July 17 – VBS as a 22nd Century Investment

VBS 04
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

The youngest kids among the 120 or so who will be a part of this year’s VBS at LPC are four years old. The oldest are 12 or 13. Even without anticipating much change in life expectancy, we will be well into the 22nd Century when many of these children are old.

Let the techno-buffs and the futurists debate what that 22nd world may bring. We can barely imagine what may be, and there is not a whole lot we can say for certain. Utopia or dystopia, who knows? There’s one thing we can know for sure: it will be a world seasoned with the salt of the gospel, illuminated by the good works of those who are following Jesus. We know for sure because of VBS. More precisely because of what VBS represents.  VBS represents the promise of faithful parents and a supporting church to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The familiar Proverb is more descriptive than it is prescriptive. That is, it doesn’t prescribe a precise technique with a guaranteed result, so much as it describes an observable reality. It drives us more to prayer than to self-help books. To paraphrase the hymn, “Early let them seek God’s favor, early let them do God’s will.”

The researchers confirm the biblical wisdom. Studies show that nearly two-thirds of all Christians who remain Christians in their adult years became Christians as children or youth. Children trained up in the way they should go.

Those of us who work with our confirmation students (generally ninth graders) often hear of the importance of Vacation Bible School in faith formation.

Those of us who watch young people emerging into full adulthood with a vital Christian faith usually see the presence of faithful, Christ-obedient parents as the single most important factor in nurturing in their children a faith from which they will not depart. The sort of parents who pray with their children, provide family devotions, and, yes, register them for (and volunteer in!) Vacation Bible School.

From the registration table to the craft room, snack time to Bible lessons, games to singing, the 65 adults who will help make VBS a wonderful success are also investing in the well-being of the second half of the 21st and the early years of the 22nd Century world. Kids who hear about Jesus at VBS, some who make a commitment to him this coming week, are going to find a faith from which they will not depart, a faith that will see them through the confusing times of emerging adulthood and into their lives of discipleship – as salt of the earth and light of the world, Jesus said.

Trained up in the way they should go, they will not depart from it.

So, this week prayers for Kay, Ed, and Tara – our amazing leaders – that they will lead in the ways that Christ would have them go. Prayers for all our faithful workers, that they will reflect the love and grace of Christ in all they do. Prayers for each child and each home from which they come. Prayers that the Good Shepherd will lead them – early let them seek his favor, early let them do his will.

See You Sunday