A Day at D. V. B. S.
How would you like to come with me to see how a Vacation Bible School is conducted? Seldom are two schools conducted exactly alike, but obviously we do not have time in one article to visit them all. Instead, we will make this a composite picture, incorporating interesting and desirable features from a number of places of the writer’s experience.
As we drive down the road leading to the Sunday School building, the children are already wending their way toward the same place. Most are carrying Bibles and many have work books or other study material provided by the teacher.
Those cheery faces and the happy waves of the hand extended to us show that these youngsters are not attending Bible School under duress. Without exception they are delighted to be going to another session.
Do you notice those two girls walking side by side? The younger one is only five years old and her big sister is proudly bringing her for the first time. In this particular school only those of school age are enrolled, because in previous years their facilities were overtaxed by little toddlers who obviously were sent only because mother wanted them out of her way for a couple of hours.
Watch that car pulling up to the front of the building! A teacher is arriving with three children. No! Not three! Six more come tumbling out from the back seat. The oldest girl in the group explains that she and her brother came to the Vacation Bible School last year, but during the winter her family moved to a new housing development two miles away.
The children were so eager to get to Bible School this year also that the teacher arranged to pick them up. It really was not far off her usual route. In turn, these youngsters rounded up six of their chums and a younger brother to come too.
Children are not encouraged to come too early, but promptly at 9.30 a.m. the audience is called to order. The next fifteen minutes are spent in singing bright choruses and Gospel hymns.
Between songs the leader opens in prayer. Incidently, did you notice that he was short and to the point? He has learned that long sermonized prayers tend to weary the children and create a restless atmosphere.
At 9.45 the children move off to their class rooms, with others of their age group. There the teacher goes over the memory verse for the day, conducts a short peppy quiz of the lessons taught previously, and then brines the new lesson to the class.
One teacher uses flannel-graph, another a blackboard, while a third is adept at telling a graphic story. In short, each one uses the method for which she feels most fitted and which suits the age and temperament of her group.
The Bible is given a prominent place, with the children reading a passage of Scripture together at the start of the lesson. They also are encouraged to look up references in the course of their class study.
The younger children are dismissed for recess at 10.10 a.m., so they may line up for orange drink and biscuits before the older scholars come along about 10.15. The movement of the tiny feet, by the way, is the hint to the other teachers that their dismissal bell will be ringing in five minutes.
At 10.30 the bell brings a halt to the refreshment time and play period, with the boys and girls returning to their respective classes. The next thirty minutes are devoted to crafts or some form of hand work.
Observe how the teachers loosen the reins of discipline somewhat, but still keep a steadying hand to prevent the class from becoming rowdy or noisy to the distraction of other groups.
At 10.55 a warning bell is the signal for all craft work to stop. Five minutes is just enough to get things cleared up and put away neatly until the next day.
At 11.00 a.m. the bell rings again and the children march in an orderly fashion, class by class, to resume their place in the main auditorium.
A kindly, “No running, boys,” or a restraining, “Take it easy, no shoving!” is usually sufficient to control over-eager youngsters.
A short hymn or song and a brief word of prayer make way for the speaker to bring his story message to the whole group. This lesson, as is the case with the ones given in individual classes, is centred around a Bible verse and is related to the lessons of the previous mornings.
In a kind and sincere way, the speaker closes his remarks with an appeal to the children to give heed to the words that have been spoken, and to make the Lord Jesus their personal Saviour. No emotional stir or pressure is used, however.
The director gives a few announcements, mentions the attendance figures for the day, and then closes the day’s session with prayer.
The children are now on their way home by 11.35 a.m., in good time for lunch and an afternoon of play. One is convinced that many of these young hearts will retain deep and lasting impressions. God has promised the sowing of good seed will result in fruit unto eternal life.
Honestly now, doesn’t that day at Vacation Bible School beget within you a sincere desire to become engaged in such a worth-while activity for the Lord?
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23 - 24).