Originally Posted by Mike Young June 2007
Guys, this Noble Notes devotional is going to have a little different flavor than what you typically read. I want to tell you about something that many would not consider very manly, Vacation Bible School. We just finished up our annual four-day VBS program at my home church, Parkway Baptist. Ours was a daytime VBS running from 9 AM – 12 Noon, Monday through Thursday. I think many men have seen VBS as a summer church event for women and children. (Honestly, this is the view that many men have of all church activities.) But here’s the real deal.
VBS is a place for men as well.
I’ve been very impressed over the last couple of years with the emphasis that my pastor, Brian Autry, has personally placed on VBS. Last year our pastoral staff each taught the Bible study one day on a rotation schedule. The reasoning was this, “Let’s leverage the evangelical training and expertise of our pastors on this critical opportunity.” Wow! That’s an unusual level of commitment for the senior pastor toward VBS. It gets even better.
Last year was great, but there was no opportunity for the pastoral staff to really develop a relationship with the children during the week. The children saw each of the pastors in a Bible teaching role but only for about 25 minutes each day. So, in order to build on last year’s success, this year each of the upper level classes had a pastor as the lead teacher. So children in grades three through five had a pastor as their primary teacher who stayed with them throughout the day, during Bible study, crafts, snacks, recreation, and missions. Cha Chang!
That’s an even bigger investment of pastoral time in the children’s program.
But wait, there’s more! Although I’m not a pastor, I am involved in full-time ministry and was asked to be the lead teacher for the second graders. (My class size ranged from 35-42 second graders. That’s a lot of 8 year-olds!)
But, you don’t have to be in vocational ministry to make an impact.
A number of other men were involved in various areas. We had men who took vacation time to help with snacks, worship, recreation, missions and logistics. Powerful stuff!
Now, let me tell you why this works and why it’s important:
- Children need to see men living out their faith in ministries like VBS.
- Most men are little boys in big bodies so playing games and doing some of the silly VBS stuff is natural for us.
- Men’s voices, when used appropriately, seem to gather the attention of the little ones quite effectively.
- Little boys especially need to see men actively serving in the church.
- Little boys seem to be more inclined to push the limits of appropriate behavior with female teachers. They seem less likely to do so with men.
- Boys and girls need to have images in their minds of men involved in ministry, not just sitting in pews.
- It’s powerful when anyone shares his or her faith but when a man stands in front of a group of children and talks about how walking with Christ helps him be a better husband and father. The impact is great.
- More than one of the ladies approached me and said, “I’m glad you’re doing this. I always have a hard time keeping little boys focused.”
- The little girls also responded quite positively to the men in the classroom. They seemed to like seeing ‘father figures’ in the teaching role.
- Being a big little boy myself, I know how tough it is to be still, so even while we were waiting for various transitions we played active games moving our hands and bodies to pass the time.
Is this system perfect? Certainly not but, everyone benefits! Children get to see and experience men interacting with them and teaching the gospel. The ladies as far as I know were happy to have some men taking the lead in the classrooms and other areas. The men get to experience the wonder and excitement of watching young children respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now here’s a challenge for you.
If you are a guy, and there’s any way possible, would you consider helping with VBS at your church?
And/Or share this with your pastor and ask him to consider the significance of setting an example for other men in the church by actively teaching spiritual truth to children through VBS? It’s a worthwhile investment.