Why Your Church Needs Vacation Bible School

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Why does your church need Vacation Bible School? Why is it good for the church as well as for children in the community?

Teach Your Children

Why does your church need Vacation Bible School? Why is it good for the church as well as for children in the community? Our church gears up well ahead of time every year before we present our Vacation Bible School. We know that God commands parents, grandparents and caregivers to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6). Of course, this is not a guarantee that they will be saved, but it’s a promise that what they learn in youth will never depart from their minds. It is not a guarantee of their salvation but these trainings will always be there in the back of the minds, which is a good thing. Those biblical principles are seeds sown into their hearts, and the best we can do is to nourish and water the soil with love and attention. Only God can give the increase (1 Cor 3:6-7). Fathers specifically are told to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4), without provoking them, but why do churches need VBS as much as children do?


Vacation Bible School is certainly not nearly enough of a biblical foundation for a child. Instructing our children in the ways of God is a 24/7 duty (not a job), and not just for Sunday school or VBS. Those are just not enough. The command still stands for parents and caregivers, first and foremost, to “teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut 11:19). Teach them when you’re at home sitting down for an evening meal or spending time together relaxing or reading the Word…talk to them about God while you’re on the way to or from somewhere, traveling or whatever, and of course talk to them about God and Jesus Christ at bedtime, reminding them of the great and precious promises of God, and not forgetting to pray with them and for them, including “when you rise” in the morning. Like I said; it’s a 24/7 duty for parents.

The Great Commission

It’s easy to forget that the Great Commission to reach the lost is just for adults. The direct imperative command given by Jesus Christ is for all people everywhere, young or old, adult or child. Remember when “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14)? Statistics show that most believers are saved before they become adults, so this vitally small window of opportunity passes quickly and we must take advantage of the time children are young. Of course, the gospel is never forced on children, or anyone for that matter, and we never want to pressure children into making a decision for Christ, or make them feel they must repent now. That could produce a false convert or give the child false assurance that they’re saved. We must be sure, but more so, the child must be sure. God’s timing is always best. The child will know when God is calling them to Christ.

God’s Timing

Parents and teachers at church can only expose children to the gospel and then leave the rest up to God. Of course, they must be good examples since more is caught than sometimes taught, but it is God alone Who saves. He must act first by the work of the Holy Spirit. Parents and Sunday school teachers make a poor substitution for the Holy Spirit. Anything we can talk them into, they can talk themselves out of, but when the Spirit speaks to their heart, nothing can forbid their coming to Christ. We can (and sometimes do) more harm than good. Patience is the key. Provide the power of the Word and then let the Spirit take that Word to their heart. We can’t do that; we can only get in the way of God working in them.

Discovering Your Gifts

I heard one pastor say, “Ninety percent of serving is just showing up” and he’s right, but more than that, when a church hosts and presents a Vacation Bible School, they give the opportunity for members of the church to serve, and believe me, there is true joy in serving. There are often many opportunities to help in VBS, including supervising children, teaching, IT help, music, kitchen, snacks, food preparation, clean up, and so on. Every member of Christ’s body has a gift, so why not use it? There are so many rich opportunities to serve in VBS, and I’ve never heard anyone complain at the end of the week, after it’s all over. More often than not, the person that has served in VBS has a sense that they made a real difference in the community and a feeling of satisfaction. They feel they made their mark in the lives of the children who they served and desire to be saved. A by-product of serving at VBS is that many people discover their gifts of the Spirit. Many discover that they have the gift of teaching, the gift of serving and the gift of administration. Serving at Vacation Bible School is a great way to discover hidden gifts of the Spirit or gifts they’ve not been aware of yet.


Disciplining our children is actually an act of love (Prov 13:24), just as God disciplines us as our Good and faithful Father for our own good (Heb 12:6-14). Part of that disciplining of a child is instructing them in the Word of God and that can come through VBS. A side-benefit is that members of the church have the opportunity to participate and serve in their church’s Vacation Bible School. Vacation Bible school provides children with the basic elements of the faith (John 3:16; Roman 10:9-13; Acts 4:12, etc.), but, and this is vital, we must be 100% certain that what the church (or our church) is teaching the children. Does the content square up with what is taught in the Bible? Make certain the curriculum presents clear and precise teachings that include how people are saved. Make every effort that they hear the Word of God read and taught, since faith comes by hearing (Rom 10:17), and then leave the rest up to God.

Here is some related reading for you: Why Every Adult and Child Needs Sunday School and VBS

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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