Below Kaitlin writes about the 2015 Higher Things® VBS program. You can still order a copy of in our online store.
We sang the Te Deum. We spoke the Apostle's Creed. We learned about Christ and Him crucified. We fell down and scraped our knees because we were overly rambunctious and tried to climb six-feet fences. You know... the usual.
But, most notably, we received Jesus.
It's important to note that we received Jesus at VBS, I think, because, well, not every church gives their VBS... Jesus. That's right. You heard me correctly. They say that the kids are too young to understand. Children? They need to be entertained. They can't learn the Te Deum. It's too long. They're only five! I could go on and on about other arguments that nobody buys... But, that's just it. Nobody will buy them.
Our Savior's VBS wasn't your typical VBS. We used the Higher Things® VBS curriculum, "Te Deum." The topics got pretty heavy at times. But, they're kids. They're used to hitting each other over the head with their Toyota trucks and poking each other in the eyes with their Barbie dolls. If anything, they're tough. They can take it.
Because of our curriculum, the kids held bags of crafts that reminded them of their baptisms. Their voices were sore from singing hymns that gave them Jesus Christ risen for them. They sat through Bible stories that pointed them back to a life-giving tree. And not once did they complain that any part of the curriculum was too much for them. Instead, they left VBS each night, knowing that they're poor and miserable sinners, but thanking God that they have a great and merciful Savior who forgave them of all of their sins by washing them with His water and blood.
Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray that your VBS used the same curriculum or a similar one because if you didn't, well, what are you giving your children for that week? Are you giving them entertainment? Laughter? Songs with the same chorus over and over... and over? If so, that's great and all, but where's Jesus? It doesn't really sit well with me to know that other VBS participants around the country choose to have a two-hour daycare center instead of a two-hour hospital for sinners in need of a Savior.
Let's be real here. Jesus does not justify sin for an 8-year-old in unbelief by saying, "Hey, kiddo. Don't worry about it. It's okay." Sin is never okay. Jesus defends sinners by wiping out sin. He shatters it dead. He stabs it with nails and polishes it with lashes in the anguish and gory sweat of His own body. He does not spare it or pat it on the back. He dies for it. He does not liberate revolt by anyone--even by the younger crowd. In the forgiveness bought with His blood, He absolves the revolting of all so that in His words and by His actions revolting meets its fate, and sinners are absolved.
So, go. Let kids be kids. Let them be loud, cry over lost Legos and snort obnoxiously. Let them spill their juice on top of their pizzas and let them overly hug the cute girl in the ponytails three pews down. But, for their sake, let them receive Jesus. They're sinners--just like you and me. And they're in need of a Savior. Let them know this so that they can rejoice with us as we joyfully sing to that very Savior we all share, "We praise You and acknowledge You, O God, to be the Lord, The Father everlasting, by all the earth adored, To You all angel powers cry aloud, the heavens sing, The cherubim and seraphim their praises to You bring: 'O holy, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth; Your majesty and glory fill the heavens and the earth!'"
Kaitlin Jandereski is a future deaconess. She currently lives in a small town called Bad Axe, Michigan.
The Higher Things® Bread of Life 2016 Vacation Bible School (VBS) focuses on the Sacrament of the Altar in which Jesus gives us His true body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. Lining up Bible stories that reinforce the catechism, the "Bread of Life" VBS serves as a great introduction to this special gift of Jesus in a way that is appropriate even for younger children.
Find out more and order at http://higherthings.org/vbs.