What if Vacation Bible School could be simple, less expensive, less time-consuming, and more effective in reaching more people?
About 15 years ago, I wrestled with this issue.
Of all the churches in Fort Worth, we did VBS “right.” Our first year, we made a waterfall out of butcher paper, and it flowed from the baptistry down to the worship center stage. We made mountains out of butcher paper and taped them to the walls on the sides, and we covered the chairs in the choir loft. (Needless to say, we purchased numerous large rolls of butcher paper in an array of colors—green, brown, black, red, yellow, etc.) We also gathered all the plants and silk trees from around the building and placed them throughout the worship center. Our auditorium looked like the Amazon jungle!
As I walked around the church the week before VBS, there were families and groups of people busy decorating in their assigned rooms. In our fellowship hall, we had four overhead projectors set up with transparencies of the VBS graphics. Leaders were feverishly tracing animals, trees, and signs and then cutting them out. Some folks were there for long hours each day. In the end, we had completely transformed our church.
By the time VBS hit the following week, we were all pretty much shot and exhausted. However, we were prepared for the big event!
The first day was a little shaky. That’s VBS! By Tuesday and on, it felt like the train had left the station and we were moving very rapidly to the end of the week. Friday came, and we had a celebration service. We invited families to see their child’s classroom.
After the service, we spent many more hours cleaning up the building before Sunday morning service. We took down all of the paper from the walls and threw it away. We collected up all of the resource kits, decorations, and teaching books that were salvageable, and we gave them to another church that could not afford them. VBS was done for one more year.
Is this you and your church? You see, it hit me hard after VBS. We had put in an extensive amount of time, effort, and money, and we only saw a few children make a decision to accept Christ that week.
The following year, a new theme, and we had the same results. This wasn’t my first VBS. This was about the fourteen or fifteenth one. I had always gone “all out” in decorating and building on an exciting theme.
That next fall, I began to feel deeply convicted about the amount of time, money, and resources we invested in this week with so little results. The Lord began to remind me that we are called to “Go” and make disciples.
I heard TD Jakes on the radio one day, and what he said hit home with me: “Jesus didn’t call us to invite them to our church on the corner. He said to go to them and make disciples where they are!”
After much prayer, we began to see the Lord open doors in our community. We laid down the traditional VBS and went right where the people lived. We went into schools, apartments, mobile home parks, and wherever the Lord opened doors. We met a lot of hurting people who were so excited that we came to them.
That summer, we tripled the number of decisions made! And, we did it at about a fourth of the cost. Instead of spending money on resource kits, teaching guides, poster sets, blow ups, and decorations, we invested in the people of our community by giving them Bibles and new Christian materials. On Friday of the week, they gladly came to our church to see who we really were.
I want to show you how you can significantly cut your costs and time for your next VBS.
Over the past 15 years, I have learned a lot of lessons and have just about killed myself using a broken system of outreach. I am not trying to anger anyone. Just consider, what if you could reach more families for Christ with very little expense and effort? I will show you how. In this brief video, I will explain my journey and show you positive steps to mobilize your church to go into your community.