I grew up going to three vacation Bible schools (VBS) at three different churches. It gave me a chance to make friends all over and really learn the songs.
VBS has been a part of me for as long as I can remember, but there are certain things that only happen to someone who either grew up in VBS or works it.
1. You won't always like the theme
I've dealt with my fair share of themes that I hated. When worst comes to worst, it's just a week.
2. The songs getting stuck in your head
Say you hate the songs. Say it over and over and refuse to sing along. I dare you.
Because I promise by the end of the week they'll be the only things going through your head. They'll haunt you at night. You'll sing them in the shower. So, say you hate the songs. That doesn't change the fact that you'll know every single word.
3. The choreographed dances
When I was in VBS, I hated learning the dances. I felt so stupid.
Now that I'm a leader, I love looking like an idiot while doing the silly dances. It makes the kids feel more comfortable. And, again, you'll be doing the dances for weeks to come.
4. Craft time = stickers
My favorite crafts always included stickers. And when I became a leader, that meant letting the kids put stickers on my face to make them laugh. As long as there are stickers, I'm down.
5. The messy crafts
You know when they break out the paint, and everyone has to wash their hands and it takes seven years? Or when they give the preschoolers glitter and somehow you're cleaning that up for the next century? Those messy crafts.
6. The Bible story comes to life
We all had someone in our church dress up like Jesus to act out the Bible story. The actors really got into it, or they really didn't care. There was no in between.
7. Bonding with the kids
There are kids that I have known for the past six years of being a leader. There are some kids that I've just met this year. Each bond is special to me. I love getting to make those friendships with the kids, and I love getting to know them throughout the week.
8. Extra snacking
When you're a kid in VBS, you get the snacks they give you. When you're a leader at VBS, you get those snacks and more. There's a whole world of snacks in the kitchen that you never knew about. And you can eat them whenever you want to.
9. Making fun of the videos
The videos are the silliest things, closely followed by the dancing. No one really talks like that.
Where do they find the people for these? How much are they paid?
10. "Where do they find these dancers?"
And how much are they being paid to dance like weirdos? ... And how can I apply?
11. The puppet
Each theme comes with its own puppet. You eventually hit a level where it doesn't even strike you as weird anymore.
12. Boys vs. girls competitions
Each year we have competitions to see who can bring in more money: the boys or the girls.
If the girls win, a boy leader gets a pie in the face. If the boys win, a girl leader does. It's a good way to spike competition, and it makes memories. I even got a pie in my face one year (congrats, boys).
13. The bright colored shirts
They're always too big, too bright and have some big, obnoxious logo that didn't make sense to anyone outside of VBS. I love it.
14. Those "VBS only" friends
They're the friends whose numbers you get. And you swear you're going to keep in touch the rest of the year, but you don't. And then you see each other next year, and it's like no time passed at all.
Plus, they understand everything you do about VBS. These are great relationships.
To an outsider, vacation Bible school may sound weird. But to me, it sounds like the best week of summer.
I love helping with VBS, and I love the friendships that I have made through VBS. There is nothing else I would rather do for the week. VBS is not only in my heart, it's in my blood.