By Jay Sanders
It’s that time of year again when church lawns across the country are covered with bounce houses, name tags, energetic kids, and tired volunteers in matching shirts.
That’s right; it’s Vacation Bible School time. To help you prepare for what’s coming, here are eight things every church can expect to happen at VBS.
1. The Early Arrival.
Vacation Bible School at your church will start at 6 p.m. That start time will be on every one of the 13,000 signs you put up around the community.
Your start time will be spread all across social media. The guy in your church who does skywriting will even cut you a good deal and put “VBS! 6 p.m.!” in the sky for the entire county to see.
And someone will show up to your church ready for VBS at 4:30 p.m.
He’ll have a name like Spider Millwood. You’ll have no idea where he came from, how he got to your church, and when or if he’ll ever leave.
2. The Hand Motions.
There’ll be a lot of songs being sung. Most of the songs will center around whatever the theme of your VBS happens to be.
And these songs will have hand motions. I mean lots of hand motions.
You won’t have the first clue how to do these hand motions. People will laugh at you trying to do the hand motions.
Don’t even try to look cool. Just jump in and do your best to lead the way for these kids who are looking up to you.
3. The Fight!
There’ll be a fight at your VBS. There’s no avoiding this. Just pray it’s not between one of the adult volunteers and the guy who runs the snow cone machine with a strict “one cone per person” policy.
Most likely, the fight will be over music. Aren’t most church fights? In this case, it’ll be over who gets to play the bongos in music class. Every kid wants to play the bongos.
But, sadly, every church in America has it somewhere in their bylaws there can only be one set of bongos on the church grounds. Therefore, most kids will be stuck with metal triangles, wooden sticks, and blocks of sandpaper that they have to rub together.
On a side note, whose idea was it to make sandpaper a musical instrument? But back to my point: Kids will fight for the bongos.
Spider Millwood will win that fight.
Count on it.
4. The Energy Dump.
By about Wednesday, you’ll start to wonder if you have some terrible disease. You’ll have less energy than you’ve ever had in your life. You won’t have the will to go on.
Don’t worry. Nothing is wrong with you.
You’re just suffering from CCSF (Chronic Christian Service Fatigue). The disease is triggered by loud kids, high temperatures, and too many ring cookies.
A drug named Stopscreemingy’all is currently being tested and it promises to offer hope to the millions of sufferers of this terrible disease.
5. The Runners.
Kids will be running in the hallways of your church. They’ll be running around your church. They’ll be running everywhere. And Spider Millwood will always be leading the charge. Always.
At some point, Spider and his followers will fly by Mr. Crenshaw who goes by Rutabaga for short. Well, Rutabaga will yell that classic church line as kids runs by: “You boys quit running! This is God’s house.”
6. The Late Departure.
You’ll put the same effort into getting the word out about the end time of VBS as you did announcing the start time. Social media, signs, and skywriting will all testify it’s 8 p.m. sharp.
But none of that will keep that one kid from not being picked up on time. And that one kid will be, you guessed it, Spider Millwood.
Each day, the pick-up time for Spider will be just a little later than the day before.
7. The Bad Pastoral Fashion.
The Sunday after VBS is over, all of the kids and workers will show up in their lavender VBS shirts. Not wanting to miss out on all of the fun, the senior pastor will also wear a VBS shirt.
This might seem harmless at first, but he’ll wear it over his dress shirt and tie. Nothing says, “I’m a pastor,” quite like the VBS t-shirt and suit combo. Please do not let your pastor make this mistake.
8. You Will Make It—And It Will Be Worth It.
The week will come to an end. You’ll eventually move on from the struggles of VBS while cherishing the good times. School will start back. The leaves will begin to change colors. Summer temperatures will be replaced by cooler fall weather that will eventually lead into Christmas.
And you may just find that Spider and the rest of the Millwood family are now sitting in the front rows of your church—as baby Christians and new members.
Don’t grow weary of doing good this VBS season. It’s worth it.
Jay is the senior pastor of Towaliga Baptist Church in Jackson, Ga.