We only have two days left of our church’s vacation Bible school. It has been a lot of fun hanging out with 300 kids, singing songs, playing games and of course listening to Bible stories. Some Bible stories work better for VBS than others. The parables of Jesus work well as do the stories of Moses and the plagues. Here are a few Bible stories that would be highly inappropriate for VBS.
Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah is a crazy story about how far people can remove themselves from the Imago Dei. It starts out as a pretty good VBS story with angels and Abraham’s haggling with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah. Once the angels leave Abraham, though, and head into town, things turn a little dark for VBS. VBS stories should be encouraging and have as many animals as possible. They should also have ways for the children to participate. In the story of Jesus calming the storm, the children can slap their hands on their thighs to make the sound of rain or make whooshing noise to represent the wind. In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the children could really only participate by making the sounds of an angry mob looking to violate Lot’s guests. I don’t want to participate in a VBS where children shout out, “Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them.”
Judah and Tamar
The story of Judah and Tamar is a little interlude during the story of Joseph. Tamar was Judah’s widowed daughter-in-law and Judah didn’t fulfill his obligation to care for her. So Tamar takes things into her own hands and dresses up like a prostitute. Judah sleeps with Tamar and Tamar has a child. I can’t even imagine the questions that would come up after that story time.
“What’s a prostitute?”
“What’s so bad about sleeping with someone else?”
To go along with the story, all of the kids could make their very own veil and pretend to be Tamar. Again, this is a terrible story for VBS. Prostitution may be the world’s oldest profession but kids don’t need to learn about it until they’re a little older as well.
Queen Jezebel was a bad lady. She killed a lot of God’s prophets and helped turn Israel toward her pagan gods. She was pretty terrible and her life came to a terrible end. During an insurrection three eunuchs threw Jezebel out of a window and horses trampled her body underfoot. When men went to bury her body, they found nothing but her skull, hands and feet because dogs had eaten everything else. Like most great VBS stories, this story has animals. However, feral dogs consuming the lifeless corpse of Israel’s queen is a far cry from Isaiah’s lamb and lion peacefully coexisting. It would be thoroughly entertaining, though, to see a room full of kids pretending to be rabid dogs pulling flesh away from bone.
VBS is a great way to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. These stories wouldn’t do much to help share that gospel. Some movies are appropriate for children and some are appropriate for adults; Bible stories are the same way. Everyone should know the full story of God, but for kids it’s best to reveal it a little at a time. Lest we get some unknowing child saying, “I want to be like Tamar when I grow up.”
What other Bible stories are inappropriate for VBS?