Many christian educators are enthusiastic about summer opportunities for church education. According to Wayne Buchanan, executive director of the National Sunday School Association, “summer is one of the brightest prospects we have for Christian education. Children and youth have more time than during the school year. Their availability for longer and more frequent periods of time in church educational activities greatly enhances the potential of their Christian learning experiences.”

“Innovative” is the adjective that best describes many church programs in the summer months. Among the areas of experimentation are vacation Bible school, service projects for youth, camping, and evangelistic efforts.

Some churches hold vacation Bible school in the evenings, others have it in the mornings and afternoons, and still others have morning sessions for children and evening sessions for youth and adults. In many churches, evening programs for young people include recreation, Bible study, films, discussions, and refreshments—often under a name other than “vacation Bible school.” Mothers’ classes with special appeal to non-Christians have been an effective evangelistic tool in VBS. Some schools have been conducted much like a daycamping program, with daily field trips to points of interest, along with Bible study and crafts.

Another novel and fruitful idea is having the school in neighborhood backyards. Last summer, workers from the Racine, Wisconsin, Bible Church held VBS in twenty-one backyards throughout the city. Attendance soared from the traditional 300 in the former at-church VBS to 840, most of whom were unchurched. Harvey Martin, director of Christian education, reported 125 conversions compared with 12 the previous year.

The traditional ...

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