“Be a VBS leader,” they said! “It will be fun,” they said! So, you signed up for VBS. After all, they needed help, so you figured “why not?” You didn’t have anything else to do with a week of your time, right?

Vacation Bible School is a summer tradition at churches everywhere, but sometimes I wonder how it got its name. It doesn’t really resemble vacation to me. Let’s face it: it’s a lot of work!

And, it doesn’t really resemble school either—or at least it shouldn’t.

Hopefully, it does have the Bible squarely in the middle. So, that makes sense.

But, what if we took that VBS acronym and reframed it for just a moment. What would it look like if VBS was just the beginning of an investment? What if VBS was a launching pad to leading a small group of kids every week?

What if VBS stood for your Very Best Start?

Here are some ways to make that happen:

Pray and prepare. Pray that God’s Spirit will work in the lives of the kids and families you will serve. Read the scripture passages in your lessons ahead of time. Draw close to God and allow Him to work in you. You can only lead from the overflow of what you have first received. Know how each activity you will do is to be accomplished well in advance. You can’t afford to be checking your materials with little people waiting. It will only lead to mischief.

Have fun. VBS can be crazy, loud, and exhausting, but it should also be tons of fun! The children arrive with great excitement and expectation. Have fun with them! If God puts the wiggles in them, don’t try to take them out. Let them be children and enjoy them. Having fun with children builds connections and reminds them they are loved.

Above all, show them Jesus. Show them his unfailing love and grace. Think about it. When the little children came to Jesus, do you think they had to line up quietly to see him? Did they have to behave before he’d give them a hug? Did they have to dress up and not speak until spoken to? Jesus made children to run and laugh and play. It’s how they learn and grow. So, show them Jesus by the way you play with them, by the way you see them, and by the way you listen to them. (Yes, that means listening to stories about their pet hamster!) Show them Jesus by loving them as He loves them.

Just start. Start an investment in the next generation. Rather than showing up for a week in the lives of kids never to see them again until next year, consider sticking around. You might have signed up just to “help out” thinking you might make a small impact in the life of a child. However, when you decide to stick around, you find out that the Spirit of God makes the biggest impact in you! But, you won’t ever know that unless you see VBS as your Very Best Start.

So, don’t miss it. VBS – it’s just a start. Make it your very best!

by Tricia Miller

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