This week several churches in our area are hosting Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children. VBS has been a staple of my summers since I attended my first VBS as a toddler. After aging out of being an attendee for VBS, I became a volunteer–first, at my home church, and later at the church where I attended as a college student, which happens to be the same church I attend now, over 20 years later.
Vacation Bible Schools are typically held during the week, Mondays-Fridays. Going to church everyday is SO DIFFERENT from the normal 1-2 days per week my family would attend church. Being so different, several random memories have stayed with me from the VBSs of my childhood.
These memories include:
-lining up on the church lawn behind the sign of my age group
-standing in the wet, dew-covered grass awaiting for all my friends to arrive
-being in the sanctuary where the pews were filled with others my same height, since the adults always sat on the ends of the pews (I have always been short in stature, so I loved being able to see everything without my view of the stage being blocked)
-feeling so grown up by having Bible time in the classrooms where the adults typically met
-singing only kid-friendly, upbeat songs
-recreation time with games we never otherwise played at church
-since I attended a very traditional church as a child, wearing shorts and t-shirts to church was always super cool to me!
-entering the fellowship hall and seeing rows and rows of napkins with two little ring-shaped butter cookies, with little cups of juice
All these fond memories while learning more about Jesus and the Bible, makes me glad to be a small part of creating memories for the generation behind me. Being a teacher by profession, I am most often assigned the task of teaching the Bible story of the day for VBS. Now that I am a preschool director, I typically teach the younger kiddos for the week. Studying the Bible stories for the week and then working to simplify them on a very basic level is a great way to make Bible truths fresh and anew for me. They serve as great reminders of how simple a relationship with Jesus is, and how sometimes I make it more difficult than God designed.
For example, our current VBS motto is “Created! Designed! Empowered!” and it is based on the verse from Ephesians 2:10 that says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” The Biblical learning we are striving to teach is that each child can develop and use their God-given strengths, talents, and abilities to honor and bring praise to God, who is their creator. In addition, when they trust Jesus as their Savior, he saves them from their sins and gives their life a new purpose as they follow him and tell others about Jesus.
Simplifying it down and using the first word in motto, created, reminds me that God created each of us beautifully and wonderfully. We are God’s workmanship and he has prepared a job/task/plan for each of our lives. The way we can know what God has planned is to get to know him more and more through reading the Bible.
The second word, designed, reminds me that each of us is unique, which is how God wants it to be. We are all like a symphony filled with different instrument sounds, that when put together with the plan of notes on a music sheet specific to each instrument, it creates a beautiful song. When we use our talents that God created within us to bring honor to him, it’s a beautiful thing! VBS is a great reminder of that. I love using my passion of teaching to share the Bible story, but I would not enjoy leading music, art, or recreation. I know people who are gifted in each of those other areas, and they do an amazing job! If everyone was gifted on the same thing, it would not be a very fun week, as the kiddos would tire of doing the same thing the whole time!
Finally, the last word, empowered, reminds me of the awesome gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift is awesome due to the fact that once one professes Jesus as their savior, the Holy Spirit becomes an instant, powerful helper that is always there. When sought, the Holy Spirit is there to guide, prompt, and spur us on the path that God has paved for us. It is one part of God, and one that I am extremely grateful for!
I am looking forward to this week and am prayerful that with all the area Vacation Bible Schools in place, it will be life-changing for children in my area. It would be so amazing if a child came to know Jesus as Savior through a VBS. Would you join me in praying just that? After all, Jesus has a special place for children in his heart, as we see in Luke 18:16 that says, “But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”