OceanSide church of Christ
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THE BENEFITS OF A VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Victor M. Eskew
Vacation Bible Schools happen in congregations almost every summer. Some are week-long events. Some are conducted in one day. Some are focused upon children only. Others focus upon children and adults. Vacation Bible Schools are highly anticipated events. They involve many members of the local congregation. They usually involved much time and quite a bit of expense. They come. They go. There is excitement. Then, the excitement quickly subsides after the event. We might ask ourselves: “Is VBS really worth it?” The answer is: “Yes.” There are many benefits that come from Vacation Bible School. Let’s look at a few of them in this article.
One of the benefits of VBS is its evangelistic outreach. The mission of the church is the same as the mission of Jesus Christ while He was on the earth, to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10; Mark 16:15-16). Vacation Bible Schools are usually widely advertised. Children are constantly encouraged to bring someone with them. Many visitors from the community are usually in attendance. This provides the church with an opportunity to teach. It was our Lord who said: “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (John 6:45). VBS gives non-Christians the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. This teaching is essential for them to come to Christ for salvation (Rom. 10:13-17).
Another benefit of Vacation Bible School is centered in the word “growth.” There can be outward growth to the congregation when individuals are added to the body of Christ after they obey the gospel (Acts 2:47). Too, there is inward growth for all those who are involved in the effort. Everyone who actively pays attention to the teachings of God’s Word will grow. Peter promised this in I Peter 2:2. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” God’s Word is food for the soul. It is nourishment to the spiritual man. Those who partake of it will grow. Still others will grow through the exercise of their faith. Many will step forward and do things for a VBS that they have not done in times past. Some will teach a class. Some will lead small teams of people who will provide refreshments or decorate the building or bulletin boards. Some will take roll, lead singing, pick up children in a van or bus, or assist in preparing Bible school material. All of these efforts will cause a person to grow to a new level in his/her Christian life.
A third benefit of VBS is the excitement of a challenge. When congregations are involved in large works, there is an excitement that is generated among the members. The church is challenged to stretch herself beyond her normal limits. Goals for attendance are set. There are often skits and puppet shows that are conducted. Deep inside the hearts of the participants is the desire to accomplish the mission. Individuals will give many extra hours of labor to make VBS a great success. (NOTE: This excitement is a shot in the arm to the church. Be aware, however, that after such an effort there is usually a letdown. Individuals are often tired. After the effort passes, the excitement dwindles quickly).
A fourth benefit of a Vacation Bible School is obedience to God’s Word. Teaching, as mentioned before, is a vital component of the church’s work. The lost are to be taught (Matt. 28:18-20). The young are to be taught (Tit. 2:3-4). The faithful are to be instructed (II Tim. 2:2). Every time, therefore, we teach the Word of God, we are obeying the precepts of God’s Word. Obedience is a crucial matter. It proves we love God (John 14:15). It makes us like Jesus Christ (John 8:29). It give us hope of eternal life (Matt. 7:21). (NOTE: VBS is a very intense time of teaching for the church. Many classes are going on simultaneously. Too, these classes are being taught many days in a row. It could be that a month of normal teaching is done in just a matter of three to five days).
A fifth benefit of VBS is the fellowship involved among the members of the church. The early church came together on a daily basis when the church was first established. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness, and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46). These times together were times to provoke one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25). VBS mimics the daily fellowship of the first century church. The members who participate become more aware of each person’s daily battles. They grow closer to one another. The fellowship they share is more than just a simple shake of the hands from week to week.
Vacation Bible Schools are good works. They reach out in evangelistic activity. They provide many opportunities for church and individual growth. They bring excitement to the local work. They involve obedience to God’s Word. And, they bring the church together in rich fellowship. Let us never develop a humdrum attitude toward this effort. Let’s invest ourselves in our Vacation Bible School. Let’s milk it for all the benefits that we can receive from it. Let’s do as Paul exhorted the servants to do in their work. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).