Dear Church Family and Friends,
Emotions can be such tricky things. In the weeks leading up to Vacation Bible School this year, I felt my enthusiasm waning and my energy dropping, and I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to do this whole thing again. But the Lord reminded me that we do not wrestle flesh and blood but the spiritual powers of darkness. After a period of fasting and prayer, I emerged with the joy of the Lord as my strength, and Monday morning, I was reminded why I love VBS.
I love the joyful worship.
There’s nothing like a room of full of kids and teens singing, literally, “SHOUT to the Lord” or “10,000 Reasons” or even the evergreen “I’m in the Lord’s Army.” Not a couple of weeks ago, I led an adult congregation in singing the triumphal “To God Be the Glory,” and to my horror, I could count a half-dozen faces neither singing nor smiling. (Do such people know Jesus?) This doesn’t happen much at VBS. Oh, there are a few teenagers too self-conscious to sing out very loud (they need Jesus), but there are so many more who allow themselves to be caught up in praising the Lord!
I love the youthful enthusiasm,
…but I’m not talking about the kids. I’m talking about the necessary joy and selfless abandon required to minister to people so much younger than oneself. I love watching brothers and sisters in their 60s smiling, singing, loving, serving, and not giving the slightest care to what anyone but God thinks of what they are doing. I draw so much energy from them and from the kids that I find myself doing things during VBS I wouldn’t have the energy for any other time of year. If anyone says that children / youth ministry will make you die young, they’re right. But you’ll be in your 90s when you do!
I love watching our youth serve the Lord.
“Brother Aaron, can I help this year?” It’s the question I get almost every year from yet another teenager from the congregation, and what should I say? “No, you just sit in your class, do your crafts, and when you’re old enough…” No way! If a teen is faithful to our church and has demonstrated a true servant’s attitude and has shown that he or she really wants to serve God, we absolutely want them helping. And they do, and they do so well. I’ve watched some of our youth pitch in when they were younger, helping out with little things like decorating and cleaning up, and now they’re helping to plan and lead, even leading kids to Christ. What a blessing to pastor young believers in serving God side-by-side!
I love working with Bro. N____.
This man has been coming to Dixons Mills for the past 27 years, and though he’s entered his 7th decade, he comes, he works, he leads, he worships, and the students adore him. He is a gift from the Lord to this church! But don’t think he’s a special case (though he is special); he’s an example to be followed, as a man who has all the responsibilities of any man with a job and large family but who sets them aside for the priority of serving the Savior at VBS each year. May God prolong his years, and may they be blessed!
I love talking about missions in front of kids and teenagers.
One of the pillars of our VBS is our daily missions offering. The offering taken up every day is added up at the end of the week and sent to one of the missionaries that our church partners with for advancing the Gospel. Now, at our church, we support our missionaries directly. So, at the end of VBS, I introduce actual missionaries to the kids – names and faces and places, not boards and programs. When I’ve presented the missionaries to the VBS kids, they pray and then vote on which missionary they want to send the money to. This missionary will then receive the entire offering.
It’s exciting, I tell you! These aren’t missionaries selected for us by a board or denomination, but men and women who have visited our church a number of times and whom the Lord has led us to support personally. And I get to set these trophies of God’s grace on display before the eyes of children and teenagers who have yet to grasp just how God might use them to make a difference for eternity. Missions is at the heart of our church, and it is such a joy to share this passion at VBS!
I love the amazing opportunities God gives us each year
I’m reminded of the comment attributed to the 19th century evangelist, D. L. Moody. After a meeting one night, he was asked how things had gone, and he replied, “We had two and a half conversions.” The inquirer responded, “You mean two adults and one child were saved?” “No,” replied Moody, “Two children and one adult. The adult has only half his life left.” Vacation Bible School is an opportunity to set the trajectory for an entire life. When a child is saved, he receives God for his Father, Christ for his Lord, and the Holy Spirit for his power and direction. He may return to a terrible home and may not be able to participate in a Gospel-centered church for years, but this is no match for the preserving and transforming power of the Triune God! I still meet people who were saved decades ago through the Gospel preaching of a VBS. Lives are changed!
It’s also the kinds of kids that are reached through VBS that amaze me. We’re a relatively small church (on a national scale), but we often draw three times our regular Sunday attendance through Vacation Bible School. This is by God’s grace, of course, but he blesses us to be able to touch the lives of so many that are otherwise out of reach. So many children, who would not come on a Sunday morning, walk through our doors to the strains of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” into a room brightly lit and decorated to reflect some theme, led by Christian adults who love them with the love of Christ. Rich and poor, black and white, high achievers and not – they’re all welcome, and they all come. VBS is the one time of the year that we have the greatest opportunity to minister to those who will shape our community in the years to come.
“Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world!”
For His glory and your joy,
What makes for a great VBS? Tell me your ideas! Better yet, if you’ve ever experienced Central Baptist Church’s VBS, share some of your memories here in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!