Vacation Bible school has become a Summer tradition for many families. Churches usually have the goal of getting as many kids as possible to attend from the church and surrounding community. Some families even send their kids to VBS at multiple churches throughout the Summer. With VBS being so popular, there are some cautions churches should consider.
1- Be Cautious in How You Present Salvation.
It is easy for children to be manipulated into ‘making a decision.’ Years ago I heard VBS workers ask, “Who doesn’t want to go to Hell?” Many kids raise their hands (I would as well). They were then told that they needed to pray a prayer to keep from going to Hell. I have even seen prizes given to those who “get saved.” This kind of manipulation is simply a poor substitute for the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, and does not lead to true salvation.
Understand that there is a difference in trusting in a prayer and trusting in Jesus for salvation. If more attention is given to the child repeating a prayer than to understanding what Christ did for them and what it really means, then there is a major problem.
2- Be Committed to Following Up with Those Who Make Professions of Faith.
The command of the Great Commission is to make disciples; not just converts. To simply lead people to make a decision for Christ, but then fail to follow-up with them either demonstrates a concern only for numbers or disorganization. Either way, it is the kids who are hurt. Develop a system to follow-up with those who make decisions during the week of VBS.
3- Don’t Try to Steal Families from Other Churches.
Let’s be reminded that the goal is to reach the unchurched. If people are involved in a Bible-believing church, we should encourage them to stay there. The goal is not to grow our kingdom (church) by adding more ‘already’ saved people. The goal is to see people give their lives to Christ. Keep the focus on evangelism and reaching the unchurched.
4- Don’t Neglect Worship.
Sometimes the focus in VBS programs is so much on entertainment that kids never understand that the church is to worship. They are passively taught that church equals entertainment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m not saying that kids shouldn’t have fun. But I am saying that kids should be able to understand the importance of worshipping God in the context of the Church.
VBS is a great opportunity to reach unchurched kids (and families), teach them about God’s love, and demonstrate love to the community. Let’s be cautious to avoid the dangers that have a tendency to plague VBS programs.