10 Reasons To Still Do Vacation Bible School

VBS Training TipsIn churches across the nation, this year’s Vacation Bible School is quickly becoming a memory. There are many people out there who think that VBS is an outdated program whose time has come and gone.  Fresh off of the excitement and exhaustion that is the controlled chaos that is VBS, here is my list of the top ten reasons to still do VBS at your church:

  1. Kids love it. If you’re doing it right, VBS is just plain fun, and the kids love it.  Fun is, of course, not the end all and be all of children’s ministry, but it is a big selling point.  When kids are having fun, they are more apt to be paying attention and learning, and they are more likely to invite their friends.
  2. It’s still a great outreach event. Again, when something is fun, kids are likely to invite their friends.  In my small group of six kids alone, we had one little girl that brought two different friends during the week.  At least one of those kids never goes to church.
  3. It is an opportunity to share the gospel of Christ. I talked to another little boy who lives near the church and comes to VBS every year.  It is his only exposure to church and the only time each year when he gets to hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. It gives the kids in your church a chance to spend some time together. In addition to reaching out to the community, VBS let’s your regular church kids spend some time together and continue to build those relationships.
  5. It gives adults a chance to serve and see how much fun and how rewarding working with kids can be. Many people who won’t sign up for a six month or year long commitment will commit to one week.  What a great opportunity VBS presents for finding new volunteers for your ministry.  I found two people to ask within the first couple of nights.  I don’t know if they will plan out, but I would never have met them if it hadn’t been for VBS.
  6. Parents get a chance to hear the gospel. If you organize your VBS in such a manner that at least one night involves parents, it gives you an opportunity to share the gospel with them.  It can be at a closing ceremony, or something planned during the week.  During our VBS (we used Gospel Light’s SonQuest Rainforest), we had a zoo night where the local zoo brought in rainforest animals.  We asked parents to stay with their kids, and they all heard the gospel presented by our lead pastor.
  7. You can’t buy that kind of excitement in your weekend program. There is just something special about an action-packed week of VBS that just builds to a certain level of excitement.  That is the king of excitement we should feel about God and about his Good News every day, and VBS week helps to remind us of that.
  8. You get to build relationships with kids. When else during the year do you get to spend every night of the week with the same kids?  That kind of proximity and consistency is hard to come by in children’s ministry, and isn’t something you should give up up.
  9. You get to build relationships with adults. In addition to relationships with kids, you get to serve with other people from your church that you might not have a chance to meet otherwise.  It is a great time to initiate lasting friendships.
  10. It’s just plain fun. No matter what else you say about VBS, it’s just plain fun for both kids and adults.  There is no other week during the year that I find so exhausting and so fun all at the same time, and I wouldn’t skip it for the world. :)

Get a jump on next summer’s VBS. Read our tips for planning VBS or check out our 2011 VBS curriculum reviews.


  1. says

    This makes me sad to read!! In reading this all I hear is that you don’t think children are important. All I hear is that you feel children are a problem, you just tolerate them. Very sad!

  2. Selwyn Jaya Kumar.D says

    Hello Mr. Kummer,

    I liked the “ 10 Reasons To Still Do Vacation Bible School” content and his very useful for me to conduct VBS in my church in Kolar Gold Fields in India.
    Thank you Mr. Kummer for the VBS ARTICLES.

    God Bless!!!!!

  3. Barbara says

    In my opinion there can never be enough churches holding VBS in the summer for kids even in small rural communities. I live in one of those small communities. Not only do the kids benefit from hearing about Jesus and participating actively in spiritual learning activities, they learn from the repetition. With all the different VBS programs to choose from there doesn’t have to be same old, same old. We’ve learned in our community to make friends between churches and share materials such as back drops, etc. The kids have little enough to do in the summer besides TV and computer games. Let’s get them active for Jesus by encouraging them to bring friends to VBS. After 45 years I’m still voting for VBS every summer and complimentary activities throughout the year. I’ve seen adults brought to Jesus because their children have attended VBS. And yes, I still participate in one every year.

  4. says

    I’m a pastor of a church of about 100 in a rural community. We have a very vibrant children and youth program. We have hired a part time children’s pastor and we budget about 10K a year for children’s ministry. We hold Sunday and Wednesday kids church. Every service is like a VBS day. We have games and crafts and food and prizes every service. We send out two buses to get kids from the community for every service. We average between 30 and 40 children. Most are from outside the church. We also have a huge Halloween outreach that we spend about 2 grand on every year. Now that we are preparing a 2011 budget, my children’s pastor wants $2000 to do a vacation bible school. I understand all the reasons listed to DO it. Here are some reasons I am thinking about saying no.
    1.) Enough is enough. The law of diminishing returns states that there comes a point where we spend more and get less and less in return.
    2.) We are maxed out in our facilities now. We need to build to fit more kids. The adults are tolerating the noise and chaos very patiently.
    3.) How many VBS programs does a community need? There are at least 3 other churches in a 10 mile radius who go all out to do VBS. At what point are we duplicating services or God forbid, competing?
    4.) VBS was invented when church kids sat in a class like school for 52 Sundays and stared at blank walls and listened to a lecture. It was an outreach that broke out of the stale routine. What if our routine is vibrant and interactive and missional every week? Aren’t we doing the VBS job already, just in a different calender layout?
    5.) We strain to keep our classes staffed as it is.

    In light of all this am I missing God if I say no to VBS?

  5. says

    I agree with most of what’s in the article. I also love what Doug posted about teaching kids about missions at VBS. I don’t believe VBS is the outreach that it once was.

    In many communities, there so many churches that do VBS. There’s probably 2 every week of the summer for families to choose from in our community. I can think of several churches that all did the High Seas Adventure VBS from Group in our area. So, I decided that we had to come up with a different kind of VBS all together to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack.

    Ours became Family VBS this summer. This is after taking a couple of summers off from VBS. We did 3 nights. Dinner was provided. Parents were asked to come with their kids. Worship was all together with kids & parents. A class was taught each night for the parents while the kids were doing their VBS thing. Volunteers, parents & kids all stayed excited. The energy level remained high. And, there was no 4th or 5th (or 9th or 10th) night drag.

    I still believe VBS is a valuable ministry, but I don’t think as children’s ministers we should be guilted in to continuing VBS simply because it’s always been done. I say that because the first few years of my ministry, that’s the way it was.

    My advice to others regarding VBS is don’t be afraid to add or change elements of VBS to make it relevant to your congregation & your families.

  6. says

    Many churches in our community have given up on VBS as well. I agree with every point in the article and would like to add a few other reasons for holding VBS.

    a) It provides an opportunity for the entire church to work together for a common cause, and yes it builds excitement.

    b) It provides an opportunity for children, teens, young parents, empty nesters, and senior citizens to serve and learn together. Thus, it can be a ministry for reaching in, as well as an outreach ministry.

    c) It can be a missional opportunity which teaches the children that our God is not reserved for our community, state, or nation. He is the God of people in Africa, Asia, Europe, etc. For several years we have collected offerings for a couple of Christian academies in Ghana. Last year we collected $3500, and this year we topped the $4000 mark. That is very significant for a 5 day VBS, that averaged 115 children each night. That money will go a long way in helping to spread the message of Christ in Ghana.

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