“Children, would you prefer stir-fried vegetables and rice or cake and ice cream for supper tonight?” What kind of question is that! you may ask—or perhaps you have read my previous post “The Unhealthiest Meal” and you think you may have an idea where I am going with this.
While most people would probably see no harm in offering children an occasional “treat”, I think it would be safe to say that those same people would most likely find great danger in offering the treat as the main course—especially day after day.
What are we feeding the children?
The question I would like to present is this: What are we feeding the children when they commit the time to come out to our Vacation Bible Schools? Are they being fed “sweet treats” that will not satisfy? Or are they being fed the Living Bread that comes down from Heaven? This question matters.
We must keep focus, from the moment we start to plan our next Vacation Bible School, all the way through the closing program and beyond. It is important to know what our goal is—and that is to share Jesus with children, who need Him just like we do. Therefore, keeping focus really means simply keeping our eyes on Jesus, and every step of the way asking ourselves, “Is this the best way to lead the children to Jesus, or could it be done better another way?”
Different is okay!
One thing I would like to point out is that it is okay—even desirable—for Vacation Bible School to be different from other experiences a child has had. In other words, our Vacation Bible School does not have to copy the world to draw the children. Jesus has so much to offer. If we are feeling a need to water down His word in an effort to reach the children, it would do well to dig deep in prayer and do some personal heart-searching.
Vacation Bible School is not daycare; it is not entertainment. Sure the parents often get a little (perhaps longed-for) break, and sure the children find themselves enjoying the day, and eager for the next one. But this is a side-effect of careful planning and a well thought-out Vacation Bible School program.
What Vacation Bible School is is outreach and evangelism. Dictionary.com defines outreach as “the act of extending services, benefits, etc., to a wider section of the population, as in community work.”
What services do we offer at Vacation Bible School? We offer the utmost in care for the children, a taste of education at its greatest, a peek into the lives of men and women, boys and girls, who make the service of God supreme.
What benefits do we offer at Vacation Bible School? The gospel! We extend the most distinguished invitation of all time: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”; and again, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Matthew 11:28; Revelation 22:17) We offer love, joy, and peace “not as the world giveth”.
Vacation Bible School must be nourishing
Let us keep our eyes on Jesus and refuse to feed the children sweets that will not satisfy. Vacation Bible School should be tasty and appetizing, so to speak, but at the same time, it must be nourishing! Be sure to check back for Part 2 of “Let’s Feed the Children”, where we will look into one of God’s chosen methods for satisfying His hungering people. Then in Part 3 we will explore some very specific areas where we may be tempted to sway from our values—and ways to uphold principle in a healthy, inviting manner for the precious children.