The children of our day are hungering. The Lord has asked us to feed them, and He has shown us how. Vacation Bible School is an excellent opportunity to reach out and share with them the Living Bread that cometh down from Heaven. Just as the manna tasted like “wafers made with honey”, but was perfectly nourishing by the heavenly power that attended it, the learning and growing that goes on in Vacation Bible School is sweet—it is fun and exciting—but it should also be perfectly nourishing by that same heavenly power that attended the manna.
In our eagerness to reach as many as possible, we may be tempted to sway away from our values for the sake of attracting a larger audience. But as we saw illustrated by the manna in Part 2, the result is a hunger that remains. We want to truly feed the children! So let us address some specific areas in Vacation Bible School where we may be tempted to lean away from our values. While each of these areas is probably worthy of an article in itself, for now we will simply touch on each one.
Music is a big one. Music should be thoroughly integrated into your Vacation Bible School program. It is a helpful tool for teaching Scripture, for bonding with the children, and for leading them to Jesus in a way that will benefit them for years to come.
The music at Vacation Bible School is no less worship than the music at any other church service. It should be pure and uplifting. The accompaniment should be simple and beautiful; the words should be meaningful and understandable.
If you would like to study more into holy versus worldly music, there are some excellent resources at www.shepherdscall.com.
Next are the stories. Vacation Bible School stories are stories with a purpose. They should be interesting, but entertainment must not be the primary purpose. The primary purpose should, of course, be to lead the children to Jesus. This is accomplished with quality stories, written in a truthful, appealing manner, suitable for young minds.
The stories should be read as if they are interesting, too! This is not the place for monotone voices or hurried expressions!
Also, keep in mind that the Bible is not a fictional storybook; on the contrary, it is an historical, inspired book. Cartoony drawings or presentations of Biblical stories only degrade the integrity of the word of God and should be avoided.
Crafts and games
Crafts and games are two parts of Vacation Bible School that many children especially look forward to. Even here, we have a purpose! Both crafts and games are opportunities to show the children about the Christian spirit of teamwork and encouragement—not competition and pride.
The activities should be chosen as far as possible to reflect the lessons being learned in the other parts of the child’s day. A majority of the crafts should produce meaningful results—something the child will be happy to keep or share with someone special. Remember, crafts and games are not simply another way to fill up some time—they are a key part of the program.
Memory verses are another vital part of Vacation Bible School. This is where we are privileged to actually place in the hands of young soldiers the Sword of the Spirit. Do not be tempted to skimp here.
It is not enough to hand each child a sheet of paper with some holy words on them and say, “Here you go. Learn these.” No, no! Spend time with the children and the Word. Sing the verses in song, over and again. Listen to the children as they share the verses they have committed to memory. Talk about the meanings during class time. Have the children write the verses, as they are able. Play games with them. Review the verses during craft time.
Make it fun! Live the Word!
Finally, we should be sure to guard the presentation of Scripture and Bible doctrine. The children come to Vacation Bible School to meet Jesus and to learn of His ways. We must be faithful to teach pure Biblical truth.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” If you are not sure of something that is presented in some part of the Vacation Bible School materials you have chosen, go to the Bible and prayerfully study it out! Only the purest Living Water will do.
The children are open; the Holy Spirit is working on their hearts. Let’s feed them!