Vacation Bible School: Why We Do It

Just the words “Vacation Bible School” conjure up happy childhood memories for me. Of popsicle stick napkin-holders and purple Kool-Aid. Of pledges to the flags and “Red Rover, Red Rover, send ——- right over.”

My husband Al and daughter Audra have been braving mornings of Vacation Bible School at our church, Ridgecrest Baptist Church, all week. The theme for the week has been “Amazing Wonders Aviation”. Attendance for VBS has hovered at 300 persons for children and helpers alike. Lots of fun, food, and fellowship. All centered around Bible stories, music, crafts and recreation.

Having done an informal survey of other churches in our area, I’ve found very few hold daytime Vacation Bible Schools any more. Most churches, if they still do one, offer it in the evenings when they can more easily secure helpers.

Some might say Vacation Bible School has outlived its usefulness. Like other old Baptist ways of Training Union or Sunday night worship, it’s often scoffed as a ministry idea that is outdated, ineffective, unappreciated.

Those naysayers couldn’t be more wrong.

Our revamped VBS is a new animal. At least at Ridgecrest where God has blessed us with the staff to pull it off, the children shuffle through the building in a block schedule. They are moved from place to place as a hall bell rings, signaling them to go onto their next activity. Thus, fewer specialized teachers are actually needed, and many of the helpers function simply as “crowd control/kid movers.”


Meet Max Elkins, a 24-year-old young man who showed up to help out.

He recognized my husband Al.  “I remember you,” he said to Al. “I used to come to Vacation Bible School when I was a kid and you were here THEN, doing the music.” It’s true, we’ve been serving at Ridgecrest 24 years, and have seen a lot, a LOT of kids come and go through the doors.

Max went on to say, “I’ve been attending Ridgecrest as a visitor, heard we were having Vacation Bible School this week, and wondered if I could pitch in. Where can you use me?”

After Al’s initial shock, he directed Max to the snack area, where Denise Simmons got him and everyone else on track, churning out neat treats for the kids in assembly-line fashion.


Vacation Bible School made a lasting impression on this young man and he wanted to give back.

We cannot predict the results this week of light-hearted exploration about God will have on tender hearts and minds.  Some children will definitely become believers.

Others will grow into adults, who will perhaps remember VBS with fondness and will entrust their children to us someday. Whatever the outcome, we get to plant lots of SEEDS and watch God produce a harvest.

Vacation Bible School. That’s why we still do it.

Lookin’ up,














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  1. Ann Dobies says:

    If you have ever attended Vacation Bible School, I don’t believe you ever forget it. As I read your blog, memories of my own childhood days in VBS came flooding back (65 years back).
    I remember marching into the sanctuary to “Onward Christian Soldiers”, the pledges to the flags, a brief reading of scripture and a verse to learn by the next day, and then on to our respective classes, then to the church yard where we were given popsicles of all colors, Kool-Aid and cookies for our treat. I still can hear the laughter, and the fun from seeing what color everyone’s tongue was after eating grape, orange, cherry and other assorted flavors of popsicles. But most of all I remember hearing great Bible stories, learning God’s Word, and making some of the same things you mentioned.
    Back when I went, all the churches had VBS, and it was much anticipated by the children every year. And so it still is today. I hope and pray that VBS will remain as big a part of our church as the AWANAS are now. You’re right…seeds are planted and young minds remember so much more than perhaps we give them credit. These little people are our future and our hope for God’s Word to be carried on.

    • Ann,

      VBS is a treasure we can continue to give our children each summer, no matter what else in church life changes. You and I agree, it is so well-worth it. May God receive the glory!

      Thanks for posting!

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