Sharing the gospel with kids during Vacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School can be traced back to 1894 to Mrs. D.T. Miles, a Sunday School teacher who had a desire to teach children the Bible more intently, thus the first daily Bible school began, lasting four weeks. In 1898, children’s director Eliza Hawes in New York City took it to the next level when she started a daily Bible school which lasted six weeks for inner city kids. Since then, the phenomenon of taking an extended time during the summer to invest in teaching children about God’s word has escalated. Churches today can pick from multiple VBS themes, curricula and formats to implement into their summer programs, but have we missed capturing the Big Picture?
VBS was not created to have the best decorated room or the best music and entertainment for children. Although these are great components—the main reason VBS was created was to have more time to teach kids about God’s word and an opportunity to introduce them to the gospel. Of all the events that fill up a church calendar, VBS can end up being one of the largest evangelistic events of the year.
Here are some pointers to zoom in on to get the Big Picture in sharing the gospel with kids this summer:
Start with the Right Gear—Prayer: Start today praying for your upcoming VBS, the children and families that will be involved. Pray specifically for God to provide the opportunity for the gospel to be shared and make an impact for His kingdom. Enlist a prayer team to start praying today, and continue to pray, especially during the week of VBS.
Don’t forget your Focus: When you’re planning out your strategy and mapping out your route for your adventure this summer, don’t forget the main focus of VBS. Incorporate times into the daily schedule to zoom in on the gospel, whether this is during the Bible Study time, large group time, or another rotation. Don’t wait until day 3 or 4 of VBS, because you may miss an opportunity with a child. Focus in on the gospel each day.
Train the Guides: Behind every well executed plan is a well-trained team. Your leaders need to have the confidence to lead the kids they will be encountering this summer. As great as it is to provide tips and suggestions for the fun décor, the most important thing to zoom in on is training your leaders and volunteers on how to share the gospel with kids. Pick a guidebook that fits your team, and train your leaders on sharing the gospel (i.e. How to Lead a Child to Christ, The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me). Provide tips and tools to help all your leaders understand the importance of sharing the gospel during VBS—preschool teachers included. Preschool leaders play such a pivotal role in planting seeds of the gospel in a child’s early years.
- Display your Masterpieces—Follow Up: Great pictures are made to be shared. Be intentional on following up, and share with the families that attended VBS. Family nights are a great way to display what God has done during VBS. Be sure to connect after your big week, especially with the families new to your church and with the children who made decisions or had additional questions during VBS. Help your families and parents get the Big Picture of VBS as well.
With these few pointers in place, hopefully you’ll be right on track to a successful VBS adventure this summer. For additional helps in getting the big picture for VBS, visit absc.org/vbs for VBS trainings near you and additional resources to help you zoom in on amazing encounters with Jesus this summer.