If it's summer, it's VBS time - Word&Way

If it’s summer, it’s VBS time

By Bill Webb, Word&Way Editor

In the “old days” of state Baptist newspaper work, summer was a bit of a catch-up time. Church life seemed a little bit seasonal. Churches scaled back their schedules and their level of activity diminished — at least for the summer. That’s not universally true anymore, even if it once was.

Young people and adults scatter across town, across Missouri, across the country and across the ocean to engage in mission trips. Many attend associational camps, conferences, training events and the like during the summer months. And no one really knows exactly how many Vacation Bible Schools are planned and provided in the context of local churches of various faiths. The corporation that manufactures and sells Kool-Aid also is a fan of VBS.

VBS has been a Baptist staple for as long as baptism — well, maybe not that long. A couple of generations ago, all but the very smallest of churches geared up for two weeks of intensive Bible study, missions education, Scripture memory, evangelism, crafts and recreation. Often, those from churches with limited resources teamed with other congregations to make sure no child was left behind.

For some time now, the the standard time frame has been five days — no less intensive in the preparation and execution of the life-changing ministry. When the week is over, the youngsters are revved up and the workers are worn out. In the weeks that follow, baptismal waters are stirred as seeds planted in VBS sprout. For most churches, this is the most evangelistic time of the year.

Susan and I visited our grandsons last weekend, and we were re­minded of the joy and fun of Vacation Bible School. Caleb is nearing 2 and is pretty much pre-VBS, but 4-year-old Chase attended at a church in the little Illinois community where they live earlier in the summer and he had just completed a week at his church. (I guess kids just can’t get enough of VBS!)

Our little grandchild-prodigy likes a lot of things. He is learning about soccer and T-ball and has the shirts, uniforms and trophies to prove his participation. Last year, he learned all about music at a series of elective music classes. He would live in a swimming pool or at a water park if given the chance. He keeps a full calendar to be so young.

I’m glad that he has been excited about attending VBS. It is a lot of fun, just like it used to be when I was a boy. Chase may not realize it, but what he has been learning is foundational for life. It is one of the best things a little boy can do, and I’m grateful Mark and Christy feel the same way. He especially likes Sunday School these days. When given an opportunity, God’s spirit works to prepare little hearts for all that He has in store in the days and years ahead.

Chase may not yet fully realize just how important he is to God. At this point, he’s happy just being a little sponge and soaking it all in. Someday, perhaps he and his brother will have the opportunity to take their own children (my great-grandchildren) to VBS.

I’m more grateful than ever for volunteers that make VBS a priority.