By Shawn Allred
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Kenton
Summer is on its way, and Vacation Bible Schools and Back Yard Bible Clubs will begin across our state soon after the last school bell rings. VBS is an event that most churches view with great anticipation and excitement. Meticulous planning and preparation leading up to VBS week leave us expecting to see God work in our midst to reach boys and girls and their families for the cause of Christ.
But, how do we ensure that all the time and labor invested in Vacation Bible School does not end when the week of VBS is over? There are two areas of utmost importance that are vital to a productive and lasting VBS experience. These two essentials are prayer and follow-through.
Let us deal first with the importance of prayer. Prayer is what fuels the ministry of VBS. Without a prayer plan, all of the other planning and preparation for VBS will likely fall flat and the desired outcome of VBS to reach children and their families with the gospel will not reach its full potential. Prayer doesn’t need to be an afterthought attached to all of the other planning and preparation, but it needs to be the forethought that guides the process and implementation of VBS from beginning to end. Here are some ideas to be proactive in a prayer plan for VBS. Decide to promote prayer for VBS through a prayer calendar. Lifeway VBS material includes a prayer calendar, or you can make your own. The idea is to get the entire church involved in a prayer emphasis for your VBS. Another idea is to have a prayerwalk sometime before VBS allowing people to pray in the physical spaces used for VBS and for the teachers and the boys and girls who will fill those rooms. Another excellent idea is to enlist a prayer team for each day/night of Vacation Bible School to be in active prayer while VBS is happening. These ideas are not all-inclusive, but they are a starting point to help you prepare spiritually for an excellent and productive Vacation Bible School that has a lasting impact.
Follow-through is the second vital area of emphasis for a successful VBS that must not be overlooked or neglected. Too many times when the last day of VBS arrives we breathe a sigh of relief that it is over. But if we intend for our efforts to have a lasting effect, we must follow-through with those to whom we have had an opportunity to minister to throughout the VBS event. Follow-through must be planned and intentional if it is going to happen. Communicate to your VBS workers early and often the emphasis of follow-through so they will understand and catch a vision of its importance.
Follow-through may involve having an outreach event a few days after the VBS concludes where home visits are made that facilitate the continuance of the connection made during VBS. This can be done for all those who attended the VBS event. More specifically those who made salvation decisions need to be followed up with more thoroughly to ensure they have an opportunity to follow through with their decision to follow Christ by believer’s baptism and joining a church to help them grow in Christ. Be sure when you register the children for VBS that your registration form includes a place for them to indicate what church they attend. This will help you contact that church and let them know of decisions made during VBS by those boys and girls who attend their fellowship.
One idea is for your pastor to write a letter to the other fellowship’s pastor and let them know what decision was made. A testimony to this working was recently shared when a young lady, saved during VBS 2017, was recently presented to her church for baptism. The pastor stated that because of a letter sent to him he was able to follow up and the young lady followed through with her commitment to Christ. The father of the young lady also testified to the impact of a home visit by the church that hosted the VBS, opening the door for him to share further with his daughter about the importance of baptism and church membership. You see, VBS 2017 continued to have an effect in 2018 because of the emphasis on prayer and on following through with those who had made decisions.
This is the business of kingdom work, and because of prayer and follow-through another soul has been saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship as a direct result of Vacation Bible School. May your VBS be fruitful this year and beyond as you make prayer and follow-through priorities.