“Vacation Bible School”
When did Vacation Bible School begin? As far as denominationalism is concerned, it started around 1898 when a lady in the Baptist church rented a saloon and started teaching children in the summer time. Again, as far as denominationalism is concerned, Standard Publishing Company takes credit for popularizing it and reported that by 1998, 5 million children were attending VBS.
But Moses actually started it when he wrote: “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not” (Deut. 6:7-10).
Vacation Bible School started for me in the mid-1940 at the Red Bank Church of Christ (Chattanooga, TN). The preacher’s name was Barney Keith. However, my parents also sent me to VBS at the Northside congregation where Bro. Paul Buchanan was the preacher. Eventually, I would attend three schools every summer. Then VBS lasted two weeks (9 A.M. – Noon, Monday – Friday) and closed the last day with a big picnic. For many years I kept the certificates I received.
Vacation Bible School is a great time for learning for children and adults.
A concentrated study in the Word of God. This is the purpose. Paul admonished, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth: (2 Tim. 2:15). Teachers have time to do instruction in VBS that is hard to do at a Sunday morning class.
A time to introduce new people to the church of Christ. Parents will allow their children to attend a VBS when they would not allow them to attend the normal Sunday Bible School. Evangelism, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15).
A time for children to fellowship with other children and create new friendships. At Sunday worship they come into Bible class and then attend worship and go home. VBS gives more time for the children to get acquainted with the other children.
A time of great learning experience. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Mt. 11:28-29).
VBS is a great week for us all. Plan to attend VBS.