A HIGH POINT in the year spiritually for many people is Vacation Bible School. That’s largely because of the relationship factor and God’s love being poured out on children and their families at VBS. Students are impacted forever! That depth of impact often begins one student at a time. This was an approach Jesus frequently took (e.g., John 3; 4). During VBS the personal, one-on-one touch can go a long way. For many believers, discipleship happened when someone took an interest and a one-on-one approach to helping them grow in the Lord.
One way to ensure individual attention is to assign VBS team members to small groups of students who will be under their care throughout VBS. One-on-one discipleship can start immediately after a student accepts Christ as Savior. The worker who led the student to the Lord can start him or her off on a good footing by doing the following:
- Encourage the student to talk to God in prayer and to begin reading and obeying God’s Word.
- Explain from 1 John 1:9 that Christians can still sin and have doubts but how they can confess them.
- Explain how important it is to be with other Christians, and invite the student to your church if he or she doesn’t already go to a Bible-teaching church.
- Give the student easily understandable helps for growing, such as Welcome to the Family from RBP or devotionals for children like those from Kids4Truth Clubs. Students may also need a Bible of their own.
After VBS when it’s back to “real life,” how can your church preserve in students what began in that intense, focused, and sometimes crazy week? Staying connected and involved with students will help them to keep growing. You can start with handwritten Wonder World Funfest thank-you cards or postcards, and then do anything possible to let students and their families know you care. This will open doors for them going further with the Lord. Getting to know their families not only could ensure you’ll have crucial permission from parents or guardians as you work with their children, but may also lead to reaching the family for Christ as well.
Many children need some kind of mentor but may not have one at home. What if the mentor they need is at your church? One-on-one discipleship is rewarding and can be intensive. But if the vision spreads for the most exciting journey—growing in Christ—and if more men and women get involved in discipleship, the effectiveness multiplies.
Consider making it a key part of your VBS plans, from the very beginning, to stay connected with students individually as God develops roots and strengthens them in Christ (Col. 2:6–7). That’s the best way to keep the excitement of VBS going all year long!
This article is part of a three-part series, A VBS That Keeps Working. Look for the next installment this coming Monday.