Traditionally Sunday school conduct the Vacation Bible School every year during the month of April/ May.
"Let the little children come to me. Do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mk 10:14
The VBS is one of the many means by which JESUS seeks children and youth into His Kingdom.
The VBS initials mean:
V: A school conducted during a VACATION period
B: A school which follows a BIBLE centered course of study
S: A SCHOOL which maintains a regular daily schedule
VBS is a movement, which has in its existence of over 40 years, transformed children, youth and adults into God honoring men and women. Many of the Indian Christian Leaders of today are those whose lives were touched by God and who had committed their lives to the Lord during VBS.
VBS work has expanded tremendously in the recent years and more and more non Christian children are covered each year. Yet the percentage is just a drop in the ocean considering the Indian Population. The challenge of reaching India with the message of the gospel is great. Every ones prayer and active involvement in the mission will bring a change.
May the Lord bless all the VBS.
History of Vacation Bible School
VBS in India
Some of the staff and students of the South India Bible Seminary (SIBS), Bangarapet introduced VBS to 75 children and 8 teachers at Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu. The VBS proved to be a success.
This was the nurturing period for the infant VBS Ministry. The number of VBS centers increased to 25, enrolling 4500 children. VBS was introduced at Mallappally, Kerala and also near Mysore City in Karnataka by SIBS student Directors. In 1956, a VBS Directors' course and a methodology course in VBS was introduced at SIBS.
The number of centers totaled 100 and the student enrollment was increased to 33,500. A follow up work were initiated in Kerala and Tamil Nadu by CSSM Area Directors which included VBS Prayer Cells, Bible Reading Notes and mid-year rallies. The same year a new three year course for VBS written by Esther and Theodore
The VBS is one of the many means by which JESUS seeks children and youth into His Kingdom. Williams was published.
The VBS movement began to work more closely with CSSM which provided area directors, organized teams for many centers and successfully fulfilled the follow-up work. VBS materials in Marathi was first published in 1965.
This was the period of rapid growth for the VBS Ministry. Many new projects were undertaken and drastic changes were introduced during this period. The total number of Children attending the VBS classes exceeded 46,000 by 1970. A new building for VBS was dedicated on 18th Dec. 1971 at Bangalore. In 1972, VBS materials were printed in Gujarathi for the first time. The Jubilee Year was celebrated in 1977 and the theme for the year was 'Knowing Jesus'. Separate materials for non-Christian children titled 'Jesus loves you' were introduced in 1979. By 1980, the number of children attending the VBS in various part of the country rose to 1,42,000.
In 1982 alone over 1,50,000 children were reached through this great Ministry. The first All-India VBS Leaders' Workshop was held at Bangalore in March 1986 with 42 participants from 7 Indian states. Besides this Workshop, several regional and local training programs were conducted from this year onwards. VBS theme song cassettes in six languages were launched. Another introduction in 1986 was the 'Young Adult Course' in English and Tamil languages. Following this, penetration programs were conducted in Mizoram, North Assam, Darwad, Kottayam, Ambernath, Nagpur, Manipur and other places. The number of children increased many fold during the ensuing years and also other activities as well. This period was a productive period for the VBS
Kerala United Vacation Bible School
Mar Thoma Church and CSI in co-operation with Kerala CSSM started the Kerala United Vacation Bible School in 1981. It made tremendous progress during these years with the whole-hearted support of both the Churches and the Sunday School leaders. Over 80,000 students and 7,000 teachers participated in the Kerala VBS during 1995.