Here in the South, many churches still have VBS; but I know that it is not as prevalent as it once was. When my children were elementary age, a kid could spend the summer going to all the Vacation Bible Schools around town. Now there are not so many. I believe that VBS can still be an important activity for the community and church.
For the community, VBS functions as a wholesome activity for school age children who are home for the summer. It draws neighborhoods together when children and their parents meet the other families living nearby. The children have a wonderful time together and forge new friendships. As a retired teacher, I know that the activities that are planned for the week are the exciting hands-on variety that kids will love! In addition, from experience, I know that the materials, time, and location are convenient for even the busiest families.
For my church, VBS is one of the most important outreach activities of the year. Children who have never been to our church or, perhaps, any church, will attend. We will present the gospel message in a warm and inviting atmosphere in a friendly, not overbearing, way. Children will have the opportunity to consider God and His son Jesus for themselves and share what they are discovering with their families. Every year, children make important spiritual decisions that affect how they will choose to live their lives. Influenced by their children, the parents may realize their own need for God in their lives.
VBS promotes Christian growth. As teachers prepare for the week, they are spending time studying scripture and in prayer. During Bible school, workers do the work that Christ called them to do in the Great Commission, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20). Because of VBS, both children and adults grow closer and more faithful to The Lord.
Bible writers recorded Jesus’s instruction about children in three gospels. In those days, children were to be seen and not heard. They were not as important in that culture as they are in ours. The fact that Jesus took time to bless the children and speak with them made His command even more important to the disciples as no other religious leader of that day would have taken the time to do so. Jesus told his disciples not to hinder the children from approaching Him. (See Matt. 19:14,
Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16). He was letting His disciples know that children are important to God. God the Father makes Himself available to listen to, encourage, and help children just as He does with adults. Jesus also used the children as a model of faith for adults. God accepts those who run to His arms with faith and trust like little children run to their parents.
Jesus made it clear that children should be taught about God so that they can receive His blessings. Those who are willing to work with children receive the blessing of witnessing the faith of a child and of learning to approach the Father with love and trust.