Contacts: Changing The VBS Culture

As part of HTHSOE training, we encourage local congregations to shut down all works that cannot be tied to evangelism until they can be reworked into a soul winning/saving mission. The church is not a country club or civic group. We have One Mission, and all must be tied to it (Matthew 28:18-20).

Vacation Bible School should be viewed as an opportunity to win souls. VBS can be evangelistic, but it would take a major overhaul for most congregations. Sadly, some VBS classes have more vacation time than Bible classes and more play time than school. They have drifted far away from a soul-centered work. Here are a few suggestions to help make VBS evangelistic.

  • Make sure the material is not generically themed with watered-down messages. In short, if you could hear the message at a denominational group, it would not differentiate the Church of Christ from these man-made bodies. We will never be able to outperform or outproduce more fanfare than our religious neighbors. Even if we could, what would be the benefit? (I recommend looking at the material produced by Family Bible Publications or Apologetics Press.
  • Our lessons must be Christ-centered (Acts 8:4–5, 12). This takes a lot of work since many publishers produce watered-down teaching to boost sales. Subjects like obedience, Bible faith, the church/ kingdom, worship, salvation, repentance, baptism, judgment, heaven/hell should be included. Using Old Testament accounts can illustrate these themes, but the “story” without the message is vain.
  • Advertise and promote this event as no other. VBS can generate contacts as no other event during the year. Post large banners to draw attention, use HTH to announce and invite every local family by mail, and knock on doors to build awareness.
  • Invite, Invite, Invite! Ask the members to invite neighbors, children’s friends, and family members to attend VBS. It should be a community outreach mission, not just a fun time for children.
  • Make sure to have an adult class to reach non-Christians. Themed classes on the home, parenting, moral issues, and apologetics are attractive to parents of all religious backgrounds. The adult class does not have to mirror the children’s classes. Think outside the box. Be creative.
  • Step one is to develop contacts. VBS is a contact magnet! Now is the time to use your “visitor’s bags” and fully implement your strategy to obtain contact information. Ensure all non-Christian families are greeted. Member families should be selected to look for visitors, sit with them, and extend meal invitations. Allowing visitors to walk into our assembly and leave without getting contact information is inexcusable.
  • Contact visitors within 72 hours after VBS concludes. Take a picture of each student and use this reason for your visit. Deliver the picture to their home, including a gift to test the soil.

These are just a few ideas to help you focus VBS on the Mission! It is a lot of work to change congregational culture, but VBS is a great place to make many contacts. Remember, contacts lead to prospects, and prospects lead to Bible studies. Keep your eye on the target, and never give up.