Vacation Bible School Trains Children for Future Payoff
Judging by the absence of information on many church marquees in our area, coupled with school years that kick off in boiling August temperatures, the Vacation Bible School (VBS) season is over.
Many know about those a-week-or-longer-now-trimmed-to-three-day events, so familiar on the church landscape that they are often just called by their three-letter acronym.
Not all have ended, though. The church we used to attend until moving away from the area holds its VBS the first week of August.
That church’s event attracted a flock of kids and required volunteers to put in more than three hours a night, five nights a week—a sizeable commitment.
So, I didn’t miss it when churches elsewhere didn’t seem to have the same devotion to VBS.
However, after returning to the area, this year we resumed volunteering for VBS at our new church.
The downsized event, three nights of just over two hours each, proved more manageable.
So did a much smaller turnout and limiting enrollment to kids in grade five or younger. As I learned at our old church, a huge turnout doesn’t guarantee a quality event.
That was especially true the year a group of neighborhood “toughs” came with the sole purpose of disrupting the teens class. Sadly, they did a masterful job.
Given that experience, I was pleased that we had only about two dozen children at this year’s VBS.
Struggling to Maintain
Despite the more manageable size, I still found myself struggling to stay alert the first two evenings of the weekend event.
After overcoming a concussion a few months, I had endured a string of intense deadlines that kept me as emotionally and physically drained as my tumble down the stairs.
Since we had a family reunion the afternoon of the final evening session, I wondered how I would survive.
Fortunately, we got back home that day with enough time for me to take a one-hour nap, topped off by a shower and a cup of coffee.
Yet, it wasn’t the unexpected reprieve that adjusted my attitude heading into the concluding classes.
I credit our pastor for that. He delivered a timely sermon about how Jesus expects to treat children—with care and tenderness.
Caring for Kids
He pointed out that the events in the second passage took place a figurative 15 minutes after the first—right after Jesus instructed His disciples not to keep the children away from him. Yet, they tried a repeat.
“When Jesus saw it, He was indignant,” our pastor said. “He told them to let the children come to Him.
“The children are the ministry. The impact we have on kids is incalculable. The impact we have on our world as we raise our children in Him is incalculable.”
That almost sounds obvious. But in my fatigued state, I needed a reminder of the value of teaching scriptural lessons to youngers.
While it may take years before we see the fruit, there is no higher calling or worthwhile purpose.
On that final evening I had a chance to encourage several youngsters to be sure not to lose the suncatchers they made during arts and crafts.
Fashioned from paper plates and contact paper, these creations reminded me of the plaster-craft handprint I made in kindergarten—one I wish I had now.
“Keep ahold of that for 15 years and when you look back at it, you will remember what a great time you had at this VBS,” I told one girl.
Her smile lit up the room. That look alone made serving worthwhile.