It is hard to believe that another Vacation Bible School (VBS) has already come and is almost gone. VBS is a great opportunity to share the gospel with children over the course of one high-energy week. In a perfect scenario, we had the attention of a kid for 10 hours and used every moment to teach and reinforce Scripture. (Of course if you have ever been involved in a VBS you know it is rarely a perfect world.)
Even when we use every element to teach God’s Word (worship, Bible study, music, crafts, recreation, snacks, and even transition time):
our time and influence with kids is minuscule compared to the time they have at home with their parents.
So, here are:
3 ways that parents and church can build on VBS to help kids love God passionately:
- Pray – Paul understood the power of prayer in the lives of those he discipled. Paul wrote to Timothy: “night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers” (2 Timothy 1:3). To the people in the cities where he helped establish churches he wrote: “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2). And, “for this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you” (Colossians 1:9). Whether it was for a young man who he was discipling in ministry or a whole church, Paul was committed to praying for those he discipled. Church, pray for the children that attended VBS this year. Pray as Paul did for the people at the church in Ephesus “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:15-17). Parents, pray for your kids. Pray as Paul did for his spiritual son in Timothy that this faith that you are seeking to pass on to your children would live also in them (2 Timothy 1:3-5).
- Model – This week at our VBS we had a Jesus mascot walking around. It was fun watching the kids interact with Jesus. Some even thought he was the real Jesus. One little boy the first night wouldn’t leave until his mom met Jesus. Obviously our Jesus mascot was not the real Jesus, but our hope is that as parents and as a church family we would live our lives in front of our children in such a way that they would see Jesus in us. So church, model for our kids what it looks like to worship Jesus, and not just on Sunday morning, but what it looks like to live out your worship. Parents, model for your kids what it looks like to worship Jesus at work, at home, at play. Church, if we want this next generation to live out their worship, parents if we want our kids to live out their worship, we need to show them how it’s done. Think about it: How can you model for children that you are living out your worship? As Paul discipled others, his invitation was to “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). That’s our invitation to these children. Whether you are a parent or a grandparent, whether you serve in children’s ministry or simply model for them what it looks like to worship by living out a genuine faith consider how you can invite others to follow your example as you follow Christ.
- Release – our children’s ministry here at Grace Heartland Church is not meant to be a holding cell but a launching pad. Our homes are not meant to be bomb shelters but missile silos. As much as we want to protect our kids, the purpose of the church and the goal of parenthood is not to shelter them and cloister them from the world but to prepare them and launch them out into the world. Psalm 127:4 says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” Those arrows won’t do much good if the warrior always keeps them in his quiver. As parents and as a church, we want to launch our children out into the world to make a difference for Christ. So, church, don’t look at our children and our teenagers as the church of the future but the church of today. Parents, look for opportunities now to serve with your children, to live out your worship as a family. As leaders and parents our primary calling is not to keep our children in the church but to lead them to be the church. The best gift we can give our children is to enable them to play an active roll in God’s story of restoration and redemption. If what they hear doesn’t move from their heads to their hands it will probably never make it to their hearts.
Adam Castenir, Children’s Pastor