Shockingly, during my 11 years as LifeWay's VBS Ministry Specialist, I have had way too many conversations with VBS teachers who either minimize Bible study time or leave it out all together.
If VBS does nothing else it must teach God's Word - and not just the passages that admonish us to be kind to one another. Otherwise, VBS is no different from a school lesson on values, behavior, or the importance of having good character. When you take God's Word out of VBS you are left with a lesson plan that could be easily accepted and taught in any public school district in America. What a tremendous waste of time and resources.
Day 1 of your VBS may be the one and only time a child has the opportunity to hear the Word of God. Please don't waste the moment with a lesson that is void of God's Word. Leave secular values education to the secular classroom.
There are many Bible school curriculums to choose from. Nearly all of them are colorful, have a fun theme, and are attractive to kids and leaders alike, BUT they are not all alike. In some instances the only connection to the Bible is in the title Vacation Bible School. In other instances the Bible is used only to the extent a few random verses are used to give Scriptural credibility to a lesson on how to be a good neighbor or friend.
Vacation Bible School gives us the opportunity to teach about the One True God. VBS gives us the opportunity to teach about God's love, mercy, and forgiveness. VBS gives us the opportunity to teach that we have all sinned (as politically incorrect as that thought might be) and as a result the relationship God created us for is broken. VBS gives us the opportunity to teach that God is a God of second chances and that there is forgiveness through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.
VBS - your VBS this summer - might be the one and only chance a kid, teen, or adult might have to hear and accept the truth of the life-changing Word of God. What will you teach at your VBS?
VBS must proclaim the gospel.