03 June 2007

Unpopular Opinions About VBS

Let me start this post that is going to contain some likely not very common thoughts on VBS by saying that many, many years I have poured my heart and soul into Vacation Bible School at the church where we were longtime members. I loved the kids, and gave everything I had to the point of exhaustion every year, and I know that there was benefit in what we did to glorify the Lord. However, I think there is an ugly side to VBS that is seldom mentioned. One thing that was extremely distressing was when our VBS had to be closed to children outside of our church. Vacation Bible School is supposed to be an outreach to the community, a place for churches to reach out to the community and give the schoolchildren a place to spend their time during the long, hot summer months - that had a two fold purpose - the children are off the streets and we have an opportunity to share Jesus.
Now, that being said, another thing that has started to bother me in more recent years is the cheesy, canned curriculum that passes itself off as "educational material" for the local church. I am not saying that some of it isn't fun, and that the kids don't like it. They do - kids love cheesy - for the same reason they love SpongeBob. The stuff is just downright goofy sometimes. I think that sometimes we sell kids short and make the things of Christ come off like a Garfield comic instead of what it truly is, the Greatest Story Ever Told.
That said, I love Veggie Tales, although I hate that the kids who watch them who have never been in church and hear the real story of, oh let's say Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego will spend the next 20 years of their lives thinking they were thrown into the furnace for not bowing to a chocolate bunny. Yep, Christian kids get that it is allegorical humor - but what about the rest of the world.
I do not mean to sound critical - I know how much blood, sweat and tears go into those programs - but wonder like much of what is done in the church if we've lost the true intent of what VBS is all about. In spite of these thoughts, Kullen will likely attend one or two of the local VBSs in our area, and if we were really plugged in to a church, I would likely be helping out. But that is not the sum total of his spiritual training. He's mainly going for the friends and the cookies!


  1. I haven't come across a VBS (or holiday club as they are here in England) yet that was closed to outside kids - but if I did, I'd be outraged too!!

    As for Veggie Tales, we LOVE them in this house!! McGee sat in front of his first one when he was just 3 months old and didn't take his eyes off the screen for the whole half an hour! Really - I'm not joking!! As soon as it was done he started looking around the room again. We have all of them and a big box of VT toys too! In all of the drivel today it is nice to have a show that we can let them watch! But they never got very poplular here in England, so we have to get everything when we are in the states and bring them over.

  2. One year, I was pregnant that summer with our now 16 year old son, our church in Nebraska put on the BEST VBS I have ever been a part of before or since!

    They had tents set up in the parking lot that were decorated to be like the various types of businesses in the Jewish marketplace. The kids earned shekels for memory verses, etc and got to spend them in the different "businesses". All the workers dressed in robes, etc and the kids got to have a small feel of what it was like to be a part of Jewish culture. It was developed by a friend of ours-no canned, cheesy matierial, just a woman who had the creativeness to pull it off! She should've approached various Christian Publishing Houses and tried to sell it to them but she didn't. The kids were the most enthusiastic I have ever seen and I have done a lot of VBS over the years!

  3. i am a veggie tales junkie!!
    however.. i do understand what you mean about not know the underlying story...

    when i was a kid.. we had a group of teenagers from a local church come to our neighborhood and hold a vbs in our yards. each night it was in a different front yard. (with parents' approval of course) they had puppets.. one guitar..snacks... and the bible.. that was it..
    i've never forgotten it...

  4. I love the VBS program we have used the last several years, by Group. What I like about it - 1)It has something for everyone: our high school kids run many of the stations; middle-schoolers lead the 'crews'; the crews are made up of a variety of ages. 2)The drama station is an interactive drama of the Bible story for the day. 3)The music is awesome. 4)I love the daily 'truths' and the kids response - this year is woo-hoo - that the kids say anytime they hear the phrase of the day. I can't imagine having VBS only for church members!


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥