VBS: Lessons for Christian Leaders
OK, so many people send their kids to VBS (Vacation Bible School) during the summer. It’s basically summer camp centered around Biblical and Christian principles. We are sending our two oldest boys to VBS this week to a church up the street and we have learned some things.
First, we learned that we didn’t belong. We received a flier in the mail last week to confirm our attendance. We were directed to register our kids and pick up their shirts during the hours of 9 AM and 12:30 PM on Sunday. Here’s the problem: VBS didn’t start until the next day, Monday. Obviously these times were during their church service times and they made the assumption that we go to their church. We don’t.
In my experience churches do VBS for two reasons. They do it to have something fun in the summer for the families that go to their church. And they do it to make inroads into the community. It’s a kind of an outreach to people in the community to make them aware of the church. VBS is a good way for a church to establish a good reputation with new people. A church will hopefully attract some new families and begin to meet some of their spiritual needs as that family makes that church home. So the times we were given to register our kids made us feel alienated because we didn’t know what they were talking about, like we didn’t belong. I hated that.
Second, we learned we weren’t down with their lingo. Not only did the flier tell is to register at an odd time for us, it also told us to do it in the cloister. What the heck is a cloister? I now what I first thought it said as I skimmed over the flier. So not only were we going somewhere we weren’t familiar with, we had to ask where the cloister was. All this made us feel like outsiders even more. I hated that too. This also seemed to defeat the outreach principle.
So there’s my brief thoughts on VBS. I say, whenever you are planning something on any level, try to visualize your audience and try to make them ALL feel welcome, especially at a church.