To VBS or not to VBS

Tammy Jones —  February 3, 2011

Vacation Bible School is alive and well in many areas all around our country. For many small churches VBS may be the biggest outreach of the year. However, some ministry leaders consider Vacation Bible School to be obsolete and ineffective. VBS is being replaced by more family-oriented events.

The decision to banish Vacation Bible School from your church calendar should not be taken lightly. Here are a few tips to help you and your team in a your decision.

1. Prayer–This should go without saying. Seek God’s will for your church.

2. Find out what other churches in your area are doing–If VBS is still popular in your area, you may want to continue having one. On the other hand, this could be a chance for your church to stand out in the crowd by doing something different.

3. Crunch the numbers–How effective was the last VBS? Research the number of children that attended, how many families were reached, how many professions of faith, how many new families are now a part of your church because of VBS.

4. Budget–Determine how much money can be allotted for Vacation Bible School. A good team can work wonders with a very small budget, but be realistic. Never spend money that you don’t have! Think about what can be donated or borrowed. Perhaps your church can team up with another small church and pool resources.

5. Tradition–If the only reason your church has a Vacation Bible School is because your church has always had a Vacation Bible School, then it may be time to consider another alternative.

Once all the facts are gathered, take them before the Lord and seek His will. If you and your team still feel lead to have a VBS, then rest assured that God will provide.

Tammy Jones

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Tammy is married with two grown children and has 5 grandchildren and counting. Tammy volunteers as the Children's Minister at CoveCreek Baptist Church in Glencoe, Alabama, where she ministers to children from preschool age through sixth grade.

5 responses to To VBS or not to VBS

  1. Tammy,

    Great article! I am a big fan of VBS, but I think way too many churches just do it because they “always have.” In addition to considering whether or not to have it all, I think churches should consider whether or not it is time to mix up the format. Is everyone else in your city doing the same VBS? Then pick a different publisher or write your own. Is your format getting a little tired and old? How about a “water wars” style VBS outreach in the dead of summer? There is so much we, as the local church, can and should be doing to reach and disciple kids. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Thanks for your comment Wayne. I agree if several churches in your area are doing a VBS then definitely choose a different program. We always choose another program than what surronding churches are using. I am very proud of the way our church does VBS. We do it up BIG! Almost the whole church gets into it.

  3. WOW! Obsolete and ineffective? I don’t agree. I am so glad that our church has VBS! I have directed the last 3 VBS programs at our church and we have had at least one profession of faith made each year.

    Also, there are kids that come whose parents would not come to church. How else are you going to reach those kids and share the gospel with them?

    Kids (and adults) look forward to VBS each year! I could not imagine not having it.

    And budget wise…I’m sure you could get hand-me-downs from other churches after they have their VBS. I know we get lots of decorations and that really helps us out. Then, we usually hand our stuff onto another church when we are done.

    • Shay, I think that is exactly what she is talking about when she says “crunch the numbers.” If lives are not being changed and people are not becoming active participants in their faith, then it is what I would call ineffective and obsolete. If people are still coming to know Christ and engaging with His church, then I can see where it would still be an effective outreach.

  4. Shay, I am a big supporter of VBS and have been the director for years now. We are fortunate to have a good size budget for a church our size–though it has been cut some in the last two years. There are always ways to save money on crafts with donations and recycling and such. What I am saying is that a team needs to be sure that VBS is an effective outreach for your church in your area. VBS should never be done just because we have always done it. VBS should not be a tradition but an outreach where children are saved and parents are reached as well. Here in the South, VBS is alive and well.