Please read this all the way through to the end. I believe there is something there to touch your heart and lift your spirit.
And I will get to VBS ROI, as well.
But I begin by saying that I really do not know how long I have written articles for The Citizen. Maybe Cal Beverly, our wonderful editor, knows or can look it up. My guess is in the neighborhood of 25 years or more because my oldest daughter graduated high school in 2000, and I believe I was writing then because I remember writing about the grit and grind of both the football team and the band, who put in equal amounts of work and self-sacrifice.
I began when one of the Citizen staff, Kay Pedrotti, asked me to contribute, for which I have been grateful ever since. And I thank Cal for letting me share with our community from my point of view and faith.
However long it has been, I believe that in most, if not all of those years, I have written in June or July about Vacation Bible School (VBS). I have described in full detail the blessings and benefits of this traditional ministry of summer for the children of both our churches and our community.
One year I offered “10 Reasons to send your kids to VBS.” One year I wrote “I love VBS.” Every year I have extolled the marvelous re-occurring components of VBS: Bible Stories, singing, crafts, snacks, games, Christian community, and just plain fun. Every year I have thanked and affirmed the all-volunteer teams of teachers, helpers, decorators, craft supervisors, snack providers, directors, and everyone who chips in to make it all happen.
Every year I have lifted up that VBS is about Jesus and His grace and mercy, His teachings and miracles, His death on the cross to forgive all sin, His glorious resurrection, His ascension back to The Father, and His presence and power sent to us in His Holy Spirit.
And every year I have affirmed that VBS is, well, Vacation B-I-B-L-E School. In VBS we use God’s Holy Word in the Bible to lift the eternal Truth that is as relevant today as it has been through all time. In our world of pervasive “relative truth,” “you believe what you want and I’ll believe what I want,” it is vital to teach God’s eternal Truth to the children today, tomorrow, and on into the future.
And so again this year I repeat my affirmation, love, appreciation, commendation, and thanksgiving for VBS, Vacation Bible School.
Now, “VBS ROI.”
In our new world of cyber communication and social media there are now hundreds of three letter abbreviations to quickly reference distinctive phrases. One of them, evidently, is ROI.
ROI? “Return on Investment.”
In thinking about VBS, I do not believe there is a ministry of the church that has a better nor a more impressive ROI, “Return on Investment,” than VBS. What the kids take away from it is worth every ounce of investment: the spark of faith in Jesus, the conviction of God’s Truth from the Bible, the launch of a life-long walk of faith. And what the adults also benefit is “worth every penny and ounce of sweat.”
VBS ROI. Now, here’s the “nugget” I promised you at the beginning. Last year after my wife and I helped with VBS at Word of God Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg, the mother of one of our Kindergarteners sent me a video one evening. It was of her 5-year-old son sitting on his bed at bedtime with his Bible in his hands.
With the sweetest and most sincere voice of faith, the young boy said these words, which “miraculously” his mom caught on her cell phone video.
Holding his Bible, with his VBS T-shirt still on, near the end of the week of VBS, the boy declared, verbatim: “I love the Bible because it has so many things that God and Jesus and so many other people did for us in it. I’m going to show you the front of it because you see the cross and imagine that Jesus was on it because He died on the cross to forgive us all our sins so all of us could go to heaven one day.”
From the mouths of babes!
VBS ROI. Amen! Amen! And Amen!
Parents, grandparents, and caregivers, if you have not yet found a VBS for your children this summer, please do so. There are many, many churches in our community offering a VBS.
For those of you in the Sharpsburg, Peachtree City, Newnan area, I invite you still, at this last minute, to come to the VBS where my wife and I will again be helping this year. It is Word of God Lutheran Church on Hwy. 34, just one mile west of Sam’s. It begins tomorrow morning, Monday, June 12, at 9:00 a.m. You may still register tonight at www.woglutheran.org or just bring the kids tomorrow morning at 9:00.
I promise you a great ROI !
[Dr. Justin Kollmeyer, a thirty-seven year resident of Fayette County, is a retired Lutheran pastor. He offers his preaching and teaching pastoral ministry to any group seeking or needing a Christ centered, Biblically based, and traditionally grounded sermon or teaching. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.]