Well, we made it. Vacation Bible School has come and gone, and with it the sights and sounds (and smells) of the occasion.
From a numerical standpoint, there were 243 registered overall with 150+ being children. They weren’t all with us on the same day, but over the course of the week we were able to make contact with each of them. The children also contributed $75 to Operation Kid to Kid, a number which I’m sure our church family will match. Numbers, however, in my mind at least, are not the greatest measure of effectiveness in VBS or in ministry in general. The most important number thus far is the one child who made his profession of faith this week.
What I appreciated most about the week was the dedication of our volunteers, without whom VBS would not be possible. It is a level of commitment to work with children who are not part of our church family for the simple purpose of sharing Jesus with them. These men and women who worked are senior and young adults, college students, and teenagers. We even called in some friends for additional support and they were grateful to assist.
VBS has been around for a long time. I remember attending as a child, and there are some senior adults around who tell me about two-week VBS meetings (that idea was a non-starter).Even so, I have found this particular program to be the most effective for us in reaching a large group of children for Christ. We may not know the impact of our efforts this week, but I believe this was very much time well spent.
There are many decisions that go in to leading a congregation, and often times these are carried out without 100% support of the people. What you hope to happen is, that after discussion and debate that the people can move forward, together to carry out their mission for Christ. That is the nature and responsibility of being part of a church that practices a congregational form of government.
However, I do believe that churches should be unanimous in doing whatever they can to minister to children and their parents. This can be an emotional and even a financial investment which does not always provide an immediate return. Some churches balk at the prospect of investing valuable resources on people when there isn’t a guarantee they will show up on Sundays. That would be a wonderful byproduct of these efforts, but it can’t be the primary motivation for doing so. The church is called to love others simply because that is what we are supposed to do. Jesus even commanded us as his followers to do this.
So, on the heels of this VBS, I want to express my gratitude to UHBC for coming together to show hospitality and love to the preschoolers, children, and parents who came our way. I know that many of our members could have chosen to do any number of things during this week other than VBS, and for their sacrifice of time and energy I am truly grateful.