VBS musicals: Good theology that stays in a kid’s heart

Leading worship in churches around the country, working in Centri-KID camps and being around so many children helps Jeff Slaughter keep his Vacation Bible School music fresh and age-appropriate.

Jeff Slaughter

Slaughter, a musician and composer from Nashville, writes kid-friendly lyrics with deep truths, sets those lyrics to music that kids can sing, and then adds sign language and choreography to give kids a whole musical experience.

“I try to write music that will appeal to the 5th and 6th grade boys,” Slaughter said. “If I can connect with them, then I figure all the kids will like it. The younger kids look up to those guys, and if they think the music is cool, so will everyone else.”

Slaughter has been writing VBS music since 1996. After 11 years, he’s had time for some kids to move into adulthood.

He was in the Minneapolis airport last year when he noticed a young man in his early 20s walking near him. “It was funny, but God was telling me to talk to this young guy,” he said.

“We started talking about where we were going and what we did for a living. I told him I wrote Christian music and I was mostly involved in writing music for Vacation Bible School.

“This guy got a big grin on his face and said he’d been to Vacation Bible School when he was a kid. Then, he started singing the theme song from the Good News Stampede. I said, ‘Hey, I wrote that!’ Then he said, ‘No way!’

“I said, ‘So you’re a Christian, too!’ But he said, ‘Not anymore. I’ve sort of given up on that.'”

Slaughter’s heart broke for the young man. “I told him, ‘God has not left you. He is still holding you in the palm of his hand. What do you think the odds are that out of all the people in all the airports that we would wind up sitting at the same table talking about Vacation Bible School? I think God has given us a divine appointment.'”

Slaughter said that experience reminded him again how God uses VBS – and his music – to penetrate the lives of so many kids all over the country. “He had drifted away from Jesus, but that song was still in his memory almost 10 years later.”