Every year when I edit the grammar and style of the VBS material, I pause over the paragraphs about making VBS your own and smile.
These sections tell you that you don't have to use VBS curriculum just as it's written, but can adjust it to fit your schedule, age groups, number of teachers, and any other needs you have.
And I smile because I know so many people who already do this so well. From stories of a helicopter landing at one Agency D3 this year to the rumor of a VBS villain trying to stomp out truth until he was thwarted by a Special Agent who had come to teach the kids the real truth, I know that so many of you get this concept so well!
One of my favorite examples is my home church where my dad pastors, Witt Baptist Church in Morristown TN. Every year, regardless of the theme, the kids most look forward to the giant cardboard slide. Someone with access to a lot of cardboard at work brings it every year, enough to cover the huge hill in front of the church, with a few more pieces to use as sleds. It's better than a snow day if you can believe some of their faces. This wouldn't work at any other church in the community, because no one else has that generous person who works with a lot of cardboard, not to mention a giant hill to put it on. But rather than cutting it out because it didn't match the theme, the church decided to make it a tradition.
There are other things churches do, from hosting VBS every Wednesday night for five weeks because of a hectic summer schedule, to serving supper instead of snacks to help kids who usually depend on school lunches, to using one master teacher for all 6 elementary grades because of the unique skills of a church member; that make each VBS special and different.
It's easy to fall into a rut of wanting everything to come about just like the checklist in your Administrative Guide or Leader Guide says it should. But with a little flexibility and an openness to letting the DNA of your church and community shine through your VBS, I think you'll open up more room for God to move and work.
And it might just be a ton of fun!
How do you make your VBS fun and different? How is it tailored to the needs of your church and community? We'd love to hear about it in the comments!