Vacation Bible School

There are definitely reasons to host a Vacation Bible School program (VBS) in your church! Yet, there are also definitely reasons not to host (VBS) in your church. Too often churches do things with the best of intentions, but for the wrong reasons. Let’s explore some of the reasons why a church should NOT host VBS.

  • Don’t host VBS because the church always hosts VBS every summer (another version of “we’ve always done it that way”).
  • Don’t host VBS because the church down the street or the big church in town is hosting VBS so we need to host one, too.
  • Don’t host VBS because Ms. Martha started VBS 40 years ago and it must continue to honor her and her legacy.
  • Don’t host VBS because the church calendar (copied year after year) indicates the church is scheduled to host VBS a certain week.
  • Don’t host VBS because it is simply one person’s pet ministry.


Now let’s explore reasons why a church could host VBS.

  • A church hosts VBS when it is a part of the overall strategic plan of the church (not a silo ministry). 
  • A church hosts VBS when it is a ministry strategically aligned and planned to specifically reach the targeted demographic in the community who the church has discerned they are called to reach.
  • A church hosts VBS when it is aligned with the mission, vision, and core values of the church and is one of the objectives established for obtaining one of the church’s annual goals. (Annual goals are intentional steps of living into the discerned vision of the church.)
  • A church hosts VBS when it has a ministry team leading this ministry who clearly understands how this program is part of the overall church strategy.  Because of this understanding, the team establishes the intended outcome for VBS, what fruitfulness and effectiveness would look like when implemented well, and how to measure it.  The team then plans, implements, and assesses VBS based on these critical factors.


VBS was used as an example in this exercise. One could substitute any ministry in this illustration of why a church should or could invest. Ministry is how we engage others in discipleship, evangelism, hospitality, and worship. The purpose of making disciples does not change, but the how needs to shift depending on the church’s current vision and context. Too often, churches get stuck in the traditions of the how rather than discerning God’s preferred future for their church (vision) which is steeped in context, relevancy, competency, and focusing on what the church must do to reach the people in the community.

What are the driving factors in your church for how ministry is planned?  What resonates with you from the first or second list above? What might your church be able to do to better align their ministries? 

If your church leaders are looking for resources to assist in aligning its ministries with your church’s mission, vision, and core values, they might find these resources helpful:  Strategy Matters and Strategic Ministry Planning.