VBS: Very Big Suggestion

In June and July, your church is most likely hosting a Vacation Bible School (VBS). Whatever curriculum and theme you use, whether you do traditional VBS or a variation, you have a great opportunity to be on mission and to jumpstart missions education.

VBS and Backyard Kids Clubs have been on a great trend for churches in Tennessee as a way to get people outside the doors of their church and into their community to share the gospel. This has been exceptionally effective in churches in Memphis, Jackson, and Nashville, Tennessee. However, don’t forget that as you are reaching the lost children in your own community, VBS can also be a great way to introduce missions education in your church if you do not already have Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, or Children in Action. VBS classes can include a missions rotation. LifeWay VBS includes this in their materials, but even if you and your church are not doing the “Submerged” VBS this year, you can include a missions segment in your teaching time.

Some ideas:

  • Use a portion of CA, GA, or RA material for a brief 20-minute rotation. Tell a mission story, play a game, or do an activity that emphasizes or highlights your missions focus area.
  • Use the LifeWay VBS missions rotation material (you can use the activity and stories even if you do a different theme). This material uses International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) video segments with games and activities to highlight the emphasis each day.
  • Make a missions project your “competition,” along with penny-wars or other VBS offering plans. One suggestion is to put together hygiene bags for a local shelter by having children see who can bring the most items each night (soap on Monday night, deodorant on Tuesday night, etc.)

Don’t forget—you can also think of VBS as a way to be on mission. For years, VBS has statistically been the most effective tool in bringing children into a relationship with Christ. If you have always had a traditional-style VBS, consider hosting a Backyard Kids Club VBS. Host the activities and stories outside the church walls and in a community or neighborhood. VBS can provide a great open door to the neighborhoods surrounding your church for families who may never walk into your church building.

Having the chance to share a mission story or a missionary testimony in this different environment may be a great way to jumpstart missions education in your church. This could be a kickoff to reignite your missions education in the fall or if you are looking for ways to get more missions education in your church.

No matter what your church does to reach children in your community this summer, we pray for God’s blessings as you reach out to share Him!

Julie Heath is the children's specialist for Tennessee WMU.
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