When am I finished with VBS? Why would so many youth and adults carve a precious week out of their summer to be involved in VBS? Why would these adults take 3-4 hours, during the hottest week of the year, to pretend they were going on an exciting 5-day hike up a mountain, yet never leave the building? Why would a church agree to spend so much effort and money to conduct a one week experience for kids?
Here are my top 6 reason for VBS
- The Kids. Our children are bombarded by thousands of images and cultural values like no previous generation. Our kids need to hear and observe the uniquely counter-cultural reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to have experiences and memories that point them to the truth of the Gospel. Carol and I have no better experience to invest our time and energy into the children at New Beginnings each year than VBS. Our children and our grandchildren are one of our most precious treasures. They are the #1 reason for having VBS.
- The Volunteers. From the leadership who administrate this extensive week to the foot soldiers who work in the trenches with the children, I am thankful for our VBS volunteers. This could be described as a long, hot, difficult week. But you would be surprised at how willing and able our volunteers make this week go. New Beginnings had over 80 adult volunteers dressed and played the part of hikers to made the 5 day trek up Mount Kilimanjaro.
- The Relationships. Carol and I got to spend time with people we only get to see or greet on Sundays. We finally are able to learn names and establish associations. The interaction between volunteers is priceless. I loved watching our people laughing, telling stories, and leading children together. Friendships were starting and deepening. Relationships were taking root, growing, and bearing fruit. If the church is a family then VBS is the family summer vacation.
- The Fun. There is always a lot of laughter at VBS and this year was no exception. The songs, the skits, the games, the crafts and the snacks were fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. Fun is not the goal and purpose of VBS, but fun sure help us achieve the goal and purpose. The funis one of the reasons that keeps the kids and the volunteers coming back every year.
- The Creativity. Snacks, games, crafts, bible lessons, and Opening and closing assemblies were each characterized by focused creativity. Each activity creatively points to the daily bible verse and central truth of that verse. Each volunteer assumes a role and plays a part in the theme of the week. Everyone pitches in with their own flavor of creativity.
- The Opportunity. There are few better chances to invest in the lives of kids than VBS. The opportunity can be demanding, cost time and energy, and require a dedication and commitment that cannot be described as passive or lazy. But the time and effort are always worth it. Always!
My wife, Carol, personally re-writes the opening and closing assembly strategy to fit our capabilities and achieve the goal of the week. A lot of people are not aware that Carol wrote VBS curriculum professionally for several year for Lifeway Christian Resources. She volunteers many hours, for New Beginnings, designing a plan that will be fun, be engaging, and emphasize the main teaching focus. Then she produces and directs the opening and closing assemblies. It is always spot on. The finished product looks easier than effort it took to plan the assembly. She amazes me. I’m so thankful for her. But I am also aware that there are many other planning, enlisting help, training helpers, producing, strategizing, and directing - choreography, drama, games, crafts, and snacks. All the volunteers gave a winning effort!
Under the creative direction of my wife, I assumed the role of “Tambo” the new Camp Kilimanjaro tour guide. I acted in ways that were not traditionally, “pastoral,” (singing, drumming, dancing, rapping, etc.) but hopefully these actions were both creative and memorable. It is my prayer that the kids and volunteers who observed my antics will understand that I want to point the kids to Jesus and His Word. And I want the kids to know that their pastor loves them.
|Dr. Phil Sallee, Pastor|