Should vacation Bible school programs be smaller?

Susan Vanden Berg

August 9, 2012

I don't mind if a VBS (or VBC, Vacation Bible camp) draws a lot of kids. It's when numbers become the goal that I bristle. Large numbers are not a measure of success. Christ is our measure of success.

If the programming at a huge VBS/VBC is indistinguishable from the programming at a secular day camp, then there's not much reason to run the VBS/VBC. If Christ is presented, preached, lived out at the camp, then it doesn't matter how many are there because with Jesus there it couldn't be better attended.


August 9, 2012

There is always a place for smaller fellowships - certainly, that is where most of the sharpening and deeper relationship development happens.

However, when we look at the fact that there is only 1 church for every 10,000 citizens in the US, then combine that with the fact that the average church size is around 300, we have to be careful with placing limits on what we will and will not allow in whatever ministries we're trying to offer.

I've been in and volunteered for VBS programs that have been large and small. One thing I've noticed is that the smaller ones tend to have less energy and excitement. And while this may allow for deeper relationship building, this often doesn't happen. The kids get bored, the adults get bored. Or even worse, the adults are happy because they're doing something important meanwhile they're not really connecting with the kids... which means they're not really doing anything important to begin with.

Larger VBS programs typically have more energy in them. They're larger because they're more hospitable - there is more to do, more excitement.... all kinds of things. But this makes it a bit more difficult for kids and mentors to really build deeper relationships.

But in the end, we have to realize, it isn't the program that makes the difference. It's not really the teaching or the music. It's the fellowship. Big or small, the sponsors have the opportunity to lay the groundwork to develop relationships in the future and continue to grow and deepen current relationships.

Bob Keeley
August 9, 2012

Coryzipperle - I think your data is off by a factor of 10. There are about 350,000 churches in the US http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html
and about 311 million people. Thats one church for every 1000 people.

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