It is clearly Vacation Bible School season in the south. Social media is filled with invites and accounts of each church’s VBS program. I have always been amazed at the time, energy and cold hard cash churches invest in this one week affair. It seems to be a contest to see which church is first, has the biggest or the most unique VBS.
I am not anti VBS, I think it can be a healthy program for the church in the summer months. The problem with VBS is that is has become a sacred right that is required in Evangelical churches. Over the years VBS has become big business and churches will spare no expense to have the latest greatest. Or they will spend countless hours making the decor by hand.
Let me ask you few a questions about VBS, Could it be we majored on the minor and minor on the major? Are crafts and games needed every night to teach kids the Bible? Or are they only needed to draw a crowd?
Allow me to illustrate, the 12×8 inch match stick cross that I made in VBS when I was 8 years old still hangs in my moms kitchen. It consist of about 150 burnt match sticks that some adult struck and blew out and not for me only but for 100 other kids as well. That was a cheap craft but how long did they spend preparing those 1500 matches? To be honest, I don’t remember a single VBS lesson. I remember a few water balloon fights, starfish sandwiches, and making a bead bracelet. VBS was just a fun time.
Churches tout every kind of stat on VBS to justify the expense of it. Stats like enrollment, average each night, workers present, commencement attendance, who gave the most spare change, who did and didn’t get a pie in the face, and how many got saved. Why do we still call this a Bible School?
Those who benefit most from VBS are the publishers, Oriental Trading Co, and parents who just want a free babysitter. I know this is Baptist treason and I run the risk of being classified as the VBS Nazi but VBS is out of control. When a church spends more time decorating, crafting, gaming, snacking and teaching sign language to songs than they do teaching the Bible, it’s not a Bible School, it’s just a Vacation. Vacations are great and everybody needs one, but a church shouldn’t pay for it.