Rethinking VBS

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The annual VBS program has been around since the late 1800’s. Most of us probably remember attending one as a child and most likely loved it. I sure did!

Initially, VBS was about having extra Bible instruction time with Sunday School students during the summer months. It was also used to keep idle students busy. Today, though, the focus of VBS is turned outward with the salvation of children and families as center stage.

So, how can we as SDA churches make sure we are salvation-focused? Start with prayer, of course. This program must be for God and God alone. It must be for His desires, His interest, His love of all people! Then start building your strategy. VBS must mean change within the church AND communication outside of the church so that your community knows something special is happening.

Changing within the church means we start talking about VBS as an evangelism tool. We start asking others to pray for the visitors that will be coming. We pray that the Lord lead us to the ripe fruit where He is working and that the devil’s interventions be thwarted. Be sure and give updates to the church family as to the number of non-church members that are registering.

Plan to change the building! This is actually more about the members than the visitors. When we transform the building, we get members excited and involved. They take pride in what their church is doing and they become eager to invite their friends.

Now you are ready to get the word out there. Set money aside in your budget to advertise. Take advantage of social media and pay for advertising where your community might see it (Facebook, etc.). Create postcards for members to hand out as well as door hangers.

Two weeks prior to your VBS, spend Sabbath afternoon going door to door. Invite your church family to go out together and knock on your church neighbor’s door with a flyer in hand simply telling them about your VBS and inviting them to come. Take your Prayer Ministries Team with you to pray over each household as others are making the invitation. Send postcards and emails to members and interests that you have collected throughout the year. And by all means, don’t forget the VBS information banner in front of your church!

May God bless you and let the evangelism begin!


Pastor Debbie Rivera is the Associate Pastor at Ellicott City Church in Maryland