I recognized the waist of my teacher. From my height, waists were what I noticed. I tugged on her proudly, ready to march into church, alone without my mom. Holding my teacher’s hand. Marching in behind the flags. We filed into the front row as a kindergartener. Followed by the first row, the second row and on back.
I went to Vacation Bible School every year as a child. Sometimes multiples. I worked Vacation Bible School as a teen. Most years, I still teach at Vacation Bible School.
I am a self-appointed VBS expert.
Upon the marches’ conclusion, we would sing a song or two. Then the pledges. Do you remember?
The Pledge to the American Flag
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The Pledge to the Christian Flag
I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who believe.
The Pledge to the Bible
I pledge allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God.
Times have changed.
Now, we have Bible School OPTIONS. We have Bible School in the morning, the evening, overnight, day camps. Bible Schools with themes. We even offer different styles of Bible Schools. Fine Arts. Sports. Princess. Camping.
Bible School has become quite a production. Record numbers of kids are attending and we are opening our church doors to the community. My daughter went to a Bible School just recently. Friendly. Organized. They averaged around 620 kids.
Six hundred and twenty kids. Praying. Hearing Scripture. Talking about Jesus.
Hallelujah. God be praised!
I have one concern. A request really. We have an opportunity here. Amidst the strobe lights, the theater seating, the pop concert-style music.
Church, don’t miss our chance.
My daughter didn’t need her Bible at Vacation Bible School. I don’t even know what to do with that. I don’t expect us to stop the clock and go back to the good old days. Although if you want to, we could pack up and find an Amish community that would take us and I would be perfectly happy for the rest of my days.
I just want us, the church, to remember that we have Good News. And that news is found in the Good Book. No matter what Bible School you offer, please be sure it includes the B-I-B-L-E.
Encourage kids to bring their Bible
Decide if you want to do this with an award system or not. Churches often reward attendance. Easy enough to add bringing your Bible to the point system. Just tell them everyday, bring your Bible!
Use the Bibles
The kids will have various levels of Bible experience. Kind of like any other activity kids participate in, right? At the very least, look up the Scripture you are reading to them. Have the children hold the Bible, flip the pages. Pray for some Divine Osmosis.
I once had a pastor walk by me in the aisle at church as I was looking up something before the service. “I love the sound of those turning pages.” Oh, God must love that too!
Take it a step further. Do the kids know there is an Index in the front of their Bible? Is your story in the Old Testament or New Testament? Who wrote the book? Is your passage the words of Christ written in red?
Have Bibles available
Our church has a tradition. Right before every sermon, we have greeters walk the aisles and give a Bible to anyone who wants to use it for following along with the pastor. As they hand them out, our pastor always says, “If you don’t have a Bible at home, this one is yours to keep.” Even at those Sports Camps, have a time where you sit on the grass, tell a Bible story. Pass out Bibles. Let them take it home.
Read verses right from your Bible
On stage. Around the craft table. During refreshments. Even when teaching preschoolers, place the Bible in your lap during story time. I read at least one verse straight from Scripture. So they know. This story they are hearing comes from God’s Holy Word. It’s not just another book. Not a fairy tale. Real people like you and me. And God used them.
From first grade on, have the children read to you. Who cares if that takes 30 minutes and you have to help them pronounce a ton of the words? A good listening exercise for all the kids. And again, they are reading God’s inspired Word.
The best we have to offer is Jesus. The Word of God. Feed your captive audience the Spiritual food they crave.