Even more recently the typical VBS was 10 days. While I do not personally remember attending a 10-day school I know many people who did.
A four week or 10-day school provided the luxury of time we no longer enjoy. Can you imagine what Bible truths you could teach if you had 60 hours? Or even 30?
Like far too much of life, VBS is often described as a rush. A VBS leader recently lamented, "We rush kids to worship rally so we can rush them to Bible study. Then we rush them to crafts so we can rush them home."
Today, at best, we have 15 hours to do all the things that make VBS not only educational but fun and entertaining. (An evening Bible school typically included only 10 hours.) With this limited amount of time we have to make sure every minute counts and every activity is connected to the Biblical emphasis for the day.
I recently shared during a training session that even snack time needs to be used to reinforce the Biblical truth for the day. One leader replied that her church does not use the snacks suggested by LifeWay so they do not try to connect the snack to the Bible story. I reminder her that it is not the snack that is important but what is done with the time while the snack is being served and eaten.
As many of you know, my all-time favorite VBS snack is fruit punch and butter cookies (the kind shaped like a flower with a hole in the middle). Nothing fancy or even theme related about this snack, but the time allotted for the snack is still a perfect time for a review of the lesson, the sharing of life application points, or work on Scripture memorization.
I often hear that recreation leaders want to choose their own activities instead of using the games that connect to the theme and Biblical truth. Again, no problem as long as rec leaders connect their games to the daily theme.
Too often we enlist workers without stressing that every thing that happens during VBS - from the moment the kids arrives until they return home - must be connected to the Biblical content for the week and each day. Failing to insure that crafts, recreation, snacks and music connect to Scripture is a lost opportunity that will never be retrieved.
Back when VBS leaders needed to fill 60 hours it might have been fine to play a game or sing a song that was not relevant to the content, but not when we only have 10 to 15 hours. Help your workers see the value of every minute and the lost opportunity of not connecting everything - even snacks - to Scripture.