VBS Season Begins as Schools Dismiss for Summer
By Carl Stagner
Whether you can’t wait for it to start or can’t wait for it to be over, VBS season is upon us. At Church of God congregations from coast to coast, Vacation Bible School has long served as a means to community outreach, congregational engagement, evangelism, and discipleship; for many churches in 2022, VBS remains a valuable tool. Sometimes the numerous volunteers required to pull off a great VBS leads to widespread fatigue in the aftermath of a busy week of wacky and wonderful activity but, as numerous leaders have discovered—and as untold children whose lives have been changed for the better know firsthand—the spiritual dividends are worth the investment.
Weekly church announcements in person and online over the past month, at least, have signaled that preparations are well underway for VBS in the local church. The Church of God at Robertsdale in Pennsylvania, for instance, urged parishioners to “save your big round containers” designed to hold cheese balls, pretzels, etc.—knowing these items would surely come in handy for Vacation Bible School! Pastor Jason Jordan urged the congregation at West Side Church in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, via social media video to sign up “your children” for what is expected to be a popular summer experience beginning in just a few weeks. In Texas, Real Hope Church is busy promoting “getting s’more of Jesus” as part of a popular curriculum, all the while gearing up for a mighty move of God in their midst. Meanwhile, Irvine First Church of God in Kentucky is early and imminently on the scene with their VBS, complete with Bible lessons, music, crafts, food, and games for children ages four through twelve.
Over the years, Church of God congregations have put their own spin on Vacation Bible School, keeping the community and volunteers on their toes, and adding special appeal and priming the pump for greater impact. Several years ago, Main Street Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, took VBS “on the road” to a local apartment complex instead of expecting the community to come to them. South Side Church of God in St. Louis, Missouri, has found success designing VBS especially for children with special needs. On the other side of the state, karate has been a unique feature of the Vacation Bible School programming at Southside Community Church of God in Joplin. VBS has a history of reaching families on the Navajo reservation of northeastern Arizona through the Klagetoh Shelter Mission, and in Atlanta, Georgia, a homeowner’s garage was used as a safe and welcoming setting for VBS instead of the traditional church property. In 2019 at the Church of God Convention, it was a VBS-style ministry that invested in children of pastors, lay leaders, missionaries, and other guests of the Orlando, Florida, gathering.
What creative approach has your church taken with VBS? Any special programming this year? How has VBS had an impact on your life? It certainly has for CHOGnews associate editor Kevin Spear. Check out his witty and heartwarming blog post and cartoon at https://kevinspear.com/cartoon/vbs-gusto. Share your own VBS story at https://cgm.formstack.com/forms/sharethestory.
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.
Feature (top) photo: County Line Church of God (Auburn, Indiana) VBS several years ago (file).