Year after year, Vacation Bible School is the most evangelistic event in the Southern Baptist Convention. VBS accounts for at least one out of every four baptisms both nationally and in Arkansas. This does not happen by accident; it takes purpose and planning. Let’s look at five things we can do to intentionally share the gospel through VBS.
Salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit. We need to be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit is at work around us. This begins with prayer. As a church we need to pray together for the ministry of VBS and what God wants to do. We need to pray for the leaders and those who will be attending. Prayer is how every church member can be a part of the ministry of VBS. Consider having a prayer list for church members to use either leading up to VBS. Provide additional requests for those who may be out of town during VBS so they can pray for specific events even if they are not in town. Have a prayer room open for those who cannot serve during VBS but can come at other times and pray. This prayer room can include the names of children who are pre-registered but do not have a church home, those leading in VBS, the lesson being taught and other requests that may arise.
2) Plan with evangelism in mind
As a church determine when can we reach the most unchurched families? The answer to this question will vary from community to community. For some it may be at night. Others might find that a weekend or all-day program is best. Other questions to be considered include: Do we need to provide transportation? Would having registration off-site bring in more families from the community? Are we providing our church families with tools they can use to invite their neighbors and coworkers? Are we publicizing to those outside the church?
3) Train leaders
People who are equipped to share the gospel do so more often. Provide training for all VBS workers. No matter what role someone has in VBS, their most important job is to look for opportunities to share God’s love. Training videos are available through Lifeway (Leading a Child to Christ) and the North American Mission Board (Show & Tell; Sharing God’s Special Plan). There are also a variety of tracts that can be used for training and sharing the gospel. Here are a few: The ABCs of Becoming a Christian (Lifeway), God’s Special Plan (NAMB), Dare to be a Daniel: Steps to Peace with God (Billy Graham Association).
4) Share the gospel
Most Vacation Bible Schools emphasize the gospel heavily on one day, but that is not the only day the gospel can be shared. Be committed to sharing the gospel as much as possible in both large and small group settings. Each time there is a worship rally, talk about what it means to be a Christian and give children a chance to respond. During small group Bible study, connect the lesson to becoming a Christian and give students a chance to respond. Find a way to intentionally share the good news at least once each day. Some churches have even developed an evangelism rotation as a part of each VBS session where the gospel is shared in a different way each day. Have a Family Night Event, Picnic, or Celebration Service where the good news can be shared with families as well as VBS attendees.
5) Follow up
Evangelism does not end with the last session of VBS. Enlist a team to visit the homes of attendees who make decisions during VBS as well as those who do not have a church home. By visiting families of those who make decisions during VBS, families can understand the decisions made and how they can be supportive. It also gives family members a chance to hear and respond to the gospel as well. Those who attend VBS and do not have a church home are a mission field at our doorstep. These families are God-given opportunities to share His love and the support of a local church family.