The Sacred Sandwich

July20th

64 Comments

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64 Comments

  • Comment by Jim Duval — July 20, 2009 @ 6:26 am

    Sadly, that’s not all that far from the truth. Certainly makes the transition to youth groups in many churches that much easier where pizza parties abound and Bible studies are all but non-existant.

  • Comment by Denita — July 20, 2009 @ 7:11 am

    Ugh, this is so frighteningly true, having recently finished our own VBS circus. I wish more VBS programs didn’t just give out the “ABC’s” of Admit, Believe, and Confess. It’s all too easy to plunk that down in front of a bunch of carnal, unrepentant kids and make them think that by raising their hands on the last day, they get a thumbs-up from Jesus and a free “Get Out Of Hell” card.

    They leave out the big red glaring “R”…for REPENT. All too many of those kids go back to their unregenerate lives, grow up to be carnal adults living worldly lives…all the while thinking that they’ve got Jesus willing to post their bail on the Big Day. It makes me weep.

  • Comment by Greg Rice — July 20, 2009 @ 8:38 am

    The spirit of Keith Green lives on! Great parody!

  • Comment by nmark — July 20, 2009 @ 8:50 am

    These “spoofs” are quite effective in their portrayal of things going on in churches today. I looked at this and began to smile at the absurdity of this “carnal VBS” and then my smile went away with the realization that this is an accurate picture of far too many churches today. Thanks for the laugh…but, more importantly, thanks for the reminder regarding the anemic bible teaching that prevails today.

  • Comment by Chris — July 20, 2009 @ 8:57 am

    Funny and true but if your so offended by your VBS program then maybe your the person to organize or volunteer for a discipleship program to follow up with all the families and children that come to VBS! Be willing to work on that part of a much needed ministry within churches today and finally connect the two in a Christ like way.

    Yea…But that might cut into personal time…hmmm ohh wait my tivo just recorded the whole season of dancing with the stars!

  • Comment by David Cochrane — July 20, 2009 @ 9:28 am

    Tragic to see the lives of our young brothers and sisters who have been influenced by this type of program. What did Jesus say about millstones and offending little ones?

  • Comment by John — July 20, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    What offended me about this poster was those lame-0 balloons.
    That is soooo O.T.
    How bout we give out I-pods instead? K?

  • Comment by Steve — July 20, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

    Spot-on.

  • Comment by Dr Tim — July 20, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

    too much truth is painful.

    Yes, kids, we can have it both ways.

  • Comment by Rachel — July 20, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

    I’m praying for kids in this generation!
    Thank you, and love the Keith Green reference.

  • Comment by Carol — July 20, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

    If this was just only a joke. But indeed a sad reminder of the carnality in the leadership of the churches as well as those who attend these churches. As I drive about town doing regular errands, I notice the similarity on the posters of actual “VBS” programs, I am shocked at the irreverence towards the Lord to reduce His precious gospel to a crocodile adventure, or space adventure or cowboy adventure.

    Shame on these post modern marquee VBS programs.

    Bring us back to the basics, the Gospel, some singing, a story of a mission and a little craft and more memories come from simplicity than the over the top monstrocities called VBS these days.

  • Comment by Reformed Pentecostal — July 20, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

    have you been visiting Saddleback again?

    Seriously, this is a great reminder of the junk that most youth groups pass off as “fellowship” and “drawing close to God.”
    Some of the pastors and youth leaders are so liberal or so afraid of offending anyone, they end up dishing out this junk!

    Hmmmmmm..wonder what Johnathan Edwards did with his church youth group?

  • Comment by Brian — July 21, 2009 @ 6:10 am

    Jonathan Edwards’ church didn’t have a “youth group.” That would have been too carnal for them. Young people are supposed to be seen and not heard. Isn’t that the kind of thought that came from that generation? What about “Praise Him, old men and children”?

    Here’s another thought: I was saved when I was 8 years old. You’re talking about the concept here of repentance. As an adult, I truly understand repentance; if someone tells me about “doing a complete 180″, I get it! I don’t know if I would have totally got that at age 8. However, I totally knew what it was to lie to my parents or to steal a pencil at school.

    And, while I’m at it, what is wrong with a child learning to ADMIT he’s a sinner, BELIEVING that Christ died for those sins, and then CONFESS that he personally needs Christ to save him? All three concepts of the ABC approach deal with sin, and they deal with it at a level children can comprehend. Jesus said, “Don’t offend these little ones.” He also said, “Allow the little children to come to Me for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Don’t complicate the simple message of the Gospel.

    What I got from this satire is that “Back to Egypt” is a VBS designed for adults. Those are the ones who ought to comprehend carnality, yet keep going back for cucumbers and melons from the Nile Valley.

  • Comment by LuLu — July 21, 2009 @ 9:34 am

    “…Carnal the Camel…”.The only thing missing is the cigarette dangling from his lips!This is spot-on.Absolute,sad,tragic,but the TRUTH!

  • Comment by Eddie Eddings — July 21, 2009 @ 9:52 am

    Youth leaders are often times in de Nile.

  • Comment by Carol — July 21, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

    Back to Egypt…if children are not taught properly when they are young, they will grow up to follow fads as adults. Using these gimmicks to attract kids are only making VBS a glorified babysitting service. It’s planting a seed early in their young minds that it’s okay to be irreverent towards the Lord and His Word and think that it’s acceptable to seek gimmicks in their religious lives.

  • Comment by Brad — July 21, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

    I need to repent!!

  • Comment by Brian — July 21, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

    Carol, how would you teach children?

  • Comment by Joe — July 22, 2009 @ 12:37 am

    Eddie, “groan”… Let’s get back to the old time VBS gospel, the one where the clown coaxes a toddler through a sinners prayer.

  • Comment by Carol — July 22, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

    Brian,
    Why ask me? Since I have no clue on how to be “relevant” in today’s culture, and since I’ve been out of organized “Churchianity” for over 5 years….don’t ask me…what would I know about social relevance to approaching the unsaved children of a neighborhood according to the methodology of “organized public education”.

  • Comment by Brian — July 22, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

    So, Carol, you will say that children need to be taught properly – yet you have no idea how to do that. Do you think this undermines your credibility?

  • Comment by RJ — July 22, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

    “The Harvest is ripe but the laborers are arguing”.

  • Comment by Brian — July 22, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

    What are you doing, RJ? Trying to pick a fight?

  • Comment by Corey Reynolds — July 22, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

    Sounds like someone is…

  • Comment by Angus — July 23, 2009 @ 12:43 am

    If everyone plays nice, there will be cake and ice cream later!

  • Comment by Brian — July 23, 2009 @ 6:19 am

    Okay, cake and ice cream is very relevant to my culture.

    See? Doing fun things for kids works!!

  • Comment by RJ — July 23, 2009 @ 7:33 pm

    Not picking a fight, and I’m no VBS fan. Frankly, I think most attempts at VBS are frightening. I’m just shocked at how much work goes into a site like this…that’s mostly dedicated to ripping apart the body of Christ.

    I can’t help but wonder how many bible believing adult Christians came to Christ at a VBS like the ones we are mocking. Thousands upon Thousands, I would guess.

  • Comment by Brian — July 23, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

    Well, I know of one girl who came to Christ tonight at our church’s VBS. And – yes – shocker!! It was one of the newer promoted VBS programs.

    When I saw the tears in the eyes of this little girl’s father, I sort of tabled any concerns about “overtly commercial” VBS programs. It’s what true believers do with these programs – like praying over VBS – that makes the difference. Not what the publishers put in them.

  • Comment by Angus — July 24, 2009 @ 12:06 am

    RJ wrote: “I’m just shocked at how much work goes into a site like this…that’s mostly dedicated to ripping apart the body of Christ.”

    RJ, what an inflammatory thing to write, with absolutely no basis in fact.

    Furthermore, the satire is not mocking VBS. It’s mocking worldliness which, last time I checked, is a sinful condition the Bible warns us about. In fact, the title is, “Bad VBS Theme Idea.” Not “VBS is Bad.”

    Glad you aren’t picking a fight.

  • Comment by Angus — July 24, 2009 @ 12:08 am

    Brian:

    I rejoice when anyone enters into the sheepfold of Christ. For the record, I don’t have a problem with VBS as a outreach for children as long as it focuses on the gospel, which is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” What makes a “bad VBS theme idea” is one that focuses on the world, which never saved anyone. Hence the satire.

  • Comment by Angus — July 24, 2009 @ 12:15 am

    By the way, this site promotes and supports Camp Del-Haven (see the ad on the right) which offers a free summer Bible camp experience for underprivileged children. Yes, there is swimming, crafts, and other “fun” outdoor activities, but from dawn till dusk the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to these kids throughout the day for a week. It is a great ministry that understands the proper balance of having the kids enjoy God’s creation, with the hope of casting their true affections onto Christ. I urge you to click on the ad, check out the specifics of Camp Del-Haven, and think about supporting this biblical organization.

  • Comment by Brian — July 24, 2009 @ 5:58 am

    Angus, thanks for the clarification and the extra info. And to clarify my position, I get where you’re coming from. One of my earlier posts in this thread alluded to the theme of your satire as being a VBS for adults, many of whom are truly vacating the Bible as the Word of God in their lives. The only other option is for them to then submit to the world system – hence, “Back to Egypt” and the cucumbers and melons – and whatever other produce the Israelites were longing for.

    As I said above, these programs are what a church and its leadership decides to make of them. Frankly, we found the VBS program we’re using has some weaknesses – nothing’s perfect. But we’ve been able to compensate to use it as it was intended – a tool. Another church could take this same program and remove references to the gospel “to avoid putting undo pressure” on the kids, ie, go soft on the truth. That’s not the fault of the publishers or the program – the root problem is in our churches.

  • Comment by RJ — July 24, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

    Angus, Let’s both have a moment of honesty:
    Yes, my comment was a bit inflamatory. “mostly dedicated to ripping apart the body of Christ” was too strong.

    However, you saying that it has “absolutely no basis in fact” simply isn’t true. Sites like this, A little leaven, Extreme Theology (who linked to your post), do dedicate a fair amount of time to critiquing other ministries. As we all know, satire is a fun, creative way to make a point. And the point usually made on sites like this one are at the expense of other members of the body of Christ.

    Also for your consideration: the worldliness stuff that you seem to be wary of may be in the eye of the beholder to some extent. Certainly there are biblical standards that we would all agree upon, but who is to say that the stuff kids participate in at Camp Del-Haven such as swimming, crafts and other “fun” outdoor activities are any less worldly than what’s happening at a typical VBS?

  • Comment by Angus — July 24, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

    RJ: Once again, you show no specific evidence to prove that this site is “dedicated to ripping apart the body of Christ.” Nor can you show that I spend a “fair amount of time critiquing other ministries.”

    This is a Christian humor and satire site that promotes sola Scriptura. The vast majority of our posts are aimed at poking fun at the foibles and idiosyncrasies of Christians so we can laugh at ourselves. We see the humor in Calvinists, Arminians, fundamentalists, liberals, and all branches of the Church. Less than 3% of our content makes any reference to a specific Christian or ministry. And when it does, it is based on a biblical standard from God’s Word to back up our opinion.

    If you disagree with our biblical view, then challenge us with Scripture. But if you just want to paint us with a broad brush as troublemakers, then you are free to never visit our site again.

  • Comment by RJ — July 24, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

    Angus,

    First: The reason I “show no specific evidence” to prove that this site is dedicated to ripping apart the body of Christ is because I apologized for that comment in the previous post! Glad to see grace abounds here.

    Second: While you may not be critiquing other ministries in the tradition sense, it is obvious that one of your goals is to look at the world of christiandom through the sola Scriptura lense and, through the use of satire, comment on what you see.

    Third: Sad that admitting that I went too far in my original comment but not caving in completely results in an invitation to “never visit our site again.”

    Fourth: Would you be willing to address my “worldliness is in the eye of the beholder” comment. I’m not challenging…just thinking that through in some other areas so it’s timely.

    Fifth: I DO NOT disagree with your biblical view. But apparently sola Scriptura dictates that I agree with every single piece of your methodoligy?

  • Comment by Carol — July 24, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

    Brian,
    Do not attack my beliefs because I choose not to follow the programs of most of these fad driven churches.

    My approach is the simple and old fashioned theme of offering the gospel message age appropriate for the differing age groups. But not permitting adults to wear stupid costumes or the use of puppets or gadgets to present the gospel message. Not using strange themes to attract kids, but offer them truth from simply teaching from the Bible.

    Children that are accustomed to gadgets, gimmicks, sports and other forms of entertainment will have them grow up thinking that to be spiritual, one has to implement gimmicks and entertainment to draw others to Christ.

    This is the problem I have. Like the display used at many churches that have irreverent themes that play into the senses and appeal to the flesh, rather than the need to repent and a Savior who offers redemption.

    It’s simple and old fashioned and if I’m not “credible” enough for you, that’s your problem,not mine.

    Because I don’t choose to go with the flow of carnal cliches used for VBS like alligator adventures, spacemen and talking gopher puppets…it just entertains, it’s not equipping young saints…I’m not credible?

  • Comment by Carol — July 24, 2009 @ 6:25 pm

    I’ve also made the mistake of allowing myself to get involved with a VBS that I had volunteered to help at a so called “Baptist” church. While my sister and I tried to prepare the kids for the message of the particular “scene” where adults of the church dressed in costumes and performed skits that supposed to have had the message in the skit…well the kids were horribly behaved and screamed the entire time we tried to talk. Nobody would help us out to quiet the kids…we were just left with nasty 5th graders who did NOT get any message. THey were only coming to gather up points so the kid with the most “points” got tickets to the local AA baseball game. It wasn’t to hear the gospel and it certainly wasn’t about repenting.

    This is what I dislike about these programs. They come for little rewards of the world, like candy or tickets to a game, but they don’t really care to memorize Bible verses.

    That is the problem!

  • Comment by Brian — July 24, 2009 @ 9:24 pm

    Carol, I’m enjoying our exchange here. I think it’s enlightening. And I’m mainly interested in asking questions, not in taking positions or engaging in debate.

    One point though: Regarding that church, I would say that they had other problems besides possibly having the wrong VBS program.

    Let me ask some questions to see how old fashioned you are…

    Do you think it’s okay to use flannelgraph when teaching children Bible stories?

    Do you think children’s drama programs on radio are okay? I’m of course referring to Christian-themed programs.

    What about a Christian television program for children, such as “Davey and Goliath”?

    Is it okay to use a rewards-based system in children’s Sunday school where stickers are used to mark things like attendance, bringing your Bible, bringing a visitor, etc.?

    Are Christian-sponsored parties or outings for children okay, the point being for the adult leaders to get to know better the children to whom they are ministering?

    Does Jesus think church is okay?

  • Comment by Angus — July 25, 2009 @ 1:11 am

    RJ: I don’t wish to get into a long, drawn-out debate on the minutiae of this issue. But I will respond to you again to clear up any misunderstanding.

    To your first point: You said your comment (that this site is “mostly dedicated to ripping apart the body of Christ”) was “too strong,” but then in the very next sentence you maintained that your inflammatory comment DID have a basis in fact. I didn’t see this as an apology, but as a toned-down reassertion by you that there IS evidence that this site is dedicated to ripping apart the Body. I disagree adamantly with that position, and simply asked you to prove your assertion. If your intent was to apologize, then I gratefully accept it.

    To your second point: I can basically agree with your assessment here. However, this “critiquing” aspect of my site is still a very small percentage of my content. Most of it is geared to laughing at our common Christian experience.

    To your third point: See my answer to your first point, and then please understand that if you think this site has a negative impact on the Christian community, then it seems to me you would be better served to avoid coming here. That sounds like common-sense advice to me; it wasn’t meant to chase you off.

    To your fourth point: I did not address your comment about Camp Del-Haven vs. VBS because it is based on the false assumption that I have a problem with VBS in general. I do not, and I made that clear in my first response to you. My subsequent comment about my support of Camp Del-Haven was intended to further convey that I don’t have a problem with children’s ministries that offer certain aspects of recreation during their biblical schooling.

    As for responding to your “worldliness is in the eye of the beholder” comment: no, I do not believe that worldliness is rightly found in the eye of the beholder. We don’t define what sin is, God does. I believe the Bible has clearly defined what worldliness is, in verses like 1 John 3:15-16, Luke 8:14, and Romans 12:2. That’s not to say that Christians don’t try to create personal boundaries of what worldliness is or isn’t, but that doesn’t negate how the Bible defines it in very real terms that can have terrifying consequences. I see nothing wrong with reminding my readers of that fact; they are free to apply that information as they see fit.

    To your fifth point: Sola Scriptura, from this site’s point of view, should be the foundation of how we as Christians interact with each other on matters of faith and doctrine. There will always be others who disagree with my biblical position, and I don’t have a problem with that as long as they support their opposing view with Scripture. When people base their arguments solely on generalizations, tradition, personal preferences, feelings, etc., then I have a problem.

    RJ, obviously we got off on the wrong foot, and I admit to being very put-off by your initial assessment of this site. I hope you can understand why I was wary of your intent. I also readily admit that I have made mistakes along the way in creating this satirical project, but my intent is to bring light-hearted encouragement and admonition that’s founded on biblical truth, and not on a critical spirit that needs to prove others wrong. If you only knew how much of my content is directed at me and my silly whims and sinful impulses!

  • Comment by RJ — July 26, 2009 @ 1:15 am

    Thanks, Angus. I appreciate the dialogue and agree that we probably got off on a wrong foot neither intended.

    While I don’t live here day-to-day, I look forward to the occasional visit!

    God’s best,
    RJ

  • Comment by Carol — July 27, 2009 @ 8:25 am

    The question was asked “Does Jesus think church is okay?” Hmmm, if you are talking about the spiritual condition of apostacy? Need there be an answer?

    Telling children about David and Goliath, first, people need to examine the Scriptures and realize that David was not a child when he went up against Goliath. King Saul would have been a total fiend to think a child could try on the king’s armor.

    I never went to a VBS as a child and remembered any visual images. Maybe it was the budget of that particular church that lacked those things. Even when I was invited as a teenager, there were no “frills”, the Bible was shared and we learned a few things…

    Maybe it’s because the times have changed and children and teens are conditioned to be attracted to things that have loud music, or electronic visual images to amuse them. But again, then it creates a sense of having to use gimmicks to associate them to religion or spiritual things. The older they get, then the bigger amusements must be brought in to keep them.

    Is this right? I think not.

    Simplicity is the key….and it saves from having to spend money on all the VBS “packages”.

  • Comment by Brian — July 27, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

    Carol, perhaps you’re too young to remember Davey and Goliath. And you avoided my question about radio. As it is, we’re currently using the most recent technology to have this discussion, so I suppose my questions about using technology to present ideas is really a moot point after all. We are each presenting our views via an electronic medium, so we both are in agreement that electronic media are legitimate means of conveying Christian ideas.

    Is Jesus okay with the idea of church? “Upon this Rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Apparently, church was His idea. For me, that’s the end of the discussion.

    As to modern VBS packages, the Holy Spirit does not need packaging to bring people into the kingdom – this much is true. As it has always been, the means and the methods are about the people.

    What do the people involved in a VBS ministry at a given church do with the program? Do they rest everything in the ministry upon the program itself? Or do you suppose that it may be more complex than that? Is it truly possible that, having used a themed program to bring children in, some church people then use the opportunity of the gathered crowd to preach the Word in all its truth and its reality? Do they wait for a gizmo or a gadget to dazzle their young audience? Or do they go to God in prayer for the souls of the children who come?

    For me, it’s a matter of both/and, not either/or.

  • Comment by Jeff — August 1, 2009 @ 10:10 am

    Hey, as a recent participant in a modern VBS, Crocodile Dock was fun. I was the Skeeter character and the kids loved it. I worked the character to the hilt. Kids came back. One kid was drawn out of a shell that has held him captive. If VBS was there for that one, then it was worth all the hub-bub of stage set, big screen, hauling props, losing a crown(one of my molars) because of a gummy worm. We talked about deeper theological stuff, like the trinity, with kids who had questions, and Bible stories about Moses and Pharoah and Jesus were central to our program each day. The music was great and taught scripture. The motions loosely choreographed so kids(and me) could follow. It was relevant and taught the gospel. This was my personal experience. Kind of funny that our VBS program actually did teach about Egypt…

  • Comment by Angus — August 1, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

    Good report, Jeff. Hopefully, you didn’t teach them to go “Back to Egypt”! :)

  • Comment by Jeff — August 1, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

    Step away from the pyramid!

  • Comment by Brian — August 2, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    Okay, Egyptian joke…

    What do they call Egyptians who are studying to be plumbers?

    Answers: “Pharaoh Faucet Majors”

    You have to be pretty old to get that one….

  • Comment by Angus — August 2, 2009 @ 11:38 pm

    *groan*

  • Comment by Monique — August 4, 2009 @ 1:00 am

    Hello everyone!

    I’m not sure I would say that the modern VBS themes are bad… I do agree they don’t always focus on what most of us (who are in our mid 30s and older) grew up with…

    But I will say that for my church – we enjoy creating our own curriculum each year. We just finished our VBS and it was amazing!!!

    God Bless!!

  • Comment by Stef — October 17, 2009 @ 4:02 am

    The real horrific issue here…. All the VBS’ I remember as a kid were like “jesus loves you” & i was like so?..neat… we’d play games eat pizza, ice cream, (just like slumber parties) then they let me get baptized. There was never any talk of Sin, fear, judgement, God’s wrath, repentace. I went on for the next 20 years just living my carnal sinful life, thinking I was ok, & I wasn’t! Praise God for someone having the courage to tell me my true state 2 years ago. Was I offended, sure, at first I was, because the cross is offensive to those who are perishing. But God so graciously took me in. It was only then did the truth of Gods saving love change me. I have a 10 year old & she gets it. We don’t have to use candy, or dress up like clowns, she gets the bible…. & she’s not lowly or deprived. Now that she understands her sinful state, she wants to share the good news with everyone. It’s a beautiful amazing thing that can only be from God! To God be the glory!!!!!!

  • Comment by Kelsii — October 23, 2009 @ 9:20 am

    Wow.
    I’m a kid who just got on this website because of a link from Facebook. My church just put on a VBS that I helped at, and it did have a space theme. The kids were K-5 aged. For the younger kids, it was great: a skit, a craft room, etc. But for those older kids, it was boring and too young. My take on VBS is that it’s fine for little kids, but a certain age is when the adults need to start being more straightforward. Kids aren’t stupid, and we hate being treated younger than we are. So when 4th and 5th graders are sitting through a sing-along, and the only thing that’s going through their mind is “I hope the snack is good today”, then it’s time to get a little more involved.
    That’s just me.

  • Comment by 3John13 — October 30, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

    Well, I like the joke. I “get” the joke.
    And I like this site. I “get” this site.

    I also read in the Bible of Elijah, John The Baptist, Paul and John, not to mention Jesus, who were many times sarcastic (1 Kings 18:27), name callers (Matthew 3:7, Matthew 23:12-14), and confrontational (Galatians 2:11).

    Gooey, swishy, warm Teddy Bear Christianity is not the faith of the Bible. I stand with Christ AGAINST the Emergent, new age, Oprah, Joel Osteen, “Church In Laodicea”.

    I’m not taking any sides in this particular food fight but I am saying that when Christians dispute with each other that’s not necessarily “ripping the body apart”.
    (Especially when it’s highly likely in many debates that the opposite side isn’t even really IN “the body”.)

    2 Timothy 4:2
    Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

    Mocking the folly of the carnal worldly church is not out of bounds and I think it’s clever and Biblical, (2 Corinthians 11:1).

  • Comment by D G Pomerhn Jr — December 22, 2009 @ 2:04 am

    Ditches, ladies and gentlemen. Ditches. Unfortunately, we see too often the mess that is the “modern church” and evangelicalism, with its gimmicks, bait-n-switch tactics and programs that are focused on entertainment and “shock” rather than repentance, faith and true conviction.

    By following the comments posted here, I was impressed by a few things: even though some had some very strong views, and even let a little depravity fly out here and there (oh, doesn’t it happen to us all though? And we sure hate it, too…) folks were able to work through differences and give grace where it was needed. I praise God that He does such great work in our lives!

    One other point that was addressed by Carol: the lack of involvement by so many adults in youth programs – including VBS. Kids are difficult. I spent some time volunteering in a inner-city Sunday School program in a city in Virginia. It wasn’t good most of the time. You felt like you were making no progress. In fact, I had to take duct tape with me to 4th grade class because the room was in a basement, and the kids would turn the light switch off. I literally had to tape the switch to avoid serious difficulties – including lawsuits if a kid got hurt with all the horsing around in the dark!

    Still, God is the One that saves. All He asks us to do is repent and trust in the saving work of Christ. We serve because we have a burden for the Gospel and gratitude for it. If only more adults got it – then they would put together simple programs that aren’t feeding the coffers of “big business” and are Biblically-based.

    I say bring back the catechism! If they don’t like it, use the duct tape to hold ‘em in their chairs. When the Holy Spirit moves and they “get” what you are doing and why, you will have gained a young brother or sister in the faith – and they certainly will be grateful.

  • Comment by Jeff H — January 8, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

    Q: Do you know why the Israelites didn’t starve in the desert?

    A: Because of all the SAND WHICH is there.

    (this is actually a better joke spoken than typed, but oh well… it doesn’t really manna)

  • Comment by Cory D. Jones — April 8, 2010 @ 7:01 am

    I know I’m extremely late for this post, but I got a general sense from some posters that as long as the glitz, glam, giveaways, gimmicks, and other related “g” words of “modernized” VBS programs saved one soul, they were all worth it. Unfortunately, I disagree. Because if we saved one, baruch HaShem for that one, but at the same time misled three into merely thinking they’re on the path of salvation, what have we done? That is not a success, but a failure.

    You know, there was a church who recently had a raffle drawing for money and cars for people who showed up on Easter (admittedly, just to get people in the door). Sounds an awful lot like the theme of this post… People have expressed their displeasure with commercialized VBS programs, but this mentality has now made it’s way into “adult church” too, and that’s even scarier.

  • Comment by Barb N — June 19, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    I am concerned, our adults do not want to be a seeker friendly church, yet as the VBS director this year I choose to try to have an old fashion VBS, very basic around the Word and the Ten Commandments, O.T. But this year I’m not getting help as in the past and have been told that we have to have some kind of modern theme or why would the kids come? My response was they will come because the parents will send them just like every year we are a sitter. This is my third year I never attended VBS as a child, so can anyone suggest

  • Comment by Bereanwarrior — June 19, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

    Barb,

    Our church scrapped VBS. We never found any good programs. Many people slammed us for it, but let me tell you what we did with our youth… we made disciples out of them. We taught them about Sovereign grace, the Ordo Salutis, and they understand the Gospel just fine. Even our 5 year olds can comprehend their sin and God’s Sovereign grace. We did all this through expository preaching and using Connie Devers’ curriculum for childrens church. (She is Mark Devers’ wife.) If you must do VBS, I highly recommend getting some of her stuff and using it just to give those kids the true Gosple message, and making them disciples as well so that they can go home and evangelize their parents. I tied the link to Connie’s website to my handle so just click on it to go there. Soli Deo Gloria!

  • Comment by Angus — June 23, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

    Barb N: Here’s another resource that could be used well in a VBS environment: Gospel Colors.

  • Comment by Nishoni — July 27, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    We just finished our VBS. It was awesome! The kids came for the blowup rides our church rented at a fraction of the price. We had 160 kids there who ALL got a clear Gospel presentation 2 or 3 times every night. 30 kidsraised their hand during invitation over the course of the VBS. They were taken and dealt with in small groups where the Gospel was presented AGAIN, and got saved!!! There were many others who raised their hands, but when they were dealt with about their soul, they did not believe they were a sinner.. Unless you KNOW you do wrong, you have not yet reached that age of aaccountability and therefore cannot yet be saved. I praise GOD for the ability to draw more children in to hear the GOSPEL. Even if they do not get saved at that time, a seed has been planted that others can water and one day harvest!!! Praise GOD!!! :o)

  • Comment by Eric — September 27, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

    We did an original VBS this past summer……we used DMX lighting, pyrotechnics and skits each night. Does this mean we were “all show” and ineffective?
    We had over 120 boys, girls, MEN & WOMEN make first-time decisions that week. I guess some people fail to realize that the MESSAGE does not change…..but, the METHODS have to.

  • Comment by faith — November 2, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

    I believe in an active and powerful God. Even if the VBS program is sub par, God will always pick up the slack. An inadequate program does not necessarily result in an inadequate spiritual experience. We are all at different stages in our journey and I believe that God works in us and through us despite our best human attempts at vacation bible school!

  • Comment by Bereanwarrior — November 3, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

    faith – Just out of curiousity, what is your church affiliation? If you don’t have one, let me ask you some other questions.
    Do you identify more with Rob Bell or John MacArthur?
    Joel Osteen or R.C. Sproul?
    Doug Pagitt or Mark Driscoll?

    I ask because you use alot of “red flag” phrases like “journey”, “spiritual experience”, and “active and powerful God”.

    I would just like to consider your backround before I comment on your post further.

    Thanks,

    BW

  • Pingback by Vacation Bible school: is it a Biblical ministry model? — June 20, 2011 @ 10:43 am

    [...] day; however, I have never seen VBS accomplish this. This is what is familiar to my experience: Bad VBS Theme Idea – The Sacred Sandwich Austin Electrical engineering student Member, PCA San Marcos, TX ‎"Doctrine is not [...]

  • Comment by Andi — July 30, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    That’s just sad when you have to back words to go forward into the talk of Jesus. or the opposite thereof, lol
    But still funny all the same

  • Comment by Cindy — May 16, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

    An extremely late post to this conversation – but I just can’t not share! What an interesting series of comments! As a longtime VBS teacher, director, and writer of many published curriculum programs, I was very interested in and appreciated each of the comments posted here. I am surprised, however, that so many who submitted criticisms of the current VBS “themes” seemed to miss a few things that are so amazingly obvious (to me, anyway).

    - First, although I appreciated hearing the criticisms of current VBS programs (as they were excellent reminders of how curriculums must present and promote these programs), I couldn’t help but wonder if those criticizing had actually spent any time reviewing these programs in detail? Ever cracked into a VBS kit? And even if you have looked at “one” – that one is surely not representative of the bulk of quality programs that indeed exist and are available. I am always appalled by those who have the actual gall to criticize things that they haven’t even read!

    - Second, while I once again want to enforce that I honestly appreciate ALL opinions on this subject, because everyone (children and adults) learns in different ways and from different methods. But to that end, while these programs may appear to be “of this world” – the fact is that kids LIVE IN “this world.” If the children cannot relate to the sessions being presented and understand how to apply the Gospel messaged to their everyday lives, one or both of two things will happen: they won’t ever come back again, or if they do, they will be so bored or offended, that they won’t even try to get it. So what’s the point in that?

    - Next, these supposed horrendous “themes” are utilized to make the program FUN! Yep, it’s true – kids like to have fun! Don’t get me wrong, there is always a danger in pushing that so far that all the kids are doing is having fun as opposed to learning anything! That’s not what I am advocating. But when kids have fun, they are more willing to give the REAL message a try! They are more apt to listen, learn, and experience – and it’s all about experience! We learn best when we can “do” and experience the Gospel message. When children understand how to personalize God’s Word so that they can truly own it and put it into daily practice, it is only then that they can also experience a relationship with our Savior and embrace that awesome gift available to all – salvation!

    - Today’s sometimes wild and crazy VBS themes even make me raise an eyebrow or two sometimes! Yes, I admit it! BUT, instead of putting them down, I read them and often discover that woven into every fabric of that odd VBS theme is God’s Word and an awesome opportunity to experience faith in today’s often crazy world! I wouldn’t choose all of the themes I’ve seen come and go – but remember, we all learn and grow in different ways. Isn’t wonderful that there are different options to reach our children with God’s messages today?

    - I couldn’t agree more that kids are very difficult to teach! That’s why it is imperative to provide volunteers with appropriate training and ongoing support (as opposed to strapping them into a chair with duct tape). More and more of today’s programs are stepping up and making this happen! These VBS themes that appeal to most of today’s kids help volunteers by first making God’s Word and inviting and positive experience!

    - I do not advocate rote memorization just for the sake of prizes or even just for the sake of recitation – if that recitation is simply forgotten the following week. Kids need to WANT to hear, learn, and grasp the Gospel message and make it their own through the gift of the Holy Spirit. If children turn a deaf ear to what is being taught (for whatever reason), we will continue to lose more and more of them. So while today’s often whacky VBS themes may seem a bit over the top, unusual, or even unholy – give them a chance! Most of them are solid representations of the Gospel, filled with God’s Word, and written in such a way that children will feel appreciated, invited, and challenged to not only accept Christ as their Savior, but also share the Good News with others in the days ahead!

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