News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 1, 2013

THE JOY LADY: Because Vacation Bible School is that important!

Verna Davis
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — It’s that time of year again — Vacation Bible School time. Frazzled VBS directors are begging for teachers, song leaders and kitchen helpers. For VBS directors everywhere, let me offer some words of truth and encouragement.

The truth is, church people will complain about VBS. A lot. Some will say VBS is too time consuming. After all, committing to do something EVERY day for a WEEK takes up sooo much time. VBS is too expensive, others will say. Still others will say the kids today are too jaded and won’t learn anything. Yet others will say VBS is way too messy. After all, the building needs to remain nice and neat and clean all day every day in case someone comes in the building. The kids will make too much mess and require too much work to keep the church building spotless. Directors, stay clear of those who think VBS is too much.

Another truth is that no matter what you do or don’t do, there will be at least 10 people who think you should have done things differently. They will gladly share with other willing VBS volunteers all the things that you are doing wrong, and then, when they have gathered a good head of steam, they will let you know EXACTLY how they feel. Chances are, they won’t care where they drop their load of criticism, nor will they care who else hears what they think of you. Directors, tread carefully around those with venomous tongues.

Yet another truth is that the kitchen seems to be a hot bed of criticism. There is one camp that wants to use store-bought cookies and Kool-Aid. There is another camp that wants the snack to be a continuation of the lesson. Neither camp has much compassion for the other camp, and absolutely no regard for who gets caught in the middle. Deep cuts and severe wounds have been inflicted on many an unsuspecting VBS director who accidentally wandered into the kitchen. Directors, beware of being sighted in the refreshment cross-hairs.

As for that word of encouragement, never forget that VBS is more than volunteers, crafts, songs, games and refreshments. VBS is about children. They may be loud and messy, they may cry and whine, and they definitely don’t like to sit still. Yet, VBS is all about them.

I know because during the summer of 1951, a neighbor asked my 6-year old sister to go to VBS at his church. She loved it! My parents attended the VBS closing program — the first time my parents had attended church since their wedding. Something happened to my family because of that VBS, and by the time school started, my sister, parents, grandparents, and an aunt and uncle had become Christians. I was born the following February, and I have never known a summer without a VBS.

So, directors, may you weather the storm of criticism, become immune to the adult whiners, and suffer the little children to come to the Jesus of VBS. Who knows — you might be witnessing to a future column-writer!

And one more thing, VBS directors: know that I will be praying for you. Each of you. Every day. All summer. Because VBS is that important!

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, maybe reached at