One summer constant in the South… Vacation Bible Schools a popular event for kids and churches

Published 10:02 pm Friday, June 4, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com  
Living right smack in the middle of the Bible Belt, there has always been one activity that many kids have always looked forward to during their summer vacation from school and that is Vacation Bible School.

Driving throughout the county recently, I was once again reminded of this as many churches have put up their banners and doted their landscape with eye-appealing props to draw the attention of children who pass by.

Admittedly, it takes me back to a time in my own childhood when as school break began, the children in the neighborhood started to recruit their friends to come to attend the VBS at their family’s church.

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It wasn’t uncommon to attend three, four, and possibly five Vacation Bible Schools in summer as children piled into one another’s vehicle loudly chattering about what was going to happen during that evening’s service.

While it was a no-brainer that the VBS attractions for many were the great snacks like ice cream and watermelon and craft time where many different projects were taken on with many taking the entire week to finish just to keep kids motivated to keep coming back every night.

Also, another highlight was kids bringing roll after roll of pennies as the boys and girls squared off nightly in the VBS offering challenge to see who could bring the most during the week with a prize on the line for the winning team.

By the end of the week, the amounts were sometimes staggering as often $500 or better could be brought in that helped cover the cost of the VBS in roll after roll of pennies.

But the main purpose of the VBS was not to just have fun events and food.

It was through all the Bible stories and crafts along with food to fill the stomach that the gospel was spread into the hearts and minds of young people hoping for bits and pieces of it to stick to help us kids find something of more enduring value – a relationship with Jesus Christ.

And many neighborhood kids did just that as they made that decision and when families came to graduation Sunday, many times those families found a church home that they began attending, and the next summer was actively involved in the VBS as they remembered what took place in the hearts of their child from the previous year’s VBS.

With 2020 presenting a unique challenge for the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, these VBS were placed on hold as most churches shut their doors to in-person attendance thus leaving kids missing out on these times of memory-making.

Thankfully, the tide has turned in 2021, and now children once again have the opportunity to partake in these Vacation Bible Schools once again as some churches are doing day-long VBS while others are doing the conventional five-night event with all those who attend coming together on Sunday to receive their completion diplomas.

No matter how long the VBS may be, parents need to remember their youth and what those VBS days meant to them and give their children the opportunity to discover this time together with other children.

It might just result in a life-changing experience that they will carry with them throughout their earthly lives as it did for many of us in our childhood.