Memories of Vacation Bible School

Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church in rural New Prague, held its Vacation Bible School last week. Over the course of the week there were several games and Bible stories. In many ways it reminded me of the Bible schools I went to during the summer as a child.

My parents would drop me off at the church and for one hour or more, we had songs and other activities and sometimes snacks. Of course there were lots of Bible stories or lessons centered on a Bible story. Sometimes they were read to us, other times we had a puppet show. A few times we had a slide show or a movie. Since this was the mid to late 1970s film projectors were still being used, although VCRs were just starting to be used.

I think there were even one or two summers where, if it was possible, my parents would send my siblings and I to two Vacation Bible Schools. It was interesting going to a Catholic Bible school and then a Lutheran one later in the summer. The message was still the same, but there were differences in how the schools were organized.

In some ways things have changed over the years. The Bible schools I remember seemed more home spun. While there were probably books about doing Bible schools, I think they had more suggestions about what a person could do. It was up to those organizing the Bible school to decide what stories would be featured and what activities would be done. With the Bible schools I’ve covered over the last few years, there are now themes. The stories and some of the activities tie into those themes.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the message. Whether the theme is a jungle adventure, race cars, climbing a mountain, investigating clues, a western or sports camp, the goal is the same. It’s about teaching children about the Living Word of God, about Jesus and His promise of peace, love and forgiveness. It’s about letting children know there is something bigger than us, which we can take part in when we follow and emulate Jesus’ message.