June 10, 2011 Leave a comment
Like many of you, Westminster is gearing up for Vacation Bible School (VBS from here on out). This is always an exciting time for us because it is a huge outreach to our neighborhood. It is probably the one time of the year when there are more children than adults in the building and it always blesses those who participate.
I wonder though why this joy only lasts for a week. Our church does our VBS from 6 to 8:30 PM so that we can involve members who work and allow families to not have to rearrange summer day schedules. We have a success with bringing in kids and they all seem to get something out of the experience. I believe that we touch lives and we have great fun. But once it is over and we clean up no one comes back unless they were already coming to the church and we develop a see you next summer attitude to outreach.
Does VBS work then as a ministry of the church? I have to say that it depends on your goals and where you are from. If you are just trying to provide a quality program for kids then yes I think what we are doing works. If we are trying to teach biblical lessons and provide some spiritual experiences then I think we are doing alright. If we are trying to grow the church then I am not sure that it is working at least not here.
Now, I have never been a numbers=success kind of guy. I think that thinking is crippling the PC(USA) right now. But at the same time I would not cry if one family came to church on Sunday because their child had a good experience at VBS. A lot of this comes back to what I was talking about last time with Sunday School, a church this size may not be able to sustain a youth population for more than a week, but I don’t want to give up yet.
So Internet, I ask you: How can we make VBS last for more than a week? How can we turn it into a really valuable ministry? Or, like mission trips is it more about providing something for someone while the deep spiritual effects are mostly felt by those that go on the trip? Is VBS for the kids of the community or for the volunteers and the congregation? What are your thoughts, let’s talk.