I love Vacation Bible School. I look forward to it every year. I’ve served in VBS where the kids totaled 400. I’ve served in VBS where the kids totaled 35. Each year takes on new space in my head and heart. This year is no different. These are a few of my favorite things about VBS 2014, and in no particular order:
1. Watching my rising 6th graders take on leadership roles they’ve been chomping at the bit to do since last year. If I’ve done my job well over the last several years, they know where everything is in the storage closets because I’ve sent them there often enough to help gather supplies.
2. Listening to the storytellers, our most energetic teachers, share the intensity of each day’s ‘moments.’
3. Watching our youth make sure that even the smallest of kids gets to hit the big ball in beach ball volleyball.
4. Meeting a young Mama who is dropping off her preschooler while holding an infant on her hip…fearful of leaving her little man for the first time, but knowing he is safe with us.
5. Watching two youth guys lead a group of ten 3rd grade boys with grace, kindness, and joy.
6. The beach party at the end of the week with hot dogs (halved hot dogs for the kids so to avoid waste) and an inflatable, dual water slide AFTER the kids sang the VBS songs with motions and fun. Bumping elbows with old friends and watching old friends meet new ones to welcome new families into the mix.
7. Sharing resources with other area Atlanta churches.
8. A gifted dad who built two, huge wooden lifeguard stands that were shared with another church.
9. Lunch at the local Mexican restaurant with all our youth volunteers on Wednesday after VBS.
10. Hearing the squeals of delight as Daddies played with their kids on the waterslide at the Friday night beach party.
11. Four young boys who publicly decided to follow Jesus. Sharing Jesus is why we offer Vacation Bible School….and it’s why our team does what it does every year.
12. We chose a VBS that shared Jesus every single day of the week…Jesus came as a baby on day one and is coming back on day five. You’d think this would be a given, yet it is not. Sharing Jesus is why we offer VBS…he can’t be talked about only on decision day. I look for a curriculum that will equip our volunteers to share Jesus. If we can learn to do it at VBS, we’ll be more likely to do it in our daily lives.
13. Watching the multiple sets of grandparents who not only volunteered in very visible areas, but they brought their grandkids every single day. These were the Christian Soldiers of the week for me. By the end of the week, I could tell they were exhausted, but their faithfulness to serving the Lord AND having their grandchildren see it, were legacies of faith that could only be accomplished with being sold out Jesus and what was being shared every single day.
14. The donation fish cut outs that were put out and all taken on one Sunday tells me of the commitment my church makes to being sure we do our part well….I think it’s because almost everyone in my church can share that VBS is a part of their faith journey. They get it!
A colleague’s husband used the phrase, “VBS is like revival for kids.” I love that perspective. Everyone needs a revival every now and then: the kids and the volunteers. Revival brings new messages and we do things differently for a short period of time than what we usually do on Sundays: snack, the best storytelling, turn on the water hose, decorate like crazy, and dress the part.
Vacation Bible School is revival, and not just for kids…it’s revival for me and all the others, youth and adults. We are reminded in song, experience, energy, and every learning style of how God loves us and how loving Him binds the body of Christ in energy, service, and gifts.
I will be getting together with my colleagues from other local churches at our monthly networking group to discuss what we will do next year in just a few short weeks. It’s a time when we share celebrations and hilarious memories. It’s revival and we’re better doing it together.
God is love. 1 John 4:8