Why Vacation Bible School matters

As some of you probably know, we (LifeWay Christian Resources) keep statistics on VBS participation in SBC churches.  Every time I take a look at these statistics, I’m humbled that God allows me to even be a small part of such a great ministry! I’m not sure that there is another church event that can have the impact on children and families that VBS does. It is an event that has proven itself year after year to be extremely effective in reaching unchurched families. Here are some statistics from 2007:

  • 2,876,877 children, teens, and adults participated in a Southern Baptist Vacation Bible School.
  • Of those participants,  267,771 identified themselves as unchurched – many more are most likely unchurched in practice.
  • Of those who identified themselves as unchurched, 37,888 enrolled in Sunday School following VBS. Think about this – 37,888 sounds like a lot of people, but when you consider that each person represents a home with additional siblings, parents, and other relatives living in the home, that number can quickly becomes 1,000,000.
  • One of the most amazing statistics is one of every sixteen 1st – 6th graders was enrolled in an SBC VBS in 2007.
  • VBS 2007 accounted for 88,097 professions of faith during the week of or immediately following VBS, resulting in 26% of all 2007 SBC baptisms.

These stats are remarkable, but when we consider that 95% of the churches in a recent survey responded that their greatest need was help with follow-up, what would the stats be if every church intentionally used VBS as an evangelistic event and made sure the home of every participant was contacted, the gospel message shared, and follow-up contacts made? VBS truly has the potential of changing lives, churches, and communities.

Thanks to Jerry Wooley, our VBS Ministry Specialist at LifeWay, for helping me with these stats!

So – with all that said – today’s tips will be on how to get your community to VBS, and how to take VBS outside the walls of your church!

VBS makes a difference

I didn’t go to the SBC annual meeting this year (someone has to stay back at the office!), but have already heard great things about the pastors luncheon honoring 200 SBC churches that experienced the largest VBS enrollment increases over the past 5 years.  Did you know that one in four baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention last year happened as a result of VBS? 

I’m a little obsessed with Vacation Bible School  - in my defense, it is kind of part of my job. (And I guess there are worse things to be obsessed with.) I’m so obsessed that I follow what people are twittering about VBS using tweet scan. It so interesting to me the different perspectives people have about VBS – tired teachers, thankful parents, frustrated tech guys, and people who know that the results of VBS are worth all of the work that goes into it!

Why am I telling you guys this? Because I believe that VBS makes a difference. And I know it’s hard work for VBS directors, teachers, and volunteers, but I know that the results make it worth all of the work that you do. So be encouraged, and when you get frustrated, or overwhelmed, or you just can’t get the Wiki Wiki song out of your head, remember the opportunity you have to change kids lives forever – and know that we at LifeWay are praying for you.