Thou shalt keep Vacation Bible School holy

"Baja night sky" by king damus 2009 (creative commons attribution license) - flickr.com

Thou shalt keep Vacation Bible School holy. Lead the children’s eyes from the things of the world, up to the wonders of God!

Have you considered that Vacation Bible School should be holy?

I have a burden on my heart for the children in this world–I am guessing you do, too. We put on children’s ministry programs, like Vacation Bible School, because we want the children to truly know the love and power of Jesus in their lives.

But is it possible that our desire for success may be driving us to destroy the sanctity of our children’s ministry?

None of us starts out knowing how to succeed. We must learn. We must experiment. We must consider how others have gone about similar goals. Sometimes this is good–sometimes it is disastrous.

Did you notice the vital parts I left out of the list? We must pray. We must consult God’s Word.

As we plan and conduct our Vacation Bible Schools, we must avoid using the ways of the world to try to teach the ways of God!

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? ~2 Corinthians 6:14

Let’s look at five areas where Vacation Bible School leaders are often tempted to compromise in an attempt to draw the children. Are we trying to draw the children to Vacation Bible School? Or to God?

I submit the following list to you with a prayerful heart. I hope you will read it with the same.

  1. Music
  2. This one is perhaps the most dangerous of them all: music. Music can be powerful for good or for evil–and I’m not just talking about the words!

    The words are, of course, a good place to start. Teach the children songs with deep meaning. It does not have to be a continual round of repetitious words for them to remember it. Choose a few truly spiritual songs for your Vacation Bible School and repeat them every day. The children will both learn and be strengthened by them.

    The underlying music ought to be holy and reverent, as well as the words. It makes no sense to take the blessed words of life and set them to a wild popular dance rhythm, for example–and even less, to set the deceitful mixture before the children at Vacation Bible School.

    If you have not considered the question of the power of music, I urge you to take a look at Christian Berdahl’s website. He has a seminar, The Distraction Dilemma, which is very appropriately advertised as an “amazing music seminar”. You will be challenged.

  3. Words
  4. Oh, friends, how our words matter! Just try asking God to show you where your language could be more pure–you may be surprised! I know I have been. We must strive for purity, deeper and deeper yet!

    We must be constantly on guard as we prepare our Vacation Bible School programs, as well. Have you ever noticed how Vacation Bible School publishers often, in a misguided attempt to be cute and attractive, work terms into their Vacation Bible School curriculum that are far from holy?

    I will share one recent, widespread example and leave you to consider the rest. One particular Vacation Bible School curriculum chose a title which was oddly reminiscent of the word “pandemonium”.

    Do you know what a pandemonium is? The following definition is straight from dictionary.com:

    1. wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos.
    2. a place or scene of riotous uproar or utter chaos.
    3. ( often initial capital letter ) the abode of all the demons.
    4. hell

    What?! And we are allowing this–nay, inviting this into our churches?

    Or, if you need more evidence, just consider the word “mania”, which was literally and exactly part of the above-mentioned Vacation Bible School curriculum’s title: “excessive excitement or enthusiasm; craze”. Excessive excitement. That is what we are encouraging at our Vacation Bible Schools all over the country–and I dare to think, perhaps all over the world.

    It saddens me. But from what I have seen and heard with my own two eyes and ears, it is largely the truth. Perhaps the name was fitting. 🙁

    Let’s strive for the opposite. Let’s pray that our Vacation Bible Schools may be a refuge of peace for the children!

  5. Games
  6. Games and fun interactions are an important part of Vacation Bible School. They cement new concepts into the children’s minds and give them an opportunity to bond with teachers and students–and hopefully even parents–alike.

    However, for some reason, we tend to want to copy the world here, too. The Christian spirit is one of co-operation–not competition. Enough said.

  7. Illustrations
  8. Are the events in the Bible real? Do you believe it? Is the Bible holy? Do you believe that?

    How do you think our God would look upon frivolous treatment of holy things? If you are not sure, take a look back at Nadab and Abihu. I’m sure you can think of other examples. He does not take it lightly.

    And we should not, either.

    Illustrations for teaching the children the vital truths of God’s Word and the history of His people ought to be treated as holy. Now, don’t take me too far on this, but consider: Which would be more appropriate, a cartoon picture of Jesus or a life-like one?

    Heaven is real. The Bible is real. Cartoons are not. We need to make a distinction.

  9. Themes
  10. Vacation Bible School should have a good theme–something to draw the attention and keep everything held together throughout the program. What’s it going to be? Perhaps we could make it like a wild rock concert, or the big city…or a scene of utter chaos…

    Or perhaps, we could make it like a taste of Heaven, or the ocean-side, or the forest. We could build it around love, or team-work, or faith…There are plenty of options that will be attractive to children and honoring to God. Give it some prayer! 🙂

Keep Vacation Bible School holy

As Vacation Bible School leaders, we are in control. We don’t have to use the ways of the world to teach the ways of God. If we want to be truly successful, we must not use the ways of the world to teach the ways of God. The two just do not mix.


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