Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 23, 1960

Let's Do Some More Thinking On Vacation Bible Schools

Robert W. Goodman, Cleveland, Texas

For years this writer has conducted "Vacation Bible Schools." In the past, he relied heavily on the ideas of others in this field. However, in recent years, he has become convinced that we have followed the denominations too much. Here are some of the reasons for this statement:

1. Terminology. In advertising and promotion, the same language as the denominations use will be used. The efforts are referred to as Daily Vacation Bible Schools or D.V.B.S. Often buttons prepared by denominations will be used. We are not saying this term is unscriptural, but it puts our efforts on a denominational level in the minds of others.

2. Material. Often brethren will use denominational literature because they feel it is more effective. I agree some material has not been of the highest calibre but how can we teach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth with denominational material? How can it be more effective in the main goal of teaching the truth and bringing all unto conformity to it in all things?

Also, why was most of the material for years set up for a ten day school when most of the brethren had a five day school? Some of the denominations were conducting ten day schools.

3. Refreshments and recreation. Why do many offer soft drinks and cookies and planned recreation during the recess period? Not many churches of Christ do this on Sunday and surely not many would defend it. Not only is this not scriptural, it is not educationally sound.

4. Crafts and unrelated handwork. What scriptural justification can be offered for the church teaching and paying for leather and plastic crafts, for metal and woodworking, etc? If it is a Bible school, why not study the Bible?

5. Songs are used in vacation Bible schools that brethren do not use any other time. Some are more suitable for school, scouts, or service clubs. If we worship God when we sing in a Bible school, why not use songs of reverence, adoration, and edification.

6. Women participating in the closing program. Our sisters are often active publicly in the closing programs of summer Bible schools. They do not have this prerogative at other services. Have we found some new teaching in the Bible, or have we been following the Baptists again? They will call on women to lead in prayer in the worship. Will we follow this, too?

Let no one say we are opposed to studying the Bible during the school vacation. Such is a good idea. What we would like to see is more thinking, planning and working in harmony with New Testament teaching. Let us plan for ourselves what will best carry out the divine purposes.

For the past two or three years we have assisted in summer Bible schools at night. Here are some advantages to this arrangement:

1. It helps solve the transportation problem.

2. It is a time when the whole family can attend. Men are often left out of special Bible classes. As heads of the families, they should have more Bible teaching.

3. Visitors will have an opportunity to attend and be taught every night, not simply entertained at a closing program.

4. It eliminates the need for recess and the demand from the more worldly for refreshments and recreation.

5. More are able to teach at this time and they have more time to get ready for their classes.

6. Every session is devoted to teaching. The last session is not disturbed by rehearsal for the closing program.

7. It is cooler. The advantage of this is obvious to the church without air conditioning. It will mean less expense to the church with air conditioning.

If the church can afford it, visiting speakers will be helpful, especially in the adult classes. It is not too late to have a Bible school in August. We urge you to try one of this type with some of the new five day material. We believe you will like it.