parents what they’ve learned in church or they may even get their parents interested in church. In my book, that’s a win/win situation.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe VBS used to be held by every church on the exact same week in many communities–in general, that is. Every church did the same VBS then as many do now, but they were all doing it at the same time. Kids went to their own church, and invited their friends who didn’t go to church to go with them.
And it worked.
It was a great way to get new families involved in churches.
The problem as I see it now, though, is that VBS is spread out over the summer, and for the most part, many of the churches are doing the same VBS. What happens is that “church kids” end up attending several different VBSs, often getting the same programs.
Sure, they still invite some of their friends, but many times those friends are kids who are already members of a different church.
Essentially, VBS has become just a sheep-swapping event. Or a glorified babysitting service for the church families.
I have heard it said that the churches now alternate weeks because it is just a “courtesy” thing. Maybe I missed it, or maybe it’s simply semantics, but I didn’t realize that VBS was intended to be a courtesy thing. I never really looked at the church’s responsibility of getting people into the church (and hopefully, eventually “saved”) as courtesy. Since when did stepping on the toes of our neighbor churches take precedence over the eternal salvation of kids?
Why has it become more important to take turns doing VBS than to get non church members interested in attending church?
It seems to make better sense if the churches would all get together (don’t most communities have some sort of ministerial alliance for this thing?) and pick a single week for VBS—a single week for all churches to do VBS—a big massive push for the same VBS program, and then have our kids go out and invite kids who have no home church.
Maybe it’s just me – and that’s okay, too, I’m not unaccustomed to being a lone voice in the woods.