How long should Vacation Bible School last? Perhaps you have puzzled over the question of one week or two; or, perhaps it never really occurred to you that there was even an option.
Vacation Bible School is a vital outreach program. The children of our church and our community deserve the best we can give them, and I strongly believe that part of what that means is a two-week program.
Two weeks are better than one for a variety of reasons. Bonds are built, learning is solidified, the closing program becomes more meaningful, and the children leave with a strong foundation to build upon.
Bonds are strengthened
In order for us to reach anyone, there must be a bond of trust and love built between two hearts. It is no different when we are dealing with children.
By the end of the first week of Vacation Bible School, the children are really warming up to their VBS teachers. In the second week, the bonds strengthen. The children really start to see the teachers as friends.
In my experience, it is in this second week when you start to get deeper questions; this is when the children really start to feel safe and their desire for Christ strengthens immensely.
Besides the teacher-child bonds that are formed, two weeks gives the children time to get to know each other, too. Lasting friendships are formed with a quality common experience and life purpose.
The word is spread
Children who come to VBS are encouraged to invite friends. Some children who come by this special invitation will be there for the first time on the second, third, or even fourth day. With a second week to come, these children will still have an opportunity to learn and grow.
Memory verses are remembered
One important part of Vacation Bible School is the memory verses. This is where we are privileged to place in the hands of young soldiers the Sword of the Spirit. How important it is that we make sure this is a thorough work!
In one week, several children may be able to recite their memory verses; but with two weeks of enjoyable drill those same verses are much more likely to be retained for the long-term.
Foundations are solidified
Another consideration is what should obviously be the goal of Vacation Bible School — building Biblical foundations for the faith of those young souls.
As much as we would love to have every child that ever steps foot into our Vacation Bible School decide to attend our church every week, the fact is that many times VBS may become the only contact we ever have with a child.
Two weeks provides a comfortable amount of time for our teaching to be thorough. Children completing a two-week VBS program will leave with a solid Biblical foundation to stand on. Attempting to condense a quality program into one week is, in my opinion, cheating the children.
More hearts are touched
There is another part to Vacation Bible School that could be easily overlooked, yet this part is an excellent opportunity, which we should not be quick to pass by. This important time is the closing program, in which not only are the key points of VBS reviewed in the children’s minds; friends, neighbors, parents, and other family members are eagerly brought into the church and are also in a position to be impressed by God’s Holy Spirit.
Two weeks gives time for the closing program to be a very high quality event, worthy as an offering to our Heavenly King and worthwhile to those who commit the time to come see it.
A two-week Vacation Bible School is far superior to a one-week program. It may take a bit of extra commitment on the part of the leaders and helpers, but what is two weeks in light of eternity?
For the children and the King,
Sheila Edeliant 🙂
owner, Hasten Home
P.S. I highly recommend you also read Kathy’s letter here: How long should VBS last? #5.