NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Next summer, kids will have the opportunity to dive past the surface and go deeper into God’s Word with “Submerged,” the 2016 Vacation Bible School theme from Lifeway Christian Resources.
Lifeway VBS specialist Jerry Wooley says the theme helps challenge a culture consumed with the celebrity image—one marked by beauty and popularity. “It’s a value system that’s unrealistic and an impossibility to achieve or maintain,” he says. “During Submerged, kids will discover it’s not what’s on the surface that matters, but the internal truth that only God can see.”
Each day of next year’s VBS, students will explore the way Jesus saw people and examine the truth of the key verse, Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”
Wooley says this is a unique VBS theme as it reminds students to look beyond the surface. “This is an adventure that will take us not only to the depths of the ocean,” he says, “but to the depths of our hearts as well. We will be challenged to let God not only search our hearts, but reveal the truths of our hearts as well.”
VBS remains one of the most effective evangelistic events for churches, according to Wooley. Using the most recent statistics they could gather, he says close to 3 million people participated in VBS at a local church in 2014. Approximately 80,000 children made professions of faith during those weeks, and more than 1 million unchurched individuals were identified as a result.
Wooley believes the same could happen again next summer as Submerged reveals our greatest need. “God sees our heart and knows our thoughts,” he says. “He sees what lies below the image we want the world to see, and He loves us anyway. He sees and knows our true potential, our sin, and our need for a Savior.”
For those anxious to start planning for next summer, VBS 2016 Jump Start Kits will be available for purchase in October, with other resources scheduled to be available in December.
VBS 2016 Preview events, designed to give leaders a hands-on opportunity with the new material, are scheduled for January in Ridgecrest, North Carolina; Forth Worth, Texas; and Nashville.
For more information, visit LifeWay.com/VBS.
Aaron Earls is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.