VBS aka Vacation Bible School starts tonight at our church. This column in not an advertisement for it because it won’t hit the newspapers until the event is either over or almost over. This column is a reminder to churches the importance of children. Specifically, to the small churches, I want to encourage them to have a VBS each year.
Many may think because I have a weekly column in several newspapers that I pastor a large church. This is not the case; Countryside is small, by some people’s standards the church would be considered tiny. We are located on a major highway, but the nearest town with over 500 people is 12 miles away. We truly are a countryside church. Countryside has only two children that attend every service and a handful of others that show up periodically and as I said; tonight Vacation Bible School begins.
I’m saying this as an encouragement; a charge, if you will, to all the small churches out there. Small congregations even those that would be overjoyed to have twenty total (adults and children) in attendance on a Sunday should not disregard the idea of a VBS just because, “nobody will show up.”
Please remember, I’m not writing this tooting any horns. I’m not writing this to brag about how our regular two grew into twenty-five because we held a VBS. I’m writing this before the first night even starts. If everyone comes that has promised, we should have around 15 kids each night, but we may only have two. It’s not the numbers; it is never the numbers; it is the children that matter.
VBS is the most tiring week of the year. Being a small church, we have less than ten adults that do all the work, some of them are in their seventies, but they keep on going doing what they can. We have no qualms about “borrowing” 4-5 teens from other churches to help with moving the kids from one area to another, listen to memory verses, help out with games, snack time or crafts. The whole purpose is to present the God of salvation to the children. It is the children that matter.
A few years ago, it was the last day of Vacation Bible School, and I was talking to one of our church members about how exhausting but rewarding the week was. She made the comment, “The week’s been great. I love doing this for the kids, it’s like their revival.”
This woman understood that the kids need God, and we are the ones God uses to bring them to Him.
Jesus wanted the children brought to Him at all cost (Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16). He felt it so important; He scolded the adults who thought the kids were interrupting the Master as He preached.
Parents usually teach their children the things mom and dad are interested in. A mechanic will have his son in the garage as soon as the kid can pick up a tool out of the toolbox and hand the item to dad. Another parent that loves baseball will buy the kid a glove and plastic bat and ball before the baby can walk.
The same goes for parents that have an interest in God. The babies are in church the first Sunday after coming home from the hospital. Bible stories are being read to the child long before the child can understand the words being said.
With that being said, there are a lot of parents out there that have no interest in God, and if parents have no interest in God, odds are they are not passing an interest in Christ down to their children. The children need Christ nonetheless; their eternity depends on it. Whether a congregation has ten people or ten thousand, each has a duty to reach as many people, especially children, as possible.
“But we only have three or four children” is a cry I often hear from tiny churches. Think out of the box. Maybe an all-day Saturday event from 10am till 5pm would be better than a week long VBS. Two or three smaller churches combining to do a Vacation Bible School; alternating the location from year to year is another idea.
The children are out there. If the church is in town, there are kids out there. If the church is in the country, the countryside is scattered with homes, some with children. Members of the congregation surely have grandchildren living nearby. Nieces, nephews, the kids are out there.
“The kids already go to church someplace else” is another negative I hear. Don’t worry about that. We are not trying to proselytize; we are attempting to bring Jesus to children. Some of the children will need to be saved, and you can plant a seed, even if they go back to the other church the following Sunday. Some of the children may already know the Lord, but don’t forget an eight-year-old Christian needs to grow in his or her Christian walk as much as a 38-year-old Christian does. Children need their revival as much as adults do.
Regardless of the size of the church VBS will wear you out physically, but gives so many rewards spiritually to people of all ages.
It is the children that matter.