Although many will recognize the acronym in the title as standing for Vacation Bible School anyone who has actually worked a VBS knows it could very well stand for Very Busy Schedule. Last week we wrapped up our annual VBS. We combine forces with another Mattawan Church. They have a facility and we have a lot of kids and it seems to work out well.
As a quite non-traditional person who really does not like to do anything just “because we’ve always done it”. I work through the purpose of this program every year wondering if this should be the year we rest it and see if it comes up again.
This year I was very involved in the program and it was very fun. We sang the songs and did the hand motions, listened to Bible stories, played games, did crafts, and by the end of the week I got a pie in the face because the kids brought enough cleaning supplies to fill up two 8 foot tables for the local food pantry.
There were a lot of volunteers. And by the end of the week, there were a lot of exhausted volunteers. And a fundamental question in my mind each year is to ask “why?” Why would we ask for more volunteers next summer? Why would we run this program again?
And whether or not we do it again next year, I think the answer to that question can be applied to any ministry of the local church. Why do a program?
Because it brings the good news of Jesus to those who need it. Because it builds up community among the volunteers. Because it provides opportunity for people to serve and use the gifts they have been given to bless others. Because it stretches us in our faith. I am not at all saying that a church MUST do a VBS for these reasons.
To be quite honest, I will sit down with our children’s director and evaluate how well this program does these things. Programming in a church should not be automatic, based on traditions, or even based on one person’s vision. Programming in the church should be based on genuine needs, it should be simple, it should be regularly evaluated, and it should be truly on the chopping block if it is NOT accomplishing its goals. If a VBS is purported to be outreach and nobody outside of the church shows up, that might be a wrong category.
I enjoyed being a part of of VBS this year. It was fun to get to know a variety of people in the church in the context of a week of evenings. The fruit in the lives of kids may never be known, but we had fun together in the midst of a Very Busy Schedule.