By Sam Luce
This previous yr has been one of many tougher of our lifetimes. There has been a lot loss and far issue, however there have been some surprising blessings as effectively. One of these blessings in disguise is the killing of church-as-usual and programs-as-tradition. It has brought on us to consider why we do what we do.
This was a fruitful train as a result of it might probably lay the groundwork for beginning one thing new or evaluating one thing previous and create a plan to start out once more. Twenty years in the past, I led VBS as a result of I believed that’s what I used to be alleged to do as a brand new children pastor. I did it for about 5 years however didn’t get the buy-in or the traction that the trouble required of me, my staff, and our volunteers.
I’m additionally ashamed to confess that I fell into the varsity of thought that VBS was outdated; I used to be fallacious! After a 12-year break, we began to do VBS once more. Regardless of our opinions, most Americans are fairly pro-VBS. Findings from Lifeway Research present that almost all (95%) American dad and mom—no matter how typically they attend church—say their children had a positive expertise at VBS.
What’s extra, an analogous quantity (94%) mentioned VBS helped their youngster higher perceive the Bible, and 95% agreed VBS was probably the most significant church experiences for his or her youngster.
Here are a number of causes we began once more and why it might be an important merchandise in your church calendar.
Your unchurched neighbors are open to it.
We dwell in a really pluralistic society that doesn’t worth church however values traditions. Many dad and mom have younger children who both don’t go to church or sometimes attend church however have nice VBS recollections. They need their children to have these recollections and put their children in VBS earlier than taking them to a church service on the weekend.
It’s an efficient solution to associate with dad and mom.
Having 15 hours within the VBS week to talk new truths or reinforce what’s being taught at house is invaluable. The new “regular attendees” customary is now 12 to 24 Sundays a yr. VBS provides you a pleasant chunk of time to drill down into core truths children want on the earth we now dwell in.
Partnering with dad and mom begins with equipping dad and mom. Doing VBS with this in thoughts makes VBS extra priceless than a easy stand-alone program.
It brings the church collectively.
VBS must be a whole-church focus. It can’t be one thing solely your division does, or an execution of the identical handful of volunteers who do every little thing else within the church. I did a children department-focused VBS years in the past and simply completed a church-driven VBS. The distinction is night time and day.
It’s a discipleship device for the households in your church.
Reaching new households must be a spotlight however not the entire focus. We need to attain new households, however we additionally have to construct foundations for our households. Picking the appropriate curriculum is important. VBS is greater than an outreach device; it’s a gospel-shaping supply system for the entire household.
Our church has modified. We nonetheless care in regards to the weekend service, however we care extra about intentional methods to assist with non secular formation and discipleship. The stats again this up. According to Lifeway’s analysis, a staggering 88% of respondents mentioned VBS positively affected their non secular progress as a toddler, and 96% really feel it has positively affected their youngster’s non secular progress.
If how and why we do VBS adjustments, it may be an efficient device to strengthen your whole church’s framework. I hope you pray about how it is best to do VBS.
Some concepts on methods to rethink VBS in our present COVID world:
Backyard Bible School
This is a superb possibility as a result of it means that you can attain neighborhoods and youngsters you wouldn’t usually attain. It additionally means that you can be extra versatile and maintain teams smaller, which can be necessary relying in your state’s guidelines or the speed of infections in your space.
Regional Bible School
This is once more a solution to have a smaller setting within the communities that will attend your church however would be capable of invite extra neighbors. One of the issues we’ve got to take a look at in regard to our VBS being an outreach is how far individuals who don’t attend our church are prepared to drive.
VBS Tent Edition
Rent tents and use them for extra spacing or for full outside VBS if indoor assembly is shut down once more this yr.
My encouragement for you is to do VBS this yr. The children in your church and group want connection, discipleship, and hope greater than ever. Do VBS even if you happen to don’t normally do it. Our world post-COVID has modified as a result of individuals have modified.
We’re going to need to assume smaller, be extra intentional, and show extra flexibility, not simply now, however on the opposite facet of the COVID disaster.
Sam lives in upstate New York along with his spouse and 4 kids. He has served because the pastor of households at Redeemer Church for the previous 23 years. Read extra at his weblog SamLuce.com.
This publish initially appeared on lifewayresearch.com.