It’s summertime, which means that as you drive across town, you will more than likely pass approximately 45 different church banners – all advertising their upcoming Vacation Bible School.
Ooooo, that one looks fun. Do I see a PETTING ZOO on the schedule for Thursday night?
Uh-uh, girl, someone did that theme last year. #yesterday
Oh yeah! They run their program all day long. #target #starbucks #mani #pedi
Jackpot! That place serves the name brand snacks.
Nope, those people send bouncy balls home every.single.year.
You know we’ll be there! On the last night, they always do a bounce house!
Friends, we’ve all been there, but c’mon, let’s think about how we’re thinking.
Parents, we have to decide if we are looking for a gospel-centered Vacation Bible School program or a Summer Activity Camp. No, there’s nothing wrong with Summer Activity Camps – Those are fun, but friends, there should be a big difference between the summer programs offered at the nearby children’s playhouse and the ministry extensions of the local church.
As Christian parents seeking to honor the Lord with the way we steward each summer with our children, I believe it’s important for us to consider the choices we’re making about how they are going to spend their time…and think carefully about why we choose the opportunities that we do.
Maybe this whole summer thing has the potential to be a little more sacred than we’ve given it credit for so far in our parenting.
I get it. We might feel excited about the kids going to do something fun while we go run a few errands on our own. (Welcome to Solar Nail Salon! Name please?) We all want our kids to have fun and enjoy all the excitement that summer activities have to offer (Ahh, sweet memories for sure!), but let’s consider Vacation Bible School for just a moment.
Earlier this week, I came across a photo of my four-year old at VBS, and I can not stop thinking about it.
See the little boy in the green? That’s my Isaac.
Yes, there had been singing and dancing, super creative snacks, awesome crafts, over the top games…there were even some local team mascots there that night (and the pie-in-the-face contest is planned for this evening), but in the moment captured here, he is sitting and listening to God’s Word opened up before Him – revealing to him his sin and pointing Him to a Savior that has the power to radically transform His heart, and that’s exactly what I wanted for him while he was there.
In signing my kids up for this particular VBS, I wasn’t seeking out a babysitting service for the week – nor was I looking for an opportunity for the church to do my gospel-centered parenting job for me.
The purpose of this partnership (yes, partnership) was for my children to come face-to-face with the same message of the Gospel that we seek to live out in our home.
Churches, as a parent, I implore you to physically open God’s Word with the children that attend your VBS this summer. I’m not talking about just flashing a verse or two up on the screen and then moving on with the main event: the Slime Machine – I’m talking about digging deep into the Scriptures with the intention of helping those children understand that their hearts are desperately wicked and that without a relationship with Jesus Christ, they are without hope.
In attendance, there will no doubt be kids who come from strong families of faith who need to continuing growing in God’s Word. They need this message. Then there will be others there who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus. They need this message, too. In fact, this may be your one and only opportunity and you may be the one and only individual to ever speak true words of life into their particular situation. If they show up at Slime Machine Christian Church and we love on them with all manner of Silly String and Oreos®, that’s great – We may impact them in a variety of ways, but if we only address their social-emotional needs, we have missed the whole point of opening our church doors as a center of hope in our community.
May VBS be filled with fun that children will carry with them long into adulthood (and name brand ice cream sandwiches, please), but let’s not fail to open up the Living Word and teach the children in front of us that
Even while they were yet sinners, Christ died for them.