If you had just one word to describe this summer’s Vacation Bible School program, it would be BIG. Really big.
OK, that’s two words. But thanks to the opening of our new building, St. John’s will be able to double the capacity for Vacation Bible School – welcoming some 250 children. The first big event in our new building is set for 9 am-12:30 pm, Aug. 3-7.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this year’s theme is “Everest: Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power.” And with twice as many kids on campus, there will be challenges.
Kimberly Lentz, children’s minister, and her team are up for the challenge. Once again, Melissa Rhyne will serve as VBS director. This summer, we’re also partnering with the Child Development Center, and director Joanna Smith will be sending 14 staff members to serve as volunteers. Additionally, because of sanctuary renovations at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, about 25 children from their Bible School will attend. Katie Lipscomb and other volunteers from St. Luke’s is assisting Kim and Melissa on the leadership team.
Last summer, with the new building coming online in 2015, Kim realized she’d be able to increase the capacity for Bible School. For the past several years, capacity has been capped at 120.
“The number 250 is not just a number we pulled out of the air,” Kim notes. With an additional 80 children coming from across the street, “we knew this number would be a possibility.”
Even with the CDC staff and St. Luke’s volunteers, there will be more of a need than ever for volunteers, Kim says. “It’s going to be much bigger than anything we’ve ever done. It’s going to be on a much larger scale than ever before.”
Kim couldn’t help but laugh at the Everest theme, which was selected long before the program expansion was planned.
“God has a sense of humor!” Kim says. “But it’s very exciting.”
“It’s gonna be the coolest week in summer!” Melissa adds. “We’re gonna have a good time.”
Even with a larger program, Kim says, “We want all of our students to have the same experience of learning and fun, but we do want our volunteers to feel comfortable.”
Before Bible School, Kim says, there will be training opportunities for volunteers. If you can come for one day or every day, you’re more than welcome to help, she says.
Joanna says that she and the CDC staff have longed to participate in VBS but that the opportunity was never available until now. “We are excited about it.”
Participation in Bible School and Weekday Church School is part of the strategic plan that includes further integration of the CDC children into church activities.
“We had eight children participate in Weekday Church School,” Joanna says. “Some of our families are not in church, but the children have gone home and ministered to their parents. That just adds another layer to what we’re doing.”
Volunteer training for VBS is set for 6 pm May 20.