What’s missing from your VBS?



Summertime in churches can be an exciting time for children as school is out, and churches are gearing up for Vacation Bible School or, as it is known in church circles, VBS.

Rooms throughout the church are decorated from top to bottom. The teachers have been trained. Supplies, snacks, and treats are ready to go. Music videos have been practiced, and the gospel will be adequately presented.

Every day, the kids will come with big smiles on their faces. They will laugh, dance, sing, and shout out the Scriptures. As they leave each day, they will get a high-five or a fist-bump and even a hug from many of their leaders.

Missing kids

At many VBS programs, there will be one thing missing—there will be very few children from divorced homes. There are lots of these children where you live and where I live. So why aren’t they at VBS?

The main reason these kids don’t attend VBS: the single parent has to work and has no way to get the child to VBS.

VBS can accommodate kids of divorce

Years ago when I operated a child care in Oklahoma, I offered to transport children in our program to VBS at a local church. The most appreciative parents were those of kids in single-parent homes. Many of these parents didn’t attend church themselves but wanted their kids to go to VBS.

What a powerful experience family night during VBS was for these parents. For many of them, it was the first time in years they had entered a church. For some, it may have been the only time. The leaders made sure the parents felt welcomed. They complimented the kids and eagerly invited the parents to come back and visit.

Another church I attended in North Carolina had its VBS in the evening. The church did this because many children wouldn’t be able to attend VBS if it was held during the day. Several kids from divorced homes were able to attend this VBS. Plus, some of the single parents in the church got to volunteer.

Ways to reach out to the child of divorce

No matter what time of the day or evening you have your VBS, please consider reaching out to the children in your area who come from single-parent homes.

  • You can ask the families in your church to consider offering rides to VBS.
  • Start a bus program, and offer to pick up children from the neighborhood and transport them to and from VBS.
  • If your VBS is during the day, arrange for day cares in your area to bring children to your VBS.
  • If your program is in the evening, enlist child cares, YMCAs, and day camps to hand out flyers about your evening sessions.

What the kids will receive

  • The concepts and Scriptures these kids are exposed to at a VBS can influence them for years.
  • It is another way to demonstrate to children who have lost parents to death, desertion, divorce, or incarceration that God loves them and that He will never leave them or forsake them.
  • It’s another opportunity to pour the Scriptures into their active minds and their hearts.
  • It’s several hours during the kids’ week when they don’t have to worry about what’s going on between their parents.
  • They can get caught up in the moment and the excitement of the day. You might say they get to experience another way of life, a peaceful, exciting, stress-free life during their week in VBS.

Don’t kids in single-parent homes deserve this opportunity to learn about our Savior?


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on June 20, 2014.

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