VBS Faith Stories
Vacation Bible School is typically the largest evangelistic outreach program for children in local congregations during the calendar year. As such, the Arkansas Conference Council on Children’s Ministries designates a significant portion of their annual budget for VBS Mini-Grants to help smaller churches reach out to the children in their communities. Here are some stories from this year’s VBS Mini-Grant recipients describing how they impacted the lives of the children around them.
Great ministry is happening through VBS in our churches! Through the sharing of these stories, our hope is that we can give a glimpse of that and inspire others to join in on the children’s ministry journey.
Walnut Ridge United Methodist Church Walnut Ridge, AR – Northeast District
First United Methodist Church of Walnut Ridge was blessed to receive a VBS mini-grant from Arkansas Conference. The grant helped us purchase the Cokesbury VBS Surf Shack program, supplies, and food for our one day VBS program. The director, called Skipper, along with leaders, called captains, brought to life stories, crafts, and activity in rooms called decks. Through this journey the children, called surfers, learned and experienced God’s amazing love with focus on faith.
St Paul United Methodist Church Jonesboro, AR – Northeast District
July 18, July 25 and July 30 and 31st, 2016
Throughout the month of July children and volunteers at St Paul UMC gathered to celebrate and give thanksgiving to the Joy of Jesus. Using Scripture from Psalm 100 we raised the roof with kazoos making a joyful noise! We remembered that He is the foundation for everything we have on each and every day. We love coming to Children’s Church every week and Vacation Bible School every summer to celebrate God’s love and good things that come through our parents, our families far and wide who love us and want us to know Jesus in our hearts. We cannot always see Jesus but we know He’s in our hearts. Through many friends and their generous gifts we are able to celebrate God’s love in our lives.
On the first weekend we celebrated the Joy of Jesus in our lives. Jesus is our rock for helping us get through touch situations. We took home our own rock painted with the name of Jesus. We had fun, made crafts and celebrated with ice cream cake on that very first weekend.
Two of the children had just celebrated their birthdays. It was only right to celebrate our birthdays with Jesus
The second weekend we were also thankful that we belong to God. It was too rainy to go outside, so we celebrated by becoming co-creators with God with paint and play dough while enjoying more ice cream.
When it got too noisy older children sought refuge in the Quiet Room with their aide where they could spend some time in the silence away from the younger children who are always full of energy and noise.
We celebrated cousins who come to visit during the summer and the gift of family. One night we had a special 4-legged visitor who came to visit for a special surprise. Mr. Teddy was also there for a few bear hugs.
During the last weekend we met both Saturday and Sunday to talk about God as our treasure and learning the difference God given treasures and things that might look like treasures but can lead us astray if we focus only on them.
Pirate Petra wanted to look for gold and silver coins. Truly Bell reminds us that our treasures are our family and friends. They are also things that will not become rusty or be eaten by moths; but treasures we store in heaven.
We loved looking for clues during the Scavenger Hunt. We searched for chocolate coins. We also went through an obstacle course on the last night to be reminded to listen to the voice of the shepherd rather than the voices that might lead us astray from the Gospel of John 10: My sheep hear and know my voice.
Some children created 3-D Treasures chests for storing up their Godly treasures such as prayer, Bible verses and fruit of the spirit, love, patience and kindness. All children left full of good things some heading to celebrate the treasure of family vacation before school starts. Mister Teddy decided he liked VBS so much that he has joined Children’s Church as our newest treasure always ready for a big hug or a tired child needing a little tenderness. He gives lots of love to everyone; the best treasure of all!
Clarendon United Methodist Church Clarendon, AR – Southeast District
We kicked off VBS with a barbeque meal after worship service. The fun included games, art, and face painting. The congregation enjoyed participating in all the activities.
A t-shirt was designed by the church for VBS participants. “Jesus Loves Me This I Know” was printed on the back of the shirts.
The children learned that Jesus, our savior, gathers us together as a good shepherd gathers his flock. During the barnyard roundup the kiddos explored Psalm 23 and five Bible stories that taught that Jesus, our savior, is always with us, cares for us, provides for all our needs, leads up, forgives and protects us, now and forever!
The kids became aware that churches in Africa are in need of roofs. A pond was part of the barnyard setting and used to collect change. A total of $25.00 was collected to help the needs in Africa.
A barnyard is not a barnyard without animals. Several critters visit the VBS barnyard and the kids loved it.
Several who attended don’t typically attend church. Hopefully our small church can continue to have VBS to teach the children in our community about Jesus.
Sardis United Methodist Church Sardis, AR – Central District
Sardis is so thankful for the VBS mini grant that we were awarded this past summer. Vacation Bible School is one of our favorite children’s ministry activities around here! We used our mini-grant money to prepare a hot meal in addition to snacks for our VBS kids each evening. We shared a meal and shared Jesus with about 50 children each night. As you probably already know, hunger is a huge issue for kids in Arkansas. We wanted to make sure we did our part to help out with this. Our mission project was also a blessing bag for our own church food pantry. The blessing bag included personalized notes from our VBS kids and snacks for kids who were at home during the summer.
Prairie Grove United Methodist Church Prairie Grove, AR – Northwest District
Prairie Grove Methodist Church held VBS 2016 in July. It was a day camp again this year for 4 days. Over 80 children and adults participated in daily bible teachings along with mission work. 30 pairs of shoes were cut out for SoleHope, dog toys were made for local shelter pets from the scraps; notes were written, some with sweet little foot prints of our babies, for shut in and nursing home residents and over 10,000 meals were packed (Pack Shack) for our local food bank. One mother in particular told me that her daughter had the choice to go to a fun day at her daycare with water slides and inflatables, but the 4th grader chose to participate in Pack Shack packing party because she wanted to help others. Thank you for giving us the grant, as a small church our budget would not have been enough to do all these great mission projects without it!