Wednesday, June 18, 2014

VBS as Neighborhood Outreach

This year, for our Vacation Bible School, we have 3-5 children who routinely come to our church.  We have roughly 50 children coming each night.  What does it mean that only 10% of our VBS attendees come out of our church?

It means that they come from the surrounding neighborhood.  It means that they drove by and saw the sign.

It means that the most effective form of neighborhood outreach, for our church is VBS.

And then comes the next logical question:  if these children love VBS so much, why don't they ever come back for church?  We see the same children in VBS year after year, so the question feels even more relevant.

Is it because church is on a Sunday morning and VBS is on weeknights?  Is it because parents can drop off their kids?  Is it because parents can commit to 5 nights during a slow week in the summer, but during the school year, it's a different story?  Is it because we serve dinner?

Is it because we call one school and one church?  We've gone the extra steps of making one of our Sunday morning services much more like VBS, and this year, we'll make sure that parents know.  Of course, we've done that for the past 2 years, and still we only see their children for VBS.

These questions are some of the same ones that we ask at camp--why is there a commitment to camp that we don't see to church?  How are they feeding different needs?  Does the commitment point to a need to change the weekly approach?  Or is it because camp and VBS only come once a year and so, they feel special?  Is it because they come once a year that the family is willing to make the effort and sacrifice the time and in some cases, money?

In an ideal world, I'd end this blog post with a big reveal of the answers to these questions. But I have no answers--just a determination to keep asking these questions.

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