You know the drill. You ask, and you ask, and you ask. You cut shapes out of construction paper while watching TV at night. Your kids act like they own the church building when you are there, because…
you are always there.
You ask some more. You try to remember how many people brought cookies last year. You have endless lists covered in sticky notes. You go to sleep with this year’s theme song stuck in your head. And you wake up to the same track playing over and over and over. You to go this meeting. And you mark your calendar for the next. You plan your family vacation AFTER VBS. Never before.
You did that one year.
Never again. Never.
And yet, as it gets closer, the anticipation builds. At some point, the stress fades, and you are living what you love – Vacation Bible School! Day after day, you return home utterly exhausted and completely exhilarated. Your spouse knows that you will need to spend at least an hour debriefing details of each encounter, each event, each funny exploit, each inhale-a-deep-breath-and-exhale-a-quick-prayer moment.
But at some point in all of the chaos, everything comes into extreme focus, and you find yourself asking THE question. The question whose answer can either plague, comfort, or confront you.
Why am I doing this? Why do we spend money on this madness? Why do we go all out with decorations, curriculum, songs…
When I was faced with that soul-searching question, I was not satisfied with a trite answer of, “we do it for the kids.” And while I agree, VBS is for kids, that is not the overwhelming “why.”
I could not continue to “do VBS” without a solid answer to THE question. After wrestling with it, maybe even for years, I have finally found an answer that satisfies my soul.
But when I really grappled with that simple question, I found myself finally quenched with an infinitely complex and yet wonderfully complete answer. I know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I want others to know that hope as well.
And I’m not only talking about the kids who ride the bus from the rough part of town. I’m talking about the person who I work with the closest, my right-hand lady, the people who count cookies, the teens who signed up just to play at game time, the mom you met at story-hour and whose kids you invited.
I want each person who is touched by VBS, even the secretary at the school where you signed forms for the use of the bus, to hear the truth about who Jesus is.
“I want each person who is touched by VBS to hear the truth about who Jesus is.”
If each teacher on your staff has a solid relationship with Jesus (and they should), I want them to be encouraged by the gospel. If there is a student who has never heard the truth of Jesus, I want them to be wooed by the gospel. If there is a mom or dad who has been avoiding the gospel, I want them to be challenged to their core by it. I want the hope of the gospel to permeate every atmosphere where VBS has vaguely touched.
“If there is a student who has never heard the truth of Jesus, I want them to be wooed by the gospel.”
You see, Jesus is a Rescuer. He came to perform the greatest rescue the world has ever known. We are stuck in a problem of such seriousness, that, left in this problem, we are promised eternal separation from the Good God who created us. This problem is sin. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that displeases God.
But (I love that word), even when we were promised eternal death (separation from God), while we were in our ugly sin, God had a plan for our rescue. Jesus came to earth as a little baby. He lived a perfect life. He served people (just like you do) and ministered to the hurting. And just as God perfectly planned, Jesus took the punishment for sin. He died and as He did that, he took the weight of sin and suffered separation from His Father.
But (that awesome word again), death had no power over the perfect God-man. Jesus rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God. We are told in Romans 8 that Jesus is interceding for us. Jesus, Himself, is praying to God on our behalf.
When we view VBS through the filter of the gospel, our purpose becomes clear. You see, VBS isn’t just a fancy program for kids. VBS is a life-offering effort to share the great Rescue Plan with each person it touches.
“VBS is a life-offering effort to share the great Rescue Plan with each person it touches.”
The beauty of VBS is that it involves and impacts so many. The church body gears up together to serve. The community is flooded with news of something for kids to do. Businesses are called upon for their support. Parents are encouraged to engage their kids.
Each contact is an opportunity for the gospel to go forward.
Be intentional about the chaos. Let it offer life-giving hope to every person it touches.
When the stress of it all threatens to overwhelm you, let your soul be refreshed by the hope that the gospel brings to your life.
- Speak it out loud to yourself
- Rehearse it in your mind.
- Listen to it with your heart.
- Find someone who can encourage you with it.
- Preach the gospel to your soul.
No form found to get some of my favorite practical ways to encourage yourself with the gospel moment by moment as a free download.
What do you do to keep the gospel your focal point?
I’d love to know how using the gospel as your filter helps you wade through the chaos. Encourage all of us by commenting below!
Photo Credit: Viktor Hanacek
3 thoughts on “Why all the VBS chaos?”
I am married to a ‘VBS Nerd’. A special gleam in her eye appears after Christmas. You can almost hear the wheels turning in her head and they grind out the noise, “VBS IS COMING… START THE PLANNING… GATHER THE TROOPS!.” Thanks for doing this. I will be visiting often.
Scott, I loved serving with your wonderful wife. And your awesome VBSing family. I hope that this proves profitable for your church.