We are about halfway through VBS season in our community. I would imagine you are too. My children attended one week at the church where they will be attending school in the fall, and our own congregation will host their own in just a few weeks. I love VBS! It’s an energized week matched by none other in most congregations. But, there are times when we need to step back and ask ourselves who this week is really about. In many many cases, VBS doesn’t end up being as much about Jesus as we think it is, as we envision it being.
Here are some things to consider in order to make certain your focus is on sharing the cross, instead of the taking the credit.
These are the times when we must ask ourselves, “Is VBS really about Jesus?”
When your beautiful hand painted scenery blocks the altar. You’ve worked hard on getting the trees to look just right. You’ve spent good money on those boogie boards. The baptismal font is in the way and the paraments just don’t match. I know all these details seem essential to your program having a great week. But, when you put up all of your fancy decorations, the place where we meet Jesus each week, is hidden. The place where God’s gifts are given to His people, where we are washed clean, where we receive a foretaste of the feast to come, is not the focal point that it should be. The children are coming to hear about Jesus and to see His work and the places where His miracles happen. They aren’t coming for the decorations, as difficult as that may be to hear. They’re coming to see Jesus.
When you boast the number of attendees all over social media. I am all for single every child in your community attending your program, and praise be to God when that happens, but when you tout that instead of the Bible story you studied, the verse you learned, the promises of God that were shared, perhaps your focus is not where it should be.
When the program is chosen because it looks like fun. This is not to say that we can’t have an awesome time during VBS. But, too often, WAY TOO OFTEN we choose a program based on the crafts, or the songs, or the fact that we can get the materials from the church down the street when they’re done using them. We turn our backs on the teachings of our own church, the faith that we promised to defend unto death, citing the idea that as long as we talk a little bit about a few Bible stories, there’s really no need to mention baptism or holy communion or anything else that might ruffle a few feathers. False doctrine? Bring it on! We have 51 weeks to repair the damage. Forget being a chosen people. Let’s find Jesus at VBS! Please, NO! Teach the faith. Do it well. Do it right. (Even if you don’t love all the songs that go with the program that helps you do this.)
When you’re so glad that it’s over with that there’s no follow up with any new families that have come. Jesus is for these children and their families yesterday, today, and forever. When we are satisfied with seeing them for five days and then bidding them farewell and sending them off to fend for themselves the other 360 days of the year, VBS isn’t really about Jesus. Not like it should be. Not even close.
As you prepare to welcome the neighborhood children into your church home this year, or as you consider your opportunities for next year, speak of Christ and Him crucified, speak of His resurrection and the promise He’s given that He’s coming back soon…maybe even on the last day of VBS! Watch for things that detract from the reason you are there and put them aside.
This week must, MUST be about Jesus.