THIS is why we do Vacation Bible School

It is VBS time again. VBS — Vacation Bible School — is a week of fun, Bible stories, hands-on learning, and kids. Lots of kids. In fact, the more kids, the better.

My favorite VBS story from my time here at Fern Creek happened five years ago. On one of the nights at VBS that year, I got to tell the kids the story of the ten lepers who had been healed by Jesus. The lepers head to see the priest — who would have to confirm that they had been cleansed — and on their way, they are healed. But only one — a Samaritan, an outsider — returns to Jesus to give thanks.

So, in my telling of the story, I decided to focus on gratitude. I had 20 minutes with each group of kids – and I had five groups right in a row. One of the teams of children had a boy I’ll call Josh, a guy who hit the skids almost as soon as the lesson got started. We played “the thank you game,” where kids picked other kids, and basically were to practice saying thank you for different things.

But Josh wasn’t in the first group picked to play the game. And then he wasn’t in the next group. Or the next. As soon as he wasn’t picked, Josh basically answered everything I said by saying “boo” over and over. He also began to hide under the seats.

Finally, Josh was selected to play the game, and things got better. In fact, by the time I reached the end of the lesson, I asked if anyone wanted to pray. And who was the one kid to raise his hand? Josh.

But then he said, “I’ve never prayed before.”

Well, I said, why don’t I say the words, and you just repeat after me. I then invited everyone to join Josh in repeating my words, as we prayed together.

Josh is why we do Vacation Bible School at Fern Creek: to help a kid who doesn’t know Jesus, and who openly admits that he has never prayed before, to take his first steps in that direction. This is what VBS is about. In fact, isn’t this what church should be about?

Is there a Josh in your life you need to invite to VBS? How about helping at VBS this year? Vacation Bible School at Fern Creek will be held June 16-20, 6:30pm each night. Sign up here, or contact Jonathon Barnes for more information.

Author:

I’m Jeff Dye. After 16 years on staff at a healthy, outreach-minded church, I currently have a ministry called The Paraklesis Project. In the New Testament, “paraklesis” means encouragement — which is what I seek to bring to churches of all sizes through speaking and consulting.

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