Friday, August 01, 2014

Vacation Bible School Santa Barbara Style: Noah's

Vacation Bible Schools have been a part of my life since childhood, since I'm the child of a pastor whose churches had Vacation Bible Schools (VBS). They were week-long events, usually in the mornings (though in some churches I pastored we tried evenings and even weekends). They were part child-evangelism, neighborhood outreach, summer day-care, and legacy programs (we do it because we have always done it). Usually all other church programs stop as the themed program occupies every classroom and open space with music, puppets, crafts, mission, sports, food and small group discussions.
When examined by its outcomes it often falls short of expectations. Not that many (if any) new families come to the church through it. Rather, families from other churches attend and thank us then go back to their home churches. And I have been a part of many many church council debates on the worth of continuing VBS programs that are so labor-intensive.
But now in my 34th year of ministry, I love VBS (at Santa Barbara it's called Noah's Half-Day Camp) more than ever! I think it's primary value is to bless children, wherever they come from. It's a chance to provide children a royal welcome every morning and create a safe space for them to play, sing, create and learn a bit more about the person and work of Jesus.
So tomorrow (Saturday) the campus will be converted into unique rooms for children K-6th grade and on Monday, off we go!


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