Is VBS Missional?

A couple weeks ago, we had our Vacation Bible School (VBS) at our church.  We did Group’s Power Lab – haha!  (you’d have to be there to get that).  For years I’ve been wondering the benefit of programs like VBS.  We all have stories of places that have done it wrong or made a mess of it.  That’s to be expected since there are literally thousands of churches that do it across our country and many more thousands throughout the world.  Forget those stories for a couple of moments.

If VBS didn’t exist, I think it would be something that pastors and church people would dream about.  Again, forget you know this thing called Vacation Bible School.  Imagine a week of having hundred or two kids running through your church hallways.  Imagine parents calling your church months before the summer explaining that they are planning their vacations around this week.  Imagine that many of them are not from your church.  Imagine each year many of your church kids further their understanding of the Gospel and many un-churched kids hear the Gospel (and many accept Jesus).  Imagine people throughout your congregation serving for a week inside your church.  In fact, some of them take vacation time to do this.  You could imagine so much more but you get the point.

If you are fellow frustrated/jaded skeptic/critic who loves God and Church so much and you just want more you probably share some of my annoyances.  For instance, are some VBS programs geared more towards the god of fun then the God of Love?  Yes.  Do we have some people that have no right working with children (not because they are abusive but because they do not have the foggiest concept of children’s ministry)?  Yes again.  Do some people (church and non-church) use VBS as free day care?  Yes but that’s not the worst thing ever is it?  (I mean don’t millions use Sunday Morning for things other then worship?  It’s not right of course, but we don’t cancel Sunday Morning Services do we?)

I think what I’ve been appreciating is the potential of this VBS that we sometimes take for granted.  We need to deconstruct it, reconstruct it and build upon it.  In many churches, VBS is the most missional event that happens all year.  


  1. Good thoughts. I am looking forward to your first emergent VBS Program.

    VBS just seem like a one trick pony. What about the other 51 weeks of the when we are begging for children church worker. I think I would rather the effort spread out through the year instead of one week.

  2. VBS makes my skin crawl and make me want to jump off a bridge into a deep chasm full of jagged rocks.

    that is all. :)

  3. Yeah, Eric,

    I share some of that frustration as well. We go from 0-60 then putter back to 5mph desperately seeking volunteers throughout the rest of the year. That’s a very flawed mentality throughout too many congregations. While I like the week of VBS, among other things the ministry and mentality concerning it needs to be re-imagined.

  4. Maybe we need to move VBS to the end of August so it cares through into the school year. That way it a kick of the school year instead of being a grand ending to it.

    I am starting to believe that nothing can be missional if it is just a one trick pony

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