In addition to Bible study and a large-group experience we call Worship Rally, LifeWay's VBS includes resources for crafts, recreation, music, missions and snacks. Each activity - including snacks - is designed to have a direct tie or application to both the Biblical passage and theme for each day.
Due to time restraints, space restrictions, or worker shortages, VBS leaders are often faced with the decision to trim back some of the traditional components of VBS. The first component to be chopped tends to be missions. But, before you start cutting consider these six reasons why missions study should be included in your VBS.
1. An emphasis on missions results in decisions for vocational ministry. As a result of VBS - and specifically mission studies - approximately 2,500 kids, teens and adults make decisions each year to pursue careers in vocational ministries such as pastors and missionaries.
2. An emphasis on missions challenges kids to think outside of themselves and their community. During VBS mission studies kids are exposed to people, cultures and needs outside of their known world and are challenged to think globally. Kids are challenged to realize the world does not revolve around them individually.
3. An emphasis on missions provides kids with examples of Believers living out their faith. During VBS mission studies kids meet missionary families who are following God's call to "make disciples of all nations." Through the practical experiences and stories of real-life missionaries, kids are challenged to become missionaries themselves and see every place they go - including school and the park - as their mission field.
4. An emphasis on missions connects VBS with other ministries and mission endeavors of the church. Quiet often kids - even kids who attend church every week - are unaware of the outreach and benevolence ministries of their church. Through VBS mission studies kids get a glimpse into the far-reaching impact the church has on their community and the world. Kids are challenged to not just be the recipients of ministry but to also be providers of ministry.
5. An emphasis on missions provides an opportunity for kids to participate in hands-on projects and to give of themselves and their money. Kids love to create, get involved, and do something with their hands that makes a difference. VBS mission projects gives them an opportunity to put their talents and energy to productive use and experience the fun of helping others.
6. An emphasis on missions shows kids they do not have to wait to be adults to make a difference. As already stated, kids love to get involved, but are often told - either through actions or implications - they must wait until they are adults to make a true difference. VBS mission studies challenges kids to make a difference now, where they are, and with the resources they have.
Jerry Wooley, @vbsguy, serves you as LifeWay's VBS Ministry Specialist. A little known fact about Jerry - upon leaving his church staff position in 2006, the church (Park Place Baptist Church, Houston) commissioned him as a missionary to LifeWay Christian Resources and the world beyond.