Many, many, many years have passed since Vacation Bible School was named Vacation Bible School, and I have no idea why they named it that. Kids don't love school. They like it and learn to enjoy some aspects of it because they have to be there, but reality is reality and if given a choice, they would not choose school. So why call it Vacation Bible SCHOOL? What is VBS anyway? Sure, there are Bible stories or studies, but for the most part there are games, songs, snacks, and crafts. Why not call it Bible CAMP? Sure sounds more fun that Bible school.
And speaking of camp, why not have any number of camps to serve a number of populations throughout the summer? If you really want to reach out to your community, try having different camps throughout the summer.
- Kids Camp (formerly known as VBS) - They usually have a fun and catchy name that changes every year.
- Joy Camp - For those with disabilities. Not every congregation may be able to do something like this, but if you can, I'm sure it would be a great blessing.
- Sage Camp - For the older set. This would be great if you could provide transportation for some people in assisted living as well as those in your congregation. Give them a special time-out from their regular lives. Sing songs, do crafts, and have Bible studies. Want to give them a really great time? Let them sing songs from their youth!
- Spiritual Gifts Camp - Learn about personal spiritual gifts, but take it one or two steps further and work with others in the community to find places to use your gifts outside the church building and throughout the community. Whatever the gift, teach them how to incorporate it into their daily lives. (Try Uniquely You!)
- Dads & Sons (or Moms & Daughters) Camp - Incorporate sharing beliefs into the activities. It is incredibly important for parents to be able to casually talk about what they believe and why they believe it with their children, and the most important role model for a child is their same sex parent.
- What do I believe and why? Teen Camp - In this wacky world where things don't make sense and people are attacking Christian beliefs from all sides, knowing how to communicate what do you believe and why you believe it is incredibly important. You don't have to defend it or convince the world that you are right, you just need to know for yourself and be there if/when somebody needs you to share it.
- Parenting Teenagers Camp - How many people in your congregation wouldn't love this? Find a good program that gives good advice. It could be set up so that it's a lot of fun!
Pick a topic and turn it into a camp!
Pick a population in your community, find something that will help them, and turn it into a camp!