DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — School’s out for summer.
Well, not completely. For many local churches and kids, vacation Bible schools are rolling along or getting ready to start.
“This is a great chance for us to reach the kids in a more relaxed setting with lots of games and crafts,” said Cindy Struchen, the children and family ministry coordinator for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Marble Falls. “It’s just a little different setting than a regular Sunday school.”
While Sunday school classes typically last about an hour each Sunday, VBS usually runs several hours a day for a week. During that time, kids get a chance to explore God’s message through crafts, programs, music and games. And it brings in a lot of church members as volunteers who get to interact with the children.
Jana Cummings, the First Baptist Church of Marble Falls’ children’s pastor, said VBS allows leaders to use a variety of methods to reach the children.
“VBS is a chance for children to learn about God’s love and experience it through crafts, music and fun,” she explained. “Kids learn in so many ways like through play and touching things. It’s just a great way for kids to come together with friends and really experience the word of God.”
Many of the churches such as St. Peter’s select “pre-packaged” VBS programs. Struchen said St. Peter’s is going with Workshop of Wonders.
Programs such as these allow VBS leaders to pour their efforts into leading and teaching the children instead of planning the day-to-day activities. Each package typically follows a theme. Struchen said the basic tenant for Workshop of Wonders is that each of us, young and old, can help do great things through God.
The program is broken down into various session with a lesson and a Bible message for each.
First Baptist is going with the Agency D3 program.
“We’re having the children investigate how Jesus is the son of God,” Cummings said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”
The older kids, those entering the sixth and seventh grades, will be taking part in Mission: Possible.
“It’s kind of a ‘Men in Black’ thing,” she said. “They’ll be looking at how things are possible through God.”
Along with the regular learning experience, the older youth will participate in an actual mission project in the community. Putting faith in action, Cummings said, helps preteens grow in their own walk with Christ.
At St. Peter’s, the older youth often make up a big part of the volunteers for VBS. Struchen said it’s a nice opportunity for those teens to help build their faith while helping the younger kids.
“But we actually have a lot of our adults … who volunteer and help out,” Struchen said. “Many of them really look forward to VBS because it gives them the chance to interact with the youth.”
And like most churches, the VBS programs at St. Peter’s and First Baptist extends its invitation beyond its own walls.
“It’s a part of our outreach,” Struchen said. “We probably have more children who aren’t from our church who come to VBS.”
St. Peter’s VBS is July 14-18 while First Baptist’s is June 23-27. Other churches across the Highland Lakes offer VBS through much of the summer (June and July tend to be the busiest months). Check the Chatterbox of The Picayune for more listings.