Why Vacation Bible School Is as Important Now as Ever

He’s older now. Retired, but not done. He doesn’t move quickly, and his hearing is not great. For thirty years, he shepherded our church. We call him “Brother Bob.” All of Bradenton calls him that. He’s a passionate evangelist for evangelism. Give him a minute of your time, and you’ll hear him share the gospel. Boldly. Without apology. 

A couple of years ago, he brought three children to Vacation Bible School. Two of them accepted Christ. In fact, dozens of children, even a few parents, have accepted Christ in the last few years at our VBS. Countless gospel seeds were planted. 

What other program or event bears this kind of fruit in a one-week timeframe? VBS is a local mission trip that just about any church can do. Here is why it’s important to my church, West Bradenton.

Multiple generations come together. For one intense week, a multi-generational army unites around the good news of Jesus. It’s one of the most beautiful scenes in ministry.

People from the neighborhood show up. The Holy Spirit guides families from their front yards to our front door. VBS is an opportunity for us to be good neighbors. 

The gospel is the central focus. The reason we do VBS is to share the gospel. Undoubtedly, the games, activities, and skits are a lot of fun. But the focal point is telling children about Jesus. Everything else is periphery to the grand purpose of sharing with a child, “Here is how Jesus saves you.” 

Men get to be kids. Our VBS happens at night, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. There are several reasons for this timeslot, but one of the biggest is that a later time gives many men in our church the opportunity to serve. The women at West Bradenton always step up in incredible ways, but there’s something special about seeing a middle-aged man in a colorful wig doing kid song motions.

Unity in the church is strengthened. VBS is one of the least controversial ministries a church can offer. The collective effort strengthens bonds between generations. We all share the same moment together, and the memories made build bridges among people who would otherwise not interact with each other.

We carry with us the legacy of Brother Bob and his generation. Some in our church are in their fifth or sixth decade of VBS. When I’m older and retired, when my hearing is gone and I don’t move as quickly, I hope to bring children to VBS just like Brother Bob. VBS is as important now as ever. I believe it will be just as vital in the future. Every year, we all get VBS-tired, but it’s worth it. Every bit of it.

Posted on June 5, 2024

As President of Church Answers, Sam Rainer wears many hats. From podcast co-host to full-time Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church, Sam’s heart for ministry and revitalization are evident in all he does.
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  • Such a powerful article, Sam! And quite timely. For one week each year, we reach about 200 children within our community and the energy they bring not just into our church, but also into the lives of the multi-generational team of volunteers is life-changing. It’s amazing to see others “preach” the good news through a playful connection with those who bring out a genuine joy in each of us. And… I want in on the love, too! I love you, too, Sam. From how you have equipped pastors, encouraged congregations, and even graciously endorsed my books, your generous spirit is contagious. You rock, bro!

  • Larry Webb says on

    I love this article! VBS is the best way to share Jesus and a great outreach in the community. Thanks for reminding me and telling the story of Brother Bob. Now let me say something I think is manly, I love you man! What encouragement and what a great organization! Go Church Answers!