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Why Vacation Bible School is as important now as ever

Unsplash/Erika Giraud
Unsplash/Erika Giraud

He’s older now. Retired, but not done. He doesn’t move quickly, and his hearing is not great. For thirty years, he shepherded our church. We call him “Brother Bob.” All of Bradenton calls him that. He’s a passionate evangelist for evangelism. Give him a minute of your time, and you’ll hear him share the Gospel. Boldly. Without apology. 

A couple of years ago, he brought three children to Vacation Bible School. Two of them accepted Christ. In fact, dozens of children, even a few parents, have accepted Christ in the last few years at our VBS. Countless Gospel seeds were planted. 

What other program or event bears this kind of fruit in a one-week timeframe? VBS is a local mission trip that just about any church can do. Here is why it’s important to my church, West Bradenton.

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Multiple generations come together. For one intense week, a multi-generational army unites around the good news of Jesus. It’s one of the most beautiful scenes in ministry.

People from the neighborhood show up. The Holy Spirit guides families from their front yards to our front door. VBS is an opportunity for us to be good neighbors. 

The gospel is the central focus. The reason we do VBS is to share the gospel. Undoubtedly, the games, activities, and skits are a lot of fun. But the focal point is telling children about Jesus. Everything else is periphery to the grand purpose of sharing with a child, “Here is how Jesus saves you.” 

Men get to be kids. Our VBS happens at night, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. There are several reasons for this timeslot, but one of the biggest is that a later time gives many men in our church the opportunity to serve. The women at West Bradenton always step up in incredible ways, but there’s something special about seeing a middle-aged man in a colorful wig doing kid song motions.

Unity in the church is strengthened. VBS is one of the least controversial ministries a church can offer. The collective effort strengthens bonds between generations. We all share the same moment together, and the memories made build bridges among people who would otherwise not interact with each other.

We carry with us the legacy of Brother Bob and his generation. Some in our church are in their fifth or sixth decade of VBS. When I’m older and retired, when my hearing is gone and I don’t move as quickly, I hope to bring children to VBS just like Brother Bob. VBS is as important now as ever. I believe it will be just as vital in the future. Every year, we all get VBS-tired, but it’s worth it. Every bit of it.

Originally published at Church Answers. 

Sam Rainer is president of Church Answers and pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Florida. 

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