Wednesday, July 09, 2008

True Purpose

Every year for the past ten years I've been in conversations with church staff, parents, kids etc. about whether Vacation Bible School is an idea whose time has passed. Is it time to let go of this mid-20th century manifestation of Christian formation instead of clinging to it, tweaking it, and waxing nostalgic about the hundreds of youngsters who flocked to this hallowed week at our church "back in the day"?

But I think I have finally accepted the real purpose of VBS. It acts as a once-a-year antidote to Pastors taking themselves too seriously. In the past three days I have:

Helped a nine-year old stuff bird seed into a balloon.
Led fifty+ children and youth in a rendition of "Jesus Was A Cool Dude"
Soaked, squashed and crumpled T-shirts, then placed them in the church freezer.
Arbitrated a jello dispute between two kindergarteners
Cheered enthusiastically for TEAM PURPLE!!!
Listened to biblical instruction from a squirrel puppet.

You see? VBS still plays an important role.


SpookyRach said...

Ha ha! Good point. But, as much as I miss the crayon ironing that Zorra mentioned (and yes, I DO miss it)I still hate bible school.

When I was a kid it made for a long and stressful week at the preacher's house. And now it seems that the only workers are school teachers who are guilted into doing because they don't have 'real jobs' and are off for the summer.

I'm like the Scrooge of VBS. hee hee!

Presbyterian Gal said...

At my church it is a competition with another local Presbyterian church that always attracts a huge number of kids in their smaller than our space.

cheesehead said...

I guess I'll be taking myself too seriously this year.

Go ahead, somebody ask me what that means...

::taps foot expectantly::

It means we're not doing it this year! WOO HOO!

I've billed it as a one-year hiatus. I hope to (really do) do it next year. I hope I'll be rested up from last year by then.

Songbird said...

I haven't been at a church with VBS in all my ministry, and I'm sad about it. I grew up on it, loved it, remember traveling by bus to stay with my grandmother when we had moved to another town.
Does that squirrel have a name?

St. Casserole said...

You've pinpointed the ONLY real reason for VBS surviving.

Listening to a Squirrel tell Bible stories is fabulous!

CJ said...

I have been inviolved with VBS the past 3 years...I'm in charge of crafts. Each year our numbers have gotten bigger. My daughter was bummed that she missed it this year because we were on vacation. I planned and organized all the crafts before we left.

Lydia said...

No VBS here anymore!

Last year we tried something new -- a one day Intergenerational Spiritual Retreat focused on the orignal disciples and how we are called to be disciples.

We had "visits" from the original disicples, three women disciples and the woman at the well. In between we had storytelling, games, and music and the art project was to make discipleship banners that we combined on a banner to display in the sanctuary.

The next day the retreat continued at Church School and Worship. At Worship we had Mary, the mother of Jesus, join us to talk about how people were drawn to him then John the Beloved came to tell how the call was for eveyone.

We had lunch togehter then two praise bands -- one who played at Worship (not our norm) play a concert.

Although we advertised big time it was only our own folks who came out on Saturday and Sunday, but it was almost the whole congregaiton. We did have some visitors for the concert -- not as many as we would have liked, but it was rockin'.

This year the CE Committee decided no VBS . . . another weekend Spiritual Retreat -- we'll let the community know, but it will be OK if no one else comes . . . this time it is about Jesus coming for everyone.

Grace and peace,