“Oh, we call it Summer Worship Arts Camp.”
“We have twice as many kids coming as we have on Sunday.”
“I didn’t know churches had that anymore.”
“Does camp really cost $26.00 per child?”
“Oh, of course my child may attend; she comes every year.”
These are all comments I’ve heard about Vacation Bible School that occurs this week at my church. Each above statement is true except the cost question. ‘Real’ Vacation Bible Schools will always be free. God never charges for children to be taught His stories, Bible verses, nor how to live life with Him.
The name has changed; you read Summer Worship Arts Camp. No longer do children and leaders march in–then pledge to the American flag, the Christian flag, and to the Bible. No longer do most churches offer two full weeks of study from 9:00-12:00 each week day. Times have changed. Families have changed. Churches have changed, but the message is still the same. The Bible shares stories about real people who met God and learned to follow Him with their lives. Our huddle groups (a generation ago-classes) will meet around the perimeter of the sanctuary. Large group worship will follow with jazzy music, props, and costumed leaders. Children will follow their scheduled track–some have chosen STOMP (instruments & music), some Hip Hop, some Comedy & Drama, some Ballet, and some Puppets. All will involve child-style Christian music, words, and themes. Recreation and Snacks align with the theme of each day’s Bible story. Long gone are simply playing on the church yard, then eating cookies and kool-aid. What will happen at each night’s closing worship time, children will be given a chance to ask questions, pray, and receive Jesus as personal Savior.
Yes, I’ll be leading a huddle group–co-teaching with my youth age grandson, Cooper. Why do I this many, many years later consider it so important? A generation ago, in the small town of Stanberry, MO, a ten-year-old girl who attended Sunday School most every Sunday suddenly realized on the final day of VBS that she needed Jesus to live in her heart and life forever. The church was pastorless, there were no videos or slide shows; however, without a doubt I knew–when that lay leader used her Bible and invited any there to follow Jesus–it was my turn.
And yes, I loved the teen helpers–that’s why my grandson will be more important than he knows. “Gadgets and Gizmos,” this year’s theme will be exciting. And yes, children will know before the week is over–the importance of Psalm 139; Jesus healing the Blind Man; Jesus teaching Nicodemus; the Good Samaritan story; and the need to be Salt & Light. Each will commit Scripture to memory.
Why have I committed to be on the leadership team for so many years? Why have I traveled miles from North Kansas City and as far as Southeast Asia to lead VBS? Why? Because there just might be a ten-year-old girl or boy who needs to start following Jesus.