We are just finishing up a fabulous week of VBS at our church. It has truly been a wonderful time of building community, building family and teaching little ones about Jesus. I think they all had fun, and I hope they all got a bit closer to that moment when they answer Jesus' knock on the door of their hearts.
VBS is very special to me, as a lifelong Christian. I loved VBS as a child, and started helping when I was about 12. I was at an awkward age in my church -- quite a large group of kids three to five years younger than me, and a fair group of kids five or so years older than me, but pretty much just me in the middle. Since I knew a lot about little children thanks to my big extended family and my mother's babysitting, I started out working in the nursery at about 12. I taught my first class at 15, and have been teaching ever since.
In my area, quite a few churches are tending away from Vacation Bible School. It is too much work, too much effort, too hard on small churches with few volunteers. Although no one seems to ever say it, the emotion seems to be, "After all, it's only kids who come."
This is a MEGA pet peeve of mine. Maybe it's because I have always worked with kids and love kids, but I think the children's ministry is one of the, if not the, most important ministries in a church. First of all, if you attract the kids, the parents and oftentimes the grandparents will come. Second, statistics show that most people who are saved are saved as a child or a teen. Third, Jesus himself seemed to appreciate children for their honest, simple faith and open hearts in Luke 18:16.
If Jesus himself rebuked his disciples for not encouraging the children to come to Him, who are we to do any different? Why wouldn't we want to attract His littlest children to Him? Why wouldn't we do everything in our power to have a vital and growing children's ministry?