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VBS Changes Lives
By: Bob Wallace

VBS. These three letters bring up an array of emotions. They bring up the thought of kids, crafts, yummy snacks, and outreach. They can also bring up emotions of chaos, craziness, and stress. One of the most important things those three letters should bring up is the thought of planting seeds and changing lives. Many people each year spend tons of time, energy, and dollars to bring a fun, biblically sound, and a life-changing VBS to their churches.

Whether you do a traditional weeklong VBS, a summer event, or just a once-a-month program, the love that goes into getting ready, planning, and then pulling off this outreach event is tremendous. The joy of seeing the kids learn about Jesus is what keeps you going each year, but have you ever stopped to think about how many kids’ lives and families have been touched by what you do through VBS each year?

Here are just a couple of stories about how VBS changes lives.

A Lifetime of Changing Lives
“The love of kids has been a lifetime passion for this young 85-year-old woman. She has always taught Sunday school and VBS and held most of us as babies in the nursery. She is an amazing woman. What we love about our friend Hatie is that she remembers the names of a lot of the kids who came through VBS. She tells us stories of how Jimmy became a missionary or how Susie became a state senator and how God has used all those kids to make a difference for Him.
 
Hatie loves kids and the kids love her. She takes the time to make sure each and every child knows the Bible story, knows their memory verse each day, and has a Bible. I cannot begin to tell you how many Bibles she has given out all these years. Her passion is to make sure each and every kid that she comes in contact with knows Jesus. The kids can truly say they see Jesus in Hatie.

As each VBS has come and gone, I look in awe at how Hatie has spent a lifetime making a difference in kids’ and families’ lives and how much I hope, just a little, that I can be more like her. The stories of lives she has touched never cease to amaze me. Hatie is a true servant and a true person that changes lives every day!”
--Corrine

A Jewel in Our Crown
“As a preacher’s kid, I’ve been to more VBSs than I can remember. I loved going to VBS—the crafts, the stories, and the songs. But it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I understood the power of VBS. That week, I was asked to play a leading character. I got to interact with the kids and be part of the skits at the opening and closing each day. On the last day at the closing ceremony, I had the opportunity to offer an invitation to the older students to talk to someone more seriously about what it means to become a Christian.  Several that we knew were from non-Christian homes accepted that offer. I don’t know where any of them are today, or even if they are Christians. But I do know that a seed was planted in their hearts that day and that they are now jewels in the crowns of those who led them to Christ, including those volunteers at VBS. From then until now, I have never doubted what God can do for children and adults through silly songs, wacky games, and simple Bible stories.”
--Alicia

VBS Is Worth It!
“Last Easter, when our church kicked off recruiting for volunteers for our summer VBS, I had a young man in his 20s come up and ask if I remembered him. I laughed and said that, at my age, if I can remember how to get home, I am doing well. We laughed and he started to tell me about coming to our church about 10 years ago. He remembered that I and another lady were his classroom leaders at VBS. He told me that his mom only let him come with his next door neighbor friend who attended our church and only for VBS. He told me of how they had moved away and how his mom raised him and his sister and how he always remembered our church. He is now married and has a child of his own. He and his wife were visiting trying to find a church in the area since they were moving back to the area for a job.

What was so great about this? He told me his mom had become depressed and had many boyfriends in and out of the house. He had no idea (at that young age) where his dad was.  When they moved, he and his sister kept several of the crafts and activities they had made at VBS so they could play VBS at their new home.

They talked about the stories they learned and kept them close to their heart. They grew up and went to college. While at college, he met his wife, and a couple of summers ago, went home to his wife’s church to help with VBS. It brought back so many happy memories during a troubled time. Because of that, he went on to study with his future wife and gave his life to the Lord that summer—some 10 years after VBS! It just goes to show you that all the time, energy, and money that goes into VBS pays off in the long run! I will always believe in the ministry of VBS!”
--Sandra

Happy Birthday, Jesus!
“When my friend was a youth pastor, his church had VBS. There was a lady in the church who picked up kids from her community and brought them to church. One was a small boy, maybe 5 or 6, whose family did not attend church anywhere. He loved VBS, but the teachers did not love him. He was very active and had difficulty sitting still. However, he had discovered God loved him, even when he was bad. He was so excited about the fact that God loved him.

When VBS was done, he came to Sunday school every Sunday. He loved God, who he knew loved him. Christmas that year was on Sunday, and my friend planned a huge birthday party for Jesus. The little boy was so thrilled, because he wanted to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  On Christmas Eve, the little boy and his family were in the family van Christmas shopping. Their van was hit head-on by a drunk driver and the little boy was killed. At his funeral, his teachers were ashamed because of their attitude toward him, but they realized also that because of VBS he was singing Happy Birthday to Jesus face to face.”
--Diane

Stories of changed lives through VBS can be found everywhere. Everyone has a story or a memory of VBS.

The adults who volunteer each year at VBS will not remember all of the kids’ names or all the Bible stories taught, and they won’t remember every song sung. But what they need to remember are the seeds that were planted in the lives of the children who came to their church and how someone cared enough to teach them about Jesus, even for a day. You may never know how much impact you or your church has on a kid’s life.

So think about what you do each year to get ready for VBS. Think about the fun, Bible teaching, crafts, music, and all the kids. Think about VBS changing lives. Isn’t that really what it is all about?

Bob Wallace is the VBS and Children’s marketing manager for Standard Publishing and works with children’s ministry through their local church camp and other organizations, www.standardpub.com.









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