Welcome to Agency D3. This year’s VBS theme is full of secret agents and investigating the truth. In a culture that prides itself on relativism and half-truths, this VBS theme is as timely as it is fun! We’ve even gotten a “threat” from a supervillain by the name “Doctor B” who has threatened to sabotage our VBS in order to distort the truth. Hopefully there will be a special agent that rises to the challenge to thwart Doctor B’s evil plan and ensure that the truth is preserved for all the children learning during Vacation Bible School.
Every year, our VBS leadership does a fantastic job of putting together a top-notch outreach. It is always important to remember that VBS is about getting the Good News of Jesus into as many hearts and homes as possible. While decorations are exciting, snacks are delicious, and crafts are, well, artsy, the ultimate goal is that people are introduced to Jesus and accept Him as Savior.
This year, I found myself a little discouraged leading up to VBS because we don’t have a monopoly on the VBS calendar for this week. In fact, there are at least 9 churches from our Association doing VBS this week. And not all of those churches are on the other side of the county either. In fact, Mills Chapel, Macedonia and Heatherwood are all doing VBS this week. Why did this discourage me? Because I realized that with three of our closest sister churches doing VBS at the same time that our numbers would be seriously deflated. I have to admit that it is very exciting to have our church full of kids for VBS.
And then the Lord began to deal with my discouragement. He helped me see the blessing of sharing the week with our sister churches – even if it meant fewer kids in attendance. Allow me to explain.
One of the problems with VBS is that we tend to pick up a LOT of kids to attend other evangelical churches. It isn’t that we don’t love those children, but in reality, if they are faithful and happy participants of another church, then they are not the “target” of an outreach like VBS. If those kids happen to become Christians during our VBS, we rejoice in that decision – but we still encourage their home church to take care of the necessary followup through baptism and discipleship. Perhaps a fishing analogy will help explain: If I’m fishing for bass, it isn’t that I mind catching a catfish from time to time, but that’s not my target. And if I spend all my time, effort and resources on catfish, then I never have the opportunity to catch the bass. Therein lies the problem with VBS – catfish. Understand?
When our VBS is filled with kids whose families are faithful and happy participants at other churches – then we spend a lot of our resources on families that really aren’t our target, and we end up missing the unchurched family that happens to be with us for the week. With multiple VBS’s happening simultaneously, then we reduce the number of catfish in the pond, and we can pay closer attention to the bass that we’re fishing for. Always remember, VBS is about growing THE Kingdom, not OUR kingdom. This week, we can have a real opportunity – even if we have fewer kids – to see more children and families reached with the Gospel.
One of the best things you can do this week is help your kids identify unchurched families in your neighborhood and invite them to come and have fun this week. I promise you, they will hear the Gospel while they’re here. While this is true particularly during the week of VBS, it is generally true all year long. Unchurched people will typically only come to church after multiple invitations by a friend, family member, or neighbor. 75% of all reported church growth is due to people leaving one church to go to another one. This kind of growth is a zero-sum game because the Kingdom doesn’t grow. But when unchurched people repent from sins and give their life to Christ, then there is real Kingdom growth and the angels in heaven rejoice!