WATCH WHAT HAPPENS just after a VBS leader has led a student to the Savior. Both are absolutely “walking on air”! There’s nothing like it in the world. At first, much of what happens with that student is one-on-one. But a powerful network surrounds that child with influences that run deep and lifelong—the child’s family. What are two ways to use VBS to steer all your church’s families toward family discipleship, or growth in Christ?
- Make family discipleship as natural as possible to the flow of church life. VBS can be a great place to start. It’s bursting with connections that are nearly automatic and can help families follow Jesus as they experience His love. Scripture fills VBS in ways that engage children, and unsaved parents will be exposed to it too. For example, Family Fun Sheets are an activity-packed resource. And the closing program is a great opportunity to let families know about ways the church can help them. There is just about no better way than VBS to connect people to the family of God.
- Be intentional about family discipleship—and willing to stretch a bit. After VBS, you have a precious opportunity to push forward the precious momentum toward Christ from VBS. Many families today are lonely, and if you genuinely reach out to them, they’ll notice. Unsaved parents may be more open to hearing the gospel than at any other time. And church families that invited children who don’t attend church can build on those relationships.
Being intentional is more about relationships than complicated plans. People are drawn to things that connect them to others and are a natural part of their lives. For example, if Eric owns a boat and Chris loves to fish, it won’t take much arm-twisting when Eric says, “Hey, do you want to go fishing?” and invites the whole family. The point is that a real love for other families will take root when believers take an interest in them and look for areas of common interest. VBS is already an area of common interest, and after VBS those connections can keep growing.
Also, the best kind of discipleship isn’t done by perfect people, but it is genuine. The good news is that as families who were reached by VBS begin connecting with your church, they usually don’t need to see spiritual giants. They need to see real people who genuinely (though imperfectly) care about them, pray for them, and love God and His Word.
While engaging all age levels for family discipleship, a church can offer many valuable resources, such as Strong Curriculum for Sunday School. Kids4Truth Clubs, a weekday Bible club, isn’t just a great way for children to learn Bible doctrine; they’ll have fun as they do! You might also give each family a copy of The One Year Classic Family Devotions or other tools to encourage them. And sometimes families face troublesome issues that may call for specialized help. It’ll be of tremendous value to have a list of trusted professionals to whom you could refer families if needed.
Families need to know they aren’t alone, and that’s where your church comes in. Bridge-building ministries like VBS can provide powerful connections between earthly families, the life-giving Savior, and the family of God!
This article is the second of a three-part series, A VBS That Keeps Working. Look for the next installment this coming Monday.