Vacation Bible School brings to mind old images of marching around the church with flagpoles and a big Bible, of popsicle stick crafts, songs, Bible stories, and red juice and cookies. Once upon a time at our church VBS was scheduled from 9 to noon and it was two weeks long; or was that two long weeks? In the ’70s, we shortened the VBS to end on Wednesday of the second week with a Parents’ Program that evening. In the ’80s and ’90s, we changed to an evening format, Sunday night through Sunday night. The late 1990s brought Bible School Sunday through Friday evenings. These last two years we offer it Sunday through Thursday night. Every year VBS is very much the same, yet every year it is completely different. Young lives are impacted, memories of God and church are made, and the workers discover moments of joy and energy, even as their bodies grow tired and weary.
This year we are learning how to “Stand Strong.” God’s love helps us to stand strong. Family and friends help us to stand strong. Prayer helps us to stand strong. Trusting God helps us to stand strong. The Bible helps us to stand strong. Did you notice how much help we all need everyday to stand strong? During this VBS I am wondering how much the pride of self-sufficiency keeps me from recognizing all the resources available if I would only ask.
There will always be a place for something like Vacation Bible School, yet the trend seems to be that fewer churches are providing the VBS experience. Some churches are exploring alternative formats like three-day schools, or five Sunday evenings. Others are replacing VBS with sports camps and enrichment programs. Part of the issue is the cost of materials, part is the availability of workers, and part is the full schedules that boys and girls have in the summertime.
The overall goal is to assist in the spiritual formation of young lives, and the spiritual transformation of families and communities. And we always learn a lot from the children.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Help some one to stand strong. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.