a reflection by Susan Kleinwechter

Some people consider that VBS is just a program that we do for our kids – for the kids whose families regularly worship with us, and the kids who attend our preschool, and their friends, and the kids in the nearby neighborhoods. And it is. But for some kids who attend, VBS IS church, and St Martin’s is their church because of it.

Let that sink in – VBS IS church.

There’s plenty of talk in the blogosphere about how younger people form community in non-traditional ways through a church, and in deeply important ways. Often we think that happens elsewhere.

It happens here, too.

Corrie Cabes, our church’s education director, describes it.

Last summer, a third grade boy told me that he had been coming to St. Martin’s– “his church” every summer for “lots of years.”  He said that he only comes for Vacation Bible School but that this is “his church.”  He used to go to preschool at St. Martin’s when he was younger and he really looks forward to coming back to learn about God every year.  I invited him to come more often and told that we have lots of things going on every Sunday.  I haven’t seen him yet, but I look forward to seeing his bright smile as he talks about “his church.”

Each summer we fling open the doors of our church and get ready for fun and games and stories and crafts and music. We set our hearts toward evangelism and prepare our VBS staff to deliver a message. Most of the time we see it as a big program, and think nothing deeper about it.

But now that you’ve read this young boy’s story, rethink. We’re not running a program. VBS is community. People belong. God is there. People worship. VBS is church.