LifeWay research confirms that Vacation Bible School is one of the most effective evangelism methods that God uses to call children to salvation.* That reason alone should encourage churches, of any size, to provide a summer VBS for kids in their churches and neighborhoods. However, that’s not the only benefit VBS brings to the church. It is also an effective tool for leadership development.
Not only does LifeWay research reveal this secondary benefit, but I can testify to it from my own experience. I taught Vacation Bible School for the first time when I was 13 years old. Actually, I directed the sixth-grade “department” (that’s what we called the age groups back then). So, not only was I taking on a leadership role at a very young age, but I was also leading a team of teachers who were older than I was while teaching children who were only a year or so younger. Teens in smaller churches, like mine was, often learn by getting thrown in over their heads. I still remember one boy, when he found out I was only 13, saying “Man, why am I doing what she says?” Fortunately, I had lots of adult support. And, I had a great time! I learned a lot about myself that week: I could organize, I could create fun craft ideas, and I could tell Bible stories that were meaningful to my peers. Subsequently, organizing, creating, and telling became central to my calling as an everyday missionary.
VBS isn’t just for the kids. It’s also a great entry-level opportunity for potential church leaders. With the right training and support, people who’ve never taught or led may discover that God had blessed them with these spiritual gifts. The leadership skills practiced in Vacation Bible School will spill over into other areas of the church. I continued to teach VBS every summer and became a leader in our youth group. When I graduated from high school, I began teaching 5th and 6th graders in Sunday School. I eventually became a children’s minister, then the director of church strengthening at DBA. There are young women and men just like me in your church–people who will bloom when given the opportunity.
A good Vacation Bible School doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. You can use curriculum, or you can just use your Bible. You can have aged-divided “departments,” or you can meet in your front yard with kids in the neighborhood. You can have 100 teachers, or just 2. You can buy a lot of craft supplies or make all kinds of stuff with toilet paper rolls and macaroni. Organize it, be creative, and give potential leaders in your church the opportunity to tell others about Jesus.
It’s not too late to plan a fantastic week of Vacation Bible School for the kids in your community! Let us help.
*Holmes, Landry. It’s Worth It: Uncovering How One Week Can Transform Your Church. LifeWay Christian Resources, 2018.