If you’re brand new at this whole “Vacation Bible School” thing, and the first thought that crosses your mind is one of complete panic; Don't worry you are not alone. After all, the thought of keeping dozens of kids occupied in a church basement for long periods of time probably seems like something you’d read in a “stranger than fiction” magazine. However, it won’t be long before you start to automatically associate your best summer memories with a week spent at your parish VBS.
Now I won’t pretend that it isn’t a lot of work to host a VBS in your parish. But before you quit reading this post simply because I’m telling you the hard truth that you were trying to avoid, (hard work) allow me to share some of the incredible benefits that a VBS would bring to your church community.
It reaches out to kids who don’t normally go to Church.
It’s pretty incredible, but once you put the word out that you’re hosting a summer camp at your church, you wouldn’t believe the variety of people who register. Now of course you’ll get your little band of faithful followers who show up to every youth group, adoration night, and used-book sale, but you’ll also find that VBS attracts a whole new crowd as well. This is the opportunity for the not-too-far-fallen away Catholics to have a renewed encounter with the Church. After all, it doesn’t take too much commitment to drop your kids off for a morning of fun and games. Little do they know that their children are getting taught the Catholic faith in a way that could start completely transforming their family.
Catechizes the parents and leaders as well as the kids
Everyone knows that the best way to learn something is to teach it. The activities and lessons may be geared towards the kids, but I guarantee that the leaders won’t be immune to the simple and captivating truth of the Gospel that they find woven throughout the program. And if the teachings aren’t enough to get you, then there’s always the catchy music that has the potential to get stuck in your head long after the VBS is over… (Just a friendly warning)
Either way, VBS is by no means limited to the kids.
Helps kids develop a personal relationship with Jesus
Now I apologize if this language sounds a little too Protestant for you, but the fact is that each and every one of us needs to have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, it’s a phrase that seems to have become a Catholic dinosaur, but I believe it’s time to dig it up and put it out on display for all to see. Don’t we want our children to really know Jesus? They can hear all the Bible stories in the world, but unless they encounter someone who is authentically living out their faith, then they’ll only ever know about Him. It’s so important that we give kids the opportunity to see the faith as something alive and exciting.
VBS can do that. It makes the Eucharist, the Saints, Mary, Prayer, the Scriptures and the Church all something more real and accessible. Ignite the faith at a young age and you’ll get to watch your kids transform into little saints in training. (Emphasis on the “in training” part)
Builds Christian Community
Isn’t this the goal of every parish? We all want it. Who doesn’t dream about being a part of a vibrant Christian community? So if it’s something we all dream about, then why aren’t more people intentionally making time to build it? Here’s your chance. Don’t say your parish is dead when you know that there’s something you could do about it. VBS is a fantastic way to bring together people of all ages in a way that’s fun and interactive. There aren’t many opportunities that allow the grandmothers to work alongside the pre-teens in order to help the preschooler. I promise you there will be a job for everyone. From the sweet CWL ladies, to teenagers who only want to fill volunteer hours, there’s nothing like a week of VBS to bring everybody together.
One of the best things you’ll do all summer
Literally. I wouldn’t lie to you. Once you get past the crazy planning stages (which aren’t even that crazy if you’ve got a solid team), then the rest of it is actually super fun. We hear countless stories of people who finish their VBS already looking forward to the next one. Give the kids (and adults) in your parish something to look forward to this summer. Let them make some exciting memories in the Church. Don’t be afraid. Go! Host that VBS, and I guarantee it’ll be something your kids will still be talking about for years to come.
So there… you have no excuse not to host a VBS in your parish. If you’re looking for a solid Catholic program to use, here are 10 reasons why you should choose a Cat.Chat VBS program.
Ready to look at our VBS programs? Please click here to investigate our 6 newly revised VBS programs.
Feel free to comment if you think of any more reasons to add to this list. And don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or concerns (we also wouldn’t be opposed to some positive feedback). You can always email us at or leave us a note in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.