Travel with me back to the year 1894 to a small town in Hopedale, Illinois. A Sunday School teacher and public school teacher by the name of D.T. Miles felt that having one hour of Sunday School each Sunday was not enough time to adequately teach the Bible to children. To remedy this problem, she started a daily Bible school to teach children during the summer. The first one enrolled 40 students and lasted four weeks, being held in a local school which was used for classes and a nearby park used for recess.
In 1898 Eliza Hawes, children’s department director at Epiphany Baptist Church in New York City, started an “Everyday Bible School for slum children in a rented beer parlor in New York’s East Side. Hawes continued her efforts for seven years.
Dr. Robert Boville of the Baptist Mission Society, became aware of the Hawes’ summer program and recommended it to other Baptist churches. Boville established a handful of summer schools which were taught by students at the Union Theological Seminary. During one summer, one thousand students were enrolled in five different schools. In 1922, he founded the World Association of Daily Vacation Bible School.
One year later, Standard Publishing produced the very first printed VBS curriculum. Enough material was provided for a five-week course for three age levels (kindergarten, primary, and junior).
Today, Vacation Bible School (VBS) is practiced by most every church all over the country! For one week during the summer, children of all different ages come together for missions, crafts, recreation, puppets, snacks, and Bible stories to help them engage and learn about our Savior, Jesus Christ! For many children, this may be the only time during the year where this concentrated effort of hearing about Jesus takes place. Each of us have to be aware of where our children are.
At our church (Boone’s Creek Baptist Church) we are starting our Vacation Bible School this week under the theme “Big Apple Adventure: Where Faith and Life Connect.” Please pray for our children that come in in the morning and our teens that show up in the evening; pray for our workers that God would use them mightily; and pray we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as we pray God draws many to Christ.
What about your VBS?