Vacation Bible School too much for youngins?

by Joshua McNary on July 12, 2011

As you may have heard on Episode #2 if The Parental Office podcast, my wife & I have been trying to include our oldest boy (almost 3 years old) in more and more Church sponsored and formed devotional activities. Vacation Bible Schools around the country are currently underway and my Church’s is next week (still time to sign up if you are in Eastern Iowa).  We are planning to include our toddler all five days… but is he ready or able and should he attend?

Over at Steadfast Lutherans, they had a post yesterday noting one Church’s liturgical-based VBS program (interesting read in and of itself), in which they stated they have stopped doing VBS for the youngest children:

“We have also cut out some classes for the youngest children and that has helped bring a spirit of calm as well. “

Later in a comment there is some clarification:

“Yes, we no longer have classes for the 3-year-olds. We found it counter-productive to the idea of Vacation Bible SCHOOL to have children coming in who hadn’t even been to preschool yet. Also, there is a group of folks in our area who like to use the churches’ VBS programs for summer day care – particularly for their littles.”

My wife (see her devotional site for women) actually picked up on this thread and commented:

“My oldest is almost 3 years old and I’m trying to work with him on the readings and songs before we go to VBS next week – so he can hopefully focus more on learning and less on the new experience.”

And finally another comment states:

“At our church we do accept 3 year old VBS students. They do hear and learn the Bible stories, and we think that that is great. Often their families start bringing them for daycare, more or less, but bring them back year after year and they learn more and more about the faith that way.”

I suppose I am with my wife on this one at this point; let’s try it and attempt to expose the Word & faith in Christ’s saving work every way we can, even when young.  Plus a little “preparing” the little guys is good for them and us to better understand what serious stuff is being taught between the fun and games at VBS.

The flip side is, as I suggested in the podcast this week, are we overdoing it? By doing so are we really in fact just showing our faithlessness in a God who bestows grace on us and our children through Christ? Or are we doing exactly what we were commanded to do by Scriptures in our Parental Office?  Where do we draw the line between Law (action) and Gospel (faith) in such cases?

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