“May they serve you in nurturing the spiritual growth off all who are entrusted in their care. Bless each one gathered here, enabling them to be channels of your grace…”
This summer thousands of churches will be actively engaging the children in their community by teaching them songs and Bible verses, and sending them home each day with a taste of God’s Love.
Churches leading VBS are also forming the adults and teens who volunteer. Recognizing those who lead the children during their daily camp is an important aspect of the ministry of church camp. Send your volunteers into the glittery fray, reminding them that they do important work on behalf of everyone in your congregation!
Prayer for Blessing and Commissioning Vacation Bible School
The Blessing below is from Centre Street United Methodist Church, Cumberland, MD.
Prayer (said by all)
Loving God, you have entrusted us with the message of your power, grace, justice, and love. We ask for your guidance, that we may be teachers and learners together. Believing that you are in our midst, we set apart those who would serve in our Vacation Bible School. May they serve you in nurturing the spiritual growth of all who are entrusted in their care. Bless each one gathered here, enabling them to be channels of your grace. We pray all these things through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Pastor to VBS Teachers and Helpers:
You have recognized God’s call in your lives.
Will you endeavor to develop your gifts for teaching so as to continue to pass on the
Christian faith?Will you be faithful to the task, taking seriously the commitment of time and talent?Will you take seriously your role as learner, studying diligently the Scriptures and VBS lessons for each day?
VBS Teachers and Helpers:
We have heard God’s call to teach and lead Vacation Bible School for our church.
We teach, trusting in God’s support, sustaining grace and empowerment for this task.
We teach, relying on prayer and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We teach, inviting others to recognize and respond to God’s call in their lives.
We teach, depending on our church family to uphold us in prayer, love and support.
All say: Amen!
‘Family vacation.’ The words conjure up images of lazy days at the lakeshore, campfires with roasted marshmallows, sleepy kids sharing rooms. Road trips full of car games and laughter, stops at quirky gas stations and just the right snacks. Sightseeing and creating memories – enough for a lifetime.
Often those sweet pictures in our head don’t quite match up with the reality of a family vacation. Vacations can be stressful, taking us out of well-developed routines and throwing us at the mercy of compromise. Our kids may spend the trip bickering and scowling, or overtired and cranky. Those well-placed gas stations you imagined might be too little (and sometimes show up too late). Delicate family situations or re-surfacing disagreements can put a damper on fun.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
As the mom to three kids ages four and under, I SO understand that there are moments on vacation when you are not giving thanks, joy is hard-pressed, and prayer may not be what’s being muttered under your breath. But friends, God is right there with you!
Does that mean your vacation will be perfect? Probably not. Does that mean there will be golden moments of beauty mixed right into the chaos that follows your family? You bet!
With open hearts and an open road, let’s share the love of Christ to all those whom we encounter this summer, not forgetting to include our family among them.
Please bless this time of vacation. Help my family to get along, to enjoy one another. Maybe toss a couple of those idyllic imagined scenes into our path? May we be able to see the wonder You instill within the chaos of our days – whether we vacation near or far away from home.
On this everyday, normal day that’s somehow still outside of our regular routine, help me to embrace my family, this time of vacation, and the ordinary yet extraordinary gifts You’ve given. Open my eyes to see that vacation will end but the memories of it will remain, and give me the strength to make them sweet. Pour some of that strength into my very being and bring me through to the end of vacation with a thankful heart and unceasing praise.
This article originally appeared on DaySpring.com. Used with permission. For even more inspirational articles, shareable Ecards and hundreds of Christian tools and resources, check out DaySpring.com today!
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/DarrinKlimek
Publication date: June 23, 2017
May 21st is the 2017 National Day of Prayer for Vacation Bible School.
Each year, the third Sunday of May is set aside as a day for churches to ask God to move through this thing we call Vacation Bible School. It is a time for churches to pray not only for their own VBS, but also for the ones taking place down the street and across the globe.
VBS remains one of the top evangelistic outreaches of the church, resulting in more than 75,000 professions of faith annually in the Southern Baptist Convention alone. Additionally, each year during VBS thousands of kids, teens, and adults respond to the calling of God on their lives and make public a decision to pursue a career in ministry or missions. Many of today’s church leaders, pastors, missionaries, and teachers share a similar testimony. VBS is important work! And it’s one we must undergird with prayer.
Here are six specific things you and your church can pray for as we observe together the National Day of Prayer for VBS.
- Ask for God’s blessing over your church’s VBS and all who will be involved.
- Pray for the teachers, volunteers, and workers who will serve during VBS. Ask God to receive their hours of preparation as a pleasing offering and for the Holy Spirit to be at work in and through them.
- Pray for the children who will attend VBS and the families they represent. Ask God to begin preparing their hearts to respond to the Good News they will hear at VBS. Pray for their physical safety and emotional well-being during the week.
- Pray for those who are unchurched in your community who will join your church for VBS. Ask God to soften your own heart and the hearts of your congregation to welcome, serve, and build relationships with everyone who enters your doors.
- Pray for those who will share the gospel during VBS and those who will follow-up with children, students, adults, and families. Ask the Holy Spirit to give them clarity, guidance, and discernment.
- Pray for churches around the world who will conduct a VBS, Backyard Kids Club, or other evangelistic outreach this summer. Pray for God’s Kingdom to be expanded. Thank God in advance for the blessings and opportunities He will provide through VBS.
A Prayer Calendar, Prayer Cards for each day of VBS, and a Prayerwalk Brochure are available on the CD-ROM included in the VBS 2017 Administrative Guide for Directors.
The following homily was given by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde on July 23, the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, at St. Michael Church in Pawcatuck, Connecticut.
Summer still remains a popular time for vacations. Probably, some of us here this morning are on vacation. In fact, I am blessed to be back home for a couple of weeks of vacation. Vacations are a needed part of the yearly schedule. In today’s Gospel account, it seems that Jesus Himself is inviting the Apostles to take a brief vacation. “The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in a boat by themselves to a deserted place.”
The word “vacation” is rooted in a Latin word meaning “to make space for something” or “to make time for something.” The English word “vacant” — “open” is linked to this same root word for “vacation.” What we ideally do when we go on vacation is to make space in our hectic schedules, to make time in our busy lives, for ourselves and family members or friends in order to be refreshed and renewed. Vacation is a time away from the usual frantic pace of life, in order to become re-created.
Now, there is no vacation from God, because we belong to Him and are always in need of His love which sustains us. However, although there is no vacation from God, there is always a vacation with God. What do I mean when I say we should always be on vacation with God? Being on vacation with God means making space for Him in our hectic schedules, making time for Him in our busy lives. In a word, vacation with God means prayer.
Yes, when we really pray, we are making space for God in our hectic schedules, we are making time for God in our busy lives. So, praying every day is taking a mini-vacation. The prayer periods may be short, but they are regular each day. For example, when we wake up, we offer the entire day to the Lord — all our thoughts, words and deeds — so that living this day will become a prayer. We do this using the words we once learned, like the Apostleship of Prayer’s Morning Offering, or framing our own words. Similarly, at night, before going to bed, we thank the Lord for the blessings He gave us that day and ask His forgiveness for any sins we have committed. Again, we can use prayers we once learned or make up our own prayers. We ask the Lord to bless our food at meal times. We take five minutes or even 10 to reflect on a passage from the Scriptures, especially the Gospels. In all these ways or in similar ways, we are making a space, a time, for God. We are on vacation with God.
Once a year, we can go on vacation with God for a longer time by taking part in a retreat — usually on a weekend — when we go away to a retreat center where there is time for spiritual conferences and quiet so that we actually discern the Lord’s message to us. Here in this part of Connecticut, there are several retreat houses including the Immaculata Retreat House in Willimantic and the Holy Family Retreat House in West Hartford.
In today’s Responsorial Psalm, we prayed: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.”
Being on vacation with God, praying to Him daily and on retreat: that experience is like being near verdant pastures or beside restful waters. In prayer, we experience the Lord, the Good Shepherd, being at our side with His rod and His staff that give us courage.
Finally, being on vacation with God, praying daily, if this experience is genuine, this leads us to loving others and caring for them in a deep and truly meaningful way. After being on vacation where Jesus was renewed in mind and heart in His human nature, He saw the vast crowd, who were like sheep without a shepherd. Being moved with pity for them, He immediately went from prayer to caring for them by teaching them many things. Our love for God expressed in prayer necessarily leads to love for others experienced in realistic ways of self-emptying service, beginning with the family.
Yes, the Lord calls us every day to be on vacation with Him, that is, to be with Him in prayer daily so that daily we may bring His love to others. How true it is: there is no vacation from God but there is daily vacation with God — the vacation called prayer.
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