Covington Baptist Association
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Reasons for Conducting Adult VBS

When it comes to Vacation Bible School, most churches have an excellent track record for locating and including large numbers of unchurched children. Thankfully many of these children clearly hear the gospel message and respond by making Jesus their Lord and Savior.

Another group of unchurched children enjoy the VBS experience and desire to become involved in Sunday School or other on-going Bible study ministries.

This is all great news, at least until follow up visit and contacts are met with closed doors and less than enthusiastic parents.

Getting unchurched children to attend is often considered the benchmark for a successful VBS, but the real key to success is the ongoing relationships that come out of VBS. Relationships that find these same children being taught and discipled in Sunday School and other church-related activities throughout the year. These relationships are nearly impossible without the support and encouragement of parents.

  1. Consider these statistics from the 2006 VBS reports:
  2. Total VBS Enrollment 2,962,457
  3. Decisions to Accept Christ 94,980
  4. Unchurched Prospects Discovered 280,693
  5. Prospects Enrolled in Sunday School 39,218

These stats prove that VBS continues to be one of the most evangelistic endeavors a church can conduct. While these stats are cause for celebration, there is also room for discouragement. Take a second look at the number of unchurched prospects discovered and compare it to the number of prospects enrolled in Sunday School. Only 14% of the prospects discovered continued a relationship with the church following VBS.

The good news is that the 14% still have a relationship with a church. The bad news is that 86% of unchurched VBS attendees do not have an on-going relationship. Obviously there are many reasons why the 86% chose not to become involved in Sunday School. For some they were just not interested. For others it was due to no one asking them. But for many the parents, due to the lack of an established relationship with the church, prevented it.

Churches often find VBS follow up extremely difficult when there is no relationship with parents of unchurched prospects or children making salvation decisions. After a few years of attracting large numbers of unchurched children to VBS only to see little results in the following weeks, church leaders become frustrated and begin questioning the validity of using VBS as an outreach ministry.

Instead of asking about the evangelistic and church growth value of VBS, a better question is, "How can we foster relationships with the parents of the children we reach?"

The first answer to this question is Adult VBS! Parents consistently show they are interested in participating in the activities of their children. Just spend a morning at a little league ball field and you will see dozens of parents actively and enthusiastically participating in their children’s activities. If given the luxury of time and resources today’s parents often desire to take an active role in their children’s extra-curricular activities. Why should VBS be any different? Given the choice, many parents will choose to attend an Adult VBS in order to stay close to their children and know what is being taught and the people doing the teaching.

Consider these advantages of holding an Adult VBS at the same time as VBS for children:

  1. Adult VBS is typically less formal than Sunday School or other on-going church ministries.
  2. Adult VBS is designed to be a fun and casual experience that includes food, conversation, and relationship building.
  3. Adult VBS meets for a limited number of sessions which provides an easy exit as well as easy entry point in the life of a church. Adult VBS has a built-in exit strategy that allows adults to experiment with church without making a long-term commitment.
  4. Adult VBS provides unchurched adults a comfortable way to become familiar with church people, church buildings, and church activities.
  5. Adult VBS is part of a family event where the entire family can participate in a common activity, study the same Scriptures and themes, and find common ground for family communication.

So why should you conduct Adult VBS? It maximizes your church’s VBS efforts by opening doors for evangelistic outreach and follow up with the entire family!