June 2018
I remember it… games of “Red-rover, Red-rover,” grape Kool-Aid and homemade cookies, crafts with popsicle sticks and tempera-paint, the Bible stories like “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,” the pledge to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Holy Bible, and that little thing they use to do on the piano that told you when to stand up and when to sit down. Do you remember? Summer after summer after summer it comes! Vacation Bible school may be one of the most enduringly popular children’s programs churches offer… almost Norman Rockwallesque!
According to some accounts, the first Vacation Bible School is attributed to the wife of a New York physician, Walter Aylett Hawes. In 1889, she rented a beer hall to house her Bible School for immigrant children. This concept quickly caught on and drew thousands of children. Today thousands of churches of all denominations typically present a one-week V.B.S. It’s been a summertime staple in countless congregations since then.
According to Jerry Wooley, VBS specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources of our own Southern Baptist Convention, “Vacation Bible School is the most effective evangelism strategy in the Southern Baptist Convention.” He says, “The whole point of Vacation Bible School is to lead the children who attend to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Bottom line, that’s it!”
According to the most recent year’s statistics, almost 3 million people were enrolled in VBS in Southern Baptist Churches alone. There were 94,980 decisions to accept Christ documented in those VBS program in SBC churches. Statistics show that is a 1.1 decision ratio between workers and children. In other words, for every one person trained as a VBS worker by our state conventions, one child was saved. That is phenomenal, when you consider that statistically SBC-wide it takes 44 people to win one person to Christ. According to that same statistical data 26% of the 364,826 baptisms in SBC churches were a direct result of VBS. Vacation Bible School’s effectiveness as an evangelism strategy among Southern Baptists is indisputable.
But that is not the only reason Vacation Bible School is so important. I believe that there is a Biblical mandate for what Vacation Bible School does. In Deuteronomy 11:18-19closeDeuteronomy 11:18-19 18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (ESV) closeDeuteronomy 11:18-19closeDeuteronomy 11:18-19 18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (ESV) 18 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (ESV) God is speaking and He says to His people (and to us), “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” You may not think that “macaroni-necklaces” constitute tying them as symbols on your hands and forehead, but I’m not so sure! What VBS does is really true to that verse… pointing children to God and His word, and the truths for life contained there.
Our Vacation Bible School this year is called, “Game On!: Gearing Up for Life’s Big Game” This year’s VBS Motto is “Gear up! Get Ready! Game On!,” and the Biblical theme verse is 2 Peter 1:3closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST', “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” Kids are under so much pressure… to perform well, to be the best, to balance schedules that are full to the brim, to excel in every arena. It can be overwhelming! But when we step back, we realize that the goal is not competing in our own strength. God has already given us everything we need! He’s given us His complete Word as the ultimate playbook. He’s given us Himself, which gives us a reason to celebrate. He wants us to join His team, to train hard, to celebrate our salvation, to encourage one another, and spur each other on. That’s the heart of this year’s VBS. Please be in prayer for our Vacation Bible School, June 19-22 from 8:30 to noon each day. Pray for our VBS teacher and workers and most of all pray for the children who will come, that they may come to know Jesus through Vacation Bible School.
Blessings, Bro. Buddy