Jun 2, 2015

10 Reasons Why You Should Have VBS...and 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn't

Vacation Bible School has been a staple in children's ministry for decades.

It has been used by God to reach and disciple millions of kids over the years.  While it has been in decline in recent years (you can read the stats here), 68% of churches hosted VBS last year.

While our church does not have VBS, I know many churches that still host it with great success.

Should you have VBS?  That's a question that only you and your team can answer.  But what we can say is this - like any other program, event or ministry, we should regularly be evaluating whether it's the best use of our time and resources.

Here's 10 reasons to continue doing VBS and 10 reasons to cease it.  I would encourage you to work through these with your team and see where it takes you.

It may cause you to amp up your VBS and pour even more into it or it may cause you to make some changes.  Remember...the end goal is to make sure what you are doing is effective.

10 Reasons Why You SHOULD Have VBS
  1. It's reaching unchurched kids.
  2. It's reaching unchurched parents.  6 months after it's over, you can point to families in your church who were reached through it.
  3. You see kids grow spiritually because of it.
  4. It is well attended.
  5. Volunteers enthusiastically support it and give their time to it.
  6. It makes your weekly kids programming stronger.
  7. The entire church supports it and gets behind it.
  8. The resources are available to do it with excellence.
  9. Kids get excited about it.
  10. You are seeing teenagers who went through it when they were kids coming back to serve in it.
10 Reasons Why You SHOULDN'T Have VBS
  1. The guests are predominately kids from other churches. 
  2. You aren't seeing kids come to Christ.
  3. It's not helping you reach unchurched families.  You can't point to families in your church who've been reached through it.
  4. Declining participation.
  5. It's very difficult to get people to volunteer for it.  The people who are volunteering have been doing so for years and are burned out.
  6. The church as a whole doesn't see it as a priority and provides very little support or resources.
  7. It is such a drain on your ministry that it causes you to limp into the Fall ministry season.
  8. Kids are being made to come instead of being excited about coming. 
  9. There is another ministry you could put the time, energy and resources into that would produce more fruit. 
  10. You are having it because it's what you've always done and not because it's effective.
The floor is yours.  Do you have VBS?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.


our church is not hosting a VBS this year. Instead, we are enjoying Family Fellowship Nights during the month of July. Every Thursday night we are enjoying fellowship and building relationships among our church family. We, as a Kid Ministry, have decided that in order to go out, we have to have a place for the 'reached' to come join and be a part of an established community who serves/loves/gives/lives for Jesus. This will be our first try at this. We feel like this is part of God's plan for our ministry and are looking forward to it!!

That's awesome Natalia. Would love to hear how it turns out. Thanks for sharing.

I will definitely let you all know. :) Thank you for what you do to share your hearts for KidMin!!

For many of the "10 Reasons Not to have VBS" our church is doing a series of Backyard Bible Clubs in neighborhoods around the city. The goal is get to know our community and serve, as well as advance the gospel in the lives of kids and families. We weren't doing that as effectively within the walls of our own church.

Trinity, I think that is wonderful. The Gospel is about going not just asking people to come to us. Pray you have a great time of outreach. Would love to hear how it goes. Blessings.

I"ve been mulling over this post for a couple of days now. I've been doing VBS for a long time and want to do something different, however 8 out of 10 of the "shoulds" are true about my church and only 3 our of 10 of the "should nots." With this in mind I want increase my VBS effectiveness, specifically with 1 and 2 in the "shoulds." My question is, how do you do that? I have a ton of kids come that don't go to my church but very few actually come on Sunday. How can I get them to come and stay? Any ideas would be appreciated.

Hey David, sounds like the shoulds still outweighs the should nots. I think the key to getting kids to come back on Sunday and stay is to reach their parents. Do you have a family night as part of your VBS? Anything you can do to connect with parents during VBS helps.

That's a good idea for the parent night. I see about incorporating that this year. Thanks!

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