Diving Deep With God
Wow! I feel we are just on the heels of Easter, and my calendar is already filling up with the details and nitty gritties of Vacation Bible School (VBS). I don’t know how many of you have been part of a VBS – whether as a child, a parent, a volunteer, or a planner. My experience had been quite limited. When I was younger, I went to VBS with my best friend, Jill. I remember making crafts, doing a lot of singing, and hearing the bible stories each day. As a parent, our church didn’t offer VBS, and my children, Paige and Grant, didn’t even know what they were missing.
But then we moved to Phoenix in 2005 and would spend our summers in Florida (why stay in the dry heat when you can escape to the humidity of southern Florida?). Paige and Grant participated in the VBS program at First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs, and they loved it! The first year the theme was “Fiesta” and was a perfect match for our new home in the Southwest. We listened to the CD in the car everywhere we drove, and it became a natural part of their church song repertoire. The next year, the theme was the same VBS program we had here at PPC, but our family was in Florida, and learning about God’s love in a different space. Again, the experience was one of high energy, excitement, and joy. I couldn’t believe that the VBS week was just as empowering for my son as it was for my daughter.
The next summer, we were here for VBS, and I was just as impressed, maybe even more so, with the program that was in place for our children. They got to be with friends they knew, and also had a chance to make some new friends. There were bible stories, crafts, songs (lots and lots of songs), and “kernels” that the kids took away with them – that God loves us, God protects us, God will provide for us, and more.
Fast forward to 2012. My calendar is already packed with VBS prep days, a volunteer orientation/training event; registrations have been made available to church families, preschool families; it’s on the website, and has even been shared with new residents in the area through a church postcard. The Children’s Ministries Team and, even more actively, the VBS Team have been working on ideas for making this one week that we have with children the very best it can be. This year’s theme is “Dive Deep with God.” And I can’t wait to see the growth – the excitement that the children have – as they connect with the Bible in ways that are directly meaningful to them.
Our VBS program is a truly intergenerational one. We are dependent on the hands and help of many people to make the week as meaningful as possible. We have members of SAGE, grandparents with their grandchildren, new members, young adults, teens and youth, and even friends of the church all sign up to be part of this wonderful and engaging week. Our volunteers may find themselves greeting children each morning, leading children from class to class, preparing snacks, organizing games, creating science experiments, movin’ and groovin’ to new songs, supporting our VBS missions, or perhaps they are one of the many, “behind the scenes” angels. There are as many ways to be involved as can be imagined.
The time the children spend during their VBS experience is almost as much “church time” as all the Sundays throughout the other 11 months of the year. Isn’t that amazing? We are able to have 15 hours of their attention and curiosity – and they can really make connections between the bible stories, their understanding of God, and their own lives. It is truly incredible to witness this and to know that each person helping in VBS has had a part of that transformation.
I am blessed in my job as the Director of Children’s Ministries, especially so during the faith-filled week of Vacation Bible School. I have the good fortune of working with wonderful families, amazing children, and dedicated teens and adults who all want to build foundations of faith to grow closer to God. What could be better than that?