VBS Offers Child-Friendly Evangelism
In the long, hot, lazy days of summer, Vacation Bible School provides children with a fun, faith-based environment to learn about Jesus and build friendships.
"Vacation Bible School provides a dual purpose — to reach out to children and their parents," says Wilma Bing, Washington Conference family ministries director. "Plus it brings the church together for a common goal."
Through the years, VBS has emerged as an effective way to bring Adventist and community children together for child-friendly evangelism.
"When I first got involved with VBS about 12 years ago, the majority of the kids were Adventist with only a handful of kids from the neighborhood," says Linda Burman, Auburn City (Wash.) VBS director. "It was very difficult to integrate the neighborhood kids as they were basically outnumbered. In the last couple years, the majority of kids are from the surrounding neighborhood."
Children in Kirkland (Wash.), Bellevue (Wash.), and Auburn City explored facing fears at Crocodile Dock, while children at Shelton Valley's (Wash.) summer daycare camp discovered Bible royalty in Castles and Crowns. Graham (Wash.) children explored creation, while children at Auburn Academy Church visited "Rome" and the underground church in the church's "Journey to Bethlehem" facility.
The Crocodile Dock theme, about not being afraid, was particularly relevant for a young boy with leukemia who attended the Bellevue VBS. The staff and children prayed for him to not be afraid of his treatment. When he came back, he said because of God, he hadn't been afraid.
"VBS benefits our church," says Dixie Robinson, Bellevue VBS leader, "because such a large percentage of people work together as a team to put on this evangelistic effort, which has a great impact on our community."