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Reader feedback: How do you VBS?

Children and parents line up for the tie-dye-your-own-T-shirt station at the Heritage Church of Christ’s VBS. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Blogging live from Franklin, Tenn.
Things were a little heated at Vacation Bible School — 103 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact.
More than 100 souls in this Nashville suburb braved the record-breaking temperatures to enjoy the first evening of the Heritage Church of Christ’s VBS. The church’s “Growing with God on the Farm” theme focuses on the Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.
Children enjoyed hay rides, a petting zoo, inflatables and hot dogs. The church also had a tie-dye-your-own-T-shirt station that was a big hit with the kids and a few adults. (Mine turned out great — a lovely mix of UGA red and black, made in the midst of Volunteer territory.)
Rather than host a week-long (or, as is increasingly the trend, three-day-long) Vacation Bible School, the Heritage church has dedicated its five Sunday night services in July to VBS. It’s the second year the church has done this, and the elders say its a boost to Sunday night attendance and a good community outreach.
How is your church handling VBS this year? Four days? Three days? One day? Does anyone still do a week-long VBS? What other formats do you find effective? Is the record-breaking heat hampering your VBS plans?

Luke Bowman tie-dyes his T-shirt at the Heritage Church of Christ’s VBS. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

  • Feedback
    In India with the WINGS Children’s Home we loaded up a bus with the 90+ kids and took VBS to the village one day. They “raised the roof” to quote the Indian sister-in-law of the Home’s founder, with praise songs they taught the village kids, then took turns testifying, sharing scripture and even saying the Books of the Bible forwards and backwards from memory! Several baptisms followed in the sudden monsoon downpour. A blessing they thought, as it was much-needed rain. A nearly perfect day in India.
    I’m headed back with a group this week- can’t wait!
    Denise Dickinson
    July, 2 2012

    This summer we are trying something new as well. In an effort to increase our Wednesday night Bible class attendance, we are “doing VBS” each Wednesday night beginning July 4th through August 29th. “Running the Race” is the theme of our “Summer Bible Adventure Series”. Children ages 2 yrs through 6th grade will create, play games & have fun learning about God in an Olympic-themed environment. By changing the way we do VBS & combining it with our Wednesday Children’s Bible classes, we hope to create an excitement in children to learn about God while encouraging weekly attendance helping to foster habits that will continue into the fall.
    Monica Jimenez
    July, 2 2012

    We still do a week-long VBS and it was awesome! Ours was last week, June 25-29 and our theme was Sonquest Rainforest. The church lobby and auditorium were transformed into a rainforest, complete with a waterfall, a tunnel, a bridge over “water,” and a bamboo hut (made by real Phillipinos) for the children to play in during one of the rotations. The other rotations included stories, games, crafts, and snacks. Each day focused on one of 5 parables and each day also had it’s own memory verse of the day. This year was also the first year we publically announced that our VBS was special-needs inclusive because we understand that the special needs community largely gets left out of typical VBS activities. There were plenty of volunteers on hand to ensure that we had all the flexiblity needed to cater to our group, and with over 100 children each day in attendance, we felt it was a huge success! To God be the glory!
    Melinda Oldham
    July, 2 2012

    We just completed a five day VBS at West Side in Russellville, Arkansas. It was 9-11 a.m. daily. This was our first in several years and the last one was done in the evenings according to my wife. The leaders of this project were 30-somethings but I think support folks ranged from teens to 80’s.
    Frank Foster
    July, 2 2012

    We still do the (relatively) traditional Sunday through Wednesday Gospel Meeting. About five years ago, we decided that we needed to find a way to bring more young families to our meeting, while recognizing that as a small church we don’t really have the capacity to put on a full-scale VBS in addition to our meeting.
    So we combined them.
    Each evening at our Gospel Meeting, we have a Children’s Bible Hour during the sermon time. It only takes about 30 minutes, the kids love it (no sitting still in an auditorium on a hot summer night), and it only requires two or three adults to miss that night’s meeting.
    Ben Wiles
    July, 3 2012

    Greetings to Churches of Christ around the world. Yes, yes we have one every year around the third full week of June � ever since I have become a Christian in 1980. It is such a joy to see the faces of children smiling. It is very important to help our children form the truth in their minds for the great battle that they will face as the years move on. It is also wonderful for the many people that have talents to be used in the growth of the body of Christ.
    William B Sharar Jr
    July, 3 2012

    We had a Wed-Fri evening VBS. We had 8 groups based on age. After getting together and singing and watching a skit or puppet show, we divided into the 8 groups and each group went to a different station. A group would go to 2-3 stations per evening as we had a total of about 8 stations. The time at the station would be approximately 30 minutes. I was in one station where we had a maze with several stops along the way. Children could stop at one of the stations in the maze but if they did they could not go to the end of the maze where they would get a bigger prize. We taught about resisting temptation and obedience. I was Jonah and talked about trying to run from God when God asked me to go to Nineveh. Our VBS was well received. We had a bout 100 children and over half that many workers as well. It was a lot of fun.
    Mike Hirsch
    July, 3 2012

    We just had our VBS last week in Monument, Colorado, at the Tri-Lakes church of Christ. We have VBS classes/activites Sunday through Wednesday evenings, then a Family Celebration on Thursday night to close the week. Even with the wildfire going on just a few miles from us, and having to cancel Wednesday night due to pre-evacuation orders, we still had great attendance and lots of community visitors the other nights. Our theme this year was FROG, Fully Rely On God. Green and frogs EVERYWHERE!
    We run our VBS with a time together first, then go through 5 different stations (story, crafts, snacks, games/activities, and singing), then back together for the last 15 minutes.
    Our auditorium was a giant lily pond, with lily pads for the children to sit on while singing and watching the puppets. Our story room was the rain forest with lots of bright colored frogs, tents with mosquito netting, and the sounds of the rain forest running in the background. We served green snacks (even nachos with green cheese) and had one night of the flying frogs game. We got most of our F.R.O.G. crafts online at a very reasonable price.
    Ending Thursday night with the Family Celebration of dinner, a program with songs from the different classes, and then play time with a big bouncy “frog” obstacle course.
    The theme was really a fun one for this year. All ages seemed to enjoy it!
    Anita Kritz
    July, 3 2012

    I have been a member of the church of Christ for over 30 years and am currently employed by Group Publishing in Loveland, CO.
    For those not familiar with Group, and especially Group’s VBS programs I would say please check us out.
    Rather than creating a VBS program from scratch each summer why not look at what Group provides?
    We offer three different types of VBS programs that can be adapted to almost any format you could want. They are scriptually sound but more importantly they engage children in fun and active ways to help them retain what they’ve learned.
    Save yourselves some headaches and see what Group Publishing has to offer. You will not be sorry!
    Enjoy your summer everyone.
    Judy Mullins
    July, 3 2012

    Anita: Your green-themed VBS sounds great. Please tell me you have some photos! I’d love to see them if you’ve got them. E-mail them to me at <a href=”mailto:[email protected]” rel=”nofollow”>[email protected]</a>.
    That goes for the rest of you as well. If we can get a variety of VBS shots together, maybe we can do a gallery page in our next issue, or perhaps an online gallery. Thanks.
    Judy: I’m on the Group Publishing mailing list and get your e-mails. Looks like quality stuff. We’d love to have Group as a regular advertiser. Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll get you in touch with our ad manager.
    Erik Tryggestad
    July, 3 2012

    We are doing our VBS this year from Monday thru Wednesday evening. We are focusing on “God is Good With Family”. Our children love our summer VBS and its a joy to see the excitement in their faces as they learn about God’s word! We are blessed to have some very talented and creative teachers!
    Dennis Billingsley
    July, 3 2012

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