by Joshua Mason
If only there were no limits on what could be done in ministry—unlimited hours in each day, a rich donor to pay for every financial need, always plenty of volunteers—but enough of dreaming. In real life it isn’t so, and there are limitations to what can be done. That means we have to carefully determine each priority and goal in our individual ministry settings. Then we can start building roads (ministries in the church) that will take us there.
Throughout its long history, the road called Vacation Bible School has taken churches to goals that were exactly what they needed. And that’s still the case today! What are some goals for VBS, and why are they important?
Goal 1: To get involved in what’s close to Jesus’ heart and to be close to His heart
Jesus loves kids (Mark 10:13–16). VBS is one of the best ways for getting close to Jesus’ heart and is a rare and precious opportunity to show His love. When else does a church devote a whole week to showing Jesus’ love to kids? As a result, wonderful things can happen in each director’s, worker’s, volunteer’s, and child’s relationship with Christ.
Goal 2: To reach children with the gospel
Some children may have never heard the clear gospel message anywhere else, and some just need to hear it in a new setting for it to take effect. A high percentage of born-again Christians trusted in Jesus as children, and RBP’s VBS has long been recognized for evangelistic effectiveness.
Goal 3: To present God’s Word in a way that can change students’ lives
In VBS, the Bible is taught on kids’ level and shown to apply to their lives. Good lesson activities help connect the Bible’s truths in exciting ways that reach every learning style. Kids get love and attention, perhaps like at no other time in the year. All this helps God’s Word take root in their hearts in a special way.
Goal 4: To help saved students grow in Christ and connect them with His Body, the church
VBS can be fresh air in kids’ walk with Christ. Along with connections to good friends and mentors, it gives them opportunities to grow and serve through the missions offering, inviting and showing Jesus’ love to friends, helping their teachers or other students, and so much more. After VBS, they can grow through ongoing children’s discipleship. RBP offers Biblical, effective resources for growing all year long in Strong Curriculum and Kids4Truth.
Goal 5: To build a bridge to parents and families of students
Building a bridge to adults and families is a good long-term goal for VBS. When children are reached, there is a much better opportunity for reaching their parents.
Goal 6: To provide a vibrant avenue for spiritual growth in the lives of volunteers
VBS is an exciting venture that takes much prayer, dependence on God, and Bible study in preparation. It can push the Body of Christ into being healthier and to grow in love. People can develop strong connections within the church, even if they weren’t connected before. VBS is also a wonderful training ground and entry point for Christian service with its limited, set time commitment. Virtually any skill that is represented in your church has a place in VBS—carpentry, decorating, teaching, music, sewing, cooking—the list could go on and on.
Goal 7: To boost the life of a church
This is not so much a goal as a special byproduct that happens in many churches. VBS is exciting, and it can make people excited about church again. It’s fun just to see the church transformed through all the decorations and to see joy on children’s faces. But the best part is the joy God brings as people observe what He is doing in the lives of children, families, and volunteers.
Each church is unique. Some of these seven goals may require more emphasis, depending on the needs in your ministry setting. You want your goals to be in tune with God’s goals, so put much prayer into them. Set them as a team: pastor, church leadership, and VBS staff.
God can accomplish more than any of us can ask or think! And He can even accomplish goals that are more meaningful than any you might have dreamed of. As your goals solidify, they will bring clarity and help people rally around VBS—providing specifics to give to, work toward, and depend on God for. Goals will enhance the ministry of your church and make it more effective in your community.
Joshua Mason is creative manager of RBP’s Vacation Bible School.