To VBS or Not VBS!

The age-old question continues. I’ve been asked by several people what I do about VBS. My answer to that is “I don’t.” I have chosen to not do VBS for a few reasons:

1. Every church does VBS. When it comes to finding a VBS there is definitely not a problem finding one. Just start looking out your car window as you pass your neighborhood church. Everyone will be displaying a VBS banner.

2. It’s one way I can promote unity. Instead of us doing a VBS I literally direct people to one of the 20 churches in our five mile radius that does a VBS.

3. I can use this time and money to focus on something unique for children.

4. I would rather our kids experience a kid’s camp that we do. I feel it’s more beneficial.

I do believe VBS is a good thing. Many churches do it and hit it out of the park every year. It’s just never been a part of my personal DNA. I’ve done events similar that we called KidFest, but even then it was more of a kid’s camp feel without spending the night.

Whatever you decide to do—do it 110%. My advice is to do it if you’re asked by your lead pastor to do it. You shouldn’t do it just for the sake of doing it, especially when you could direct those resources, monies, etc. to something that fits your church culture better.

Do you do VBS? Why or why not?



  1. After 3 years of doing VBS under protest, I am happy to say that I do not VBS. In addition to echoing your thoughts about it, I would also add the fulfillment of intent clause: What is the intent of VBS? I would venture to say that 98% of churches will say, “To reach out to the community.” I would follow this up by, “Does your church grow as a result of VBS?” To which I would guess 98% of honest answers would be “no”.

    1. Brad, totally agree with your “reach out to the community” comment. If that’s what you’re doing, are you really doing it? If that’s your only reason for doing it and you’re not doing it, then you need to re-evaluate your strategy. Done right it can be a great thing…done poorly or ONLY “just because” you’re destined for failure and frustration.

  2. As a first year Children’s Minister I am excited about doing VBS in our church! I keep going back and forth about continuing to do VBS. One of my favorite things is its something I can pull out of a box and fit it to us! I have thoughts of doing some other things perhaps next year, like a sports camp or something.
    Just wondering what some other things people do. I know that there are several VBS’s happening around us and I intend to check some out to see where the good quality ones are so that I can guide people to those if they so desire in the future. Still trying to figure out if VBS fits our church culture or something else

    1. Seth, wish I could help you out with what’s out there for VBS. Being that we have chosen to not do it, I’m not in that loop. However, I’ll let you know if I stumble upon anything…
      Let me know how your VBS goes. I’m sure you’ll do an amazing job and it will be platinum!!

  3. Hey there

    As i right this, we are in a meeting talking about some of the actions needed for our up and coming VBS (Holiday Club). We have done it for a billion years because it works. Yes, i agree that 98% of churches don’t grow, but this is because 98% of churches don’t do the follow up correctly.

    Last year South Africa hosted the Soccer World Cup for 5 weeks. This was during the same time we would do our one week VBS (we only have 3 weeks school holiday in June/July). So we changed. We adapted to the need. There was no chance that we could compete with the world’s biggest sporting event happening in home town.

    This year, our focus is on Connecting Kids to God, Connecting Parents to Kids and Connecting our Church to our Community. We are defiantly game on the follow up!

    So in my mind, VBS – yes….but only if you do it correctly. Same with a Sunday…only if you do it correctly!

  4. Wow, those are some great points.
    I love the point about follow-up. I’m not sure if a particular motivation of ‘church growth’ would be my goal with VBS (although I’m guessing many people in my congregation would argue differently). I simply want to shed light into the lives of the children in the community, connect them with a loving Father, and open that window for them. It doesn’t always turn into a life long commitment where parents are converted to our church. But, it touches the hearts of the children, it waters these seeds that might not get that nourishment from one of our other ventures. We have kids show up for VBS that we don’t always see year-round.
    Currently, we’re in a community where our church is the only one that has a VBS program. Last summer we had to forgo the attempt due to lack of volunteers, and the community was seriously disappointed. They’ve come to expect it (some in a way that takes it for granted, yes. But others who truly appreciate it).
    Some of my greatest memories as a youth leader was assisting with VBS, it’s where I cut many of my ministry teeth.
    For our church, our situation and our motivations, the benefits of VBS far outweighs the cost, effort, time and energy of producing it.
    At least, this is what I believe to be true. Jesus may instruct me differently someday.
    Thanks for bringing up this conversation!

    1. That’s awesome Crystal!! I totally agree that VBS for you is a must in your community. It’s a great thing and I’m glad that you’re impacting your community and that they notice you’re there. Most churches aren’t noticed and it’s cool to find one that is–yours!! 🙂

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