July 18, 2016
Vacation Bible school is not working as well as it once did. Should churches take a cue from their communities?
I totally agree with your insight: "What if instead of trying to reboot VBS to fit our own needs, we asked the community about theirs?"
That is exactly what we did three years ago, and since then our VBS program has been a huge spiritual and relationship-building success.
Instead of the traditional, come to Bible School five nights during the week, we took into consideration the voices and needs of the surrounding community.
Now we have VBS one day (all day on Saturday) with a closing program and skit that the kids perform on Sunday. Parents love it. The kids remember the simple one theme lesson. The community loves it. In fact, we even got some press coverage out of it this year.
Here is the link: http://bit.ly/2aI2E8z
The primary problem with VBS isn't the schedule issue. If your concern is convenience then yes, but I believe the real concern should be permeating the gospel of Jesus Christ into the life of the community and, more importantly, the child.
The problem is, quite frankly, VBS is straight boring. You're acquiring adult volunteers, whom they receive enough contact with via school, home, or Sunday school, with limited amounts of fun because of the facilities and, while the content of the messages may be attractive and have a cute theme with them, if the kids aren't anticipating excitement then they won't listen and they won't associate the beauty of Christ with the enjoyment of the program.
What VBS needs is a total transformation given our entertainment-oriented culture. It has to be completely rebuilt, while retaining the Word of God of course, if we desire to draw the affections and minds of the next generation.
Budget of course can be a barrier or prevention for this to happen, but hey, Matthew 6:24
Check out Pine Cove's Camp in the City: http://www.pinecove.com/summer-camps/camp-city
This^^^ is how it should be.
Keep in mind, I am an employee for this camp, and I have limited experience in VBS, just onlooking and attending as a child.
Peace and love.
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