Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why VBS Matters

I went every year. We did VBS every single summer. I was there in the weeks before VBS, the week of VBS, and the weeks after VBS. My mom was always heavily involved and on the leadership team each year, so I had a front row seat in watching the whole thing come together.

I remember going up to the church foyer and watching my mom paint the backdrop each year. There were four big canvases that would line up right next to each other to make the backdrop of the set for the skits. She'd paint a white primer on top of last year's backdrop and then use the overhead projector to trace the pencil lines onto the canvasses. This was a yearly ritual. I remember over the years the canvasses became so thick with paint after all the layers of paint from each year's backdrop. 

Sonseeker Safari. Son Country Farm. Every year had a theme. And it always had the word "Son". The writers of the VBS curriculum really got a kick out of that same play on words every year. 

Mom was in the skits and also did the puppet show (Rosie and Rusty) (Mom was Rosie) (Jonathan's mom was Rusty) (We got to watch them practice) and Lindsee's mom usually did Opening Assembly. 

It really was just the most fun week of the whole summer. We would be up at the church at the crack of dawn while all the moms set up. And we'd stay late and eat lunch together while they took everything down. 

We had craft time and music time and snack time and I still remember some of the songs to this very day. And maybe even some of the hand motions. And I remember some of the t-shirt designs too. It was all about the t-shirt, y'all. 

One year, on the last day of VBS, we stayed quite late as our parents took everything down and somehow about 20 of us kids got into a giant water fight outside. It involved a hose and about 100 plastic cups and pouring water over each other's heads. We were soaked through our clothes and I remember thinking we were going to get in so much trouble. But we were outside, we were staying out of the way, and our parents just let us go for it. And it was pretty much one of the highlights of my childhood. 

What I am trying to say is, I have SO MANY MEMORIES of VBS. This week, as I've been serving at VBS at my church, all those memories have been coming back to the surface. And no, I'm not nearly as involved or in charge as my mom was... I just am one of the teachers in a classroom of about 18 amazing 4 and 5 year olds. 

They are absolutely precious kids. Each one has a story. Each one has a personality and a future.  And they are learning the songs. Learning the stories. Learning their memory verse. Making awesome crafts. Captivated by the stories of missionaries living across the world. Bringing their little handful of quarters for the Sudanese mission. Making friends. 

Every morning this week I have had to wake up my sweet Ellie girl. Get her dressed. Rush out the door. She eats breakfast in the car. I drop her off in her own little VBS room where she has her own music time and story time and craft time.

This is me and my Ellie in her very first VBS shirt.

She comes up to my classroom with me at the end of the day while we clean up and say goodbye to all our kiddos. And then we drive home. 

And she sits in that backseat and sings the songs. Sings them loud. Songs I haven't taught her. Songs she's learning at VBS. 

"I'm gonna CLAP CLAP CLAP my hands cause God is so good! STOMP STOMP STOMP my feet cause God is so good!"

She claps and she stomps and she sings and it fills me to the brim with the greatest joy. 

Cause we are making memories. And maybe, just maybe, when she's about to be 30... maybe she'll bring her own little girl to VBS at their church. And maybe she'll drive and think about all the songs and the verses and the memories she made when her mommy took her to VBS every year. 


  1. AMEN!!! VBS was one thing I will always remember. Ellie will have an amazing time!!!!

  2. I trusted Christ as my savior during VBS when I was 7. I am now 41, just completed my 15th year of vocational ministry, and have had the opportunity to impact thousands for Christ. Did VBS save me? Nope, but it was the vehicle God used to bring me to salvation.
    I love VBS.

  3. working with your mom is a blast! apparently i wasn't paying attention the year she had a CAMEL in the new building. :)

    way to invest in eternity, jen!

  4. I love this! We have VBS coming up soon, and I'm excited for P to get to participate a little. It's such a fun week. You got me all excited!