It’s summertime where the long, hot summer days stretch out before us. It’s also the season for Vacation Bible School. All over the country and the world preparations are being made. Faithful workers are cutting out construction paper shapes and putting together craft kits; church members are gathering supplies, bags of candy, goldfish or baked goods for snack time; teachers are studying and preparing their Bible lessons and VBS coordinators are busy, busy, busy putting final details into place.All these volunteers are working together to make the week of VBS the best time for the kids who will gather to pray and sing songs, play games, make crafts, have snacks and, most importantly, hear wonderful Bible stories that teach them about who God is and how much He loves them.
My earliest memories of VBS go back to when I was a child. Each summer, my Mom would let us invite friends to come with us for the week. We would go around sometimes to two or three different houses and pick up our friends and take them to our church. For some of these friends who didn’t normally go to church it was their first introduction to stories from the Bible. I especially remember when I was old enough (maybe twelve) to help out in the classroom with the little kids. I felt so responsible and grown up.
What I enjoyed as a child, I treasure even more now. Why do I love VBS? For so many reasons. But mostly, I love VBS for the imprint and the impact it can make on the heart of a child. Those of us who work with children know the importance of concentrated time to build into our kids spiritually, to introduce them to Jesus, and to prepare their hearts to be open to the Lord’s call on their lives. On Sunday mornings we have such a limited time to teach our children valuable lessons from God’s Word. So the extended time we have with VBS allows us the opportunity to go deeper and help to make God’s Word come alive to these children who are depending on us adults to teach them about having a personal relationship with Christ.
I also love VBS because God’s Word never goes out void (Isa 55:11). For many years at Dallas Seminary, it has been my privilege to read over the applications of our incoming students. As they tell their stories about trusting Christ as their personal Savior, so many of them would recall how VBS had such a big influence on them…sometimes when they were a young child and sometimes many years later as they reflect back upon their experience. God had been guiding them all along the way.
And this year I’ve come to love VBS even more in a new way. My students who have sat in the seminary classes I teach are out there now leading the efforts for VBS. As I talk with them and stay connected, I’ve been encouraged and excited to see their Facebook posts, pictures and updates on how each day of VBS has been going. Kids are being taught and cared for. They are having fun as they experience and learn about God’s great love for them.
So, to my students and those of you in the midst of VBS preparations, keep up the good work! Don’t be wearing in well-doing (Gal 6:9-10). Fight the good fight (2 Tim 4:7). The hard work is all worth it. You are planting seeds and God will take care of the increase (1 Cor 3:5-9). It may be now, or it may be years down the road, but those memories that you are creating today DO have an impact on those bright-eyed faces that come through your doors.
God Bless you, VBS workers, for the eternal investment you are making in the lives of these children! Your service does not go unnoticed.