Schaumburg | Lydia Lee’s church isn’t new to Vacation Bible School. Schaumburg Baptist Church has hosted VBS for more than 10 years, said the children’s director. But, like almost every other ministry plan churches made for 2020, this summer’s VBS requires a different strategy.
Lee and her team of volunteers moved “Concretes and Cranes” online. The activities are all there—worship, Bible study, crafts, recreation, and more. The schedule is different to accommodate the virtual delivery system.
“To help them focus more while we’re doing it, we decided to divide it into five weeks,” Lee said. Sessions are held from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday and Friday mornings, and each week corresponds to one day of VBS. After a worship gathering to kick off the day, Lee “sends” each age group to their classes. Teachers guide their students through the activities, and parents are encouraged to help younger children at home.
“This is such a blessing time that we can be involved with their faith life,” Lee said, “and teach them about God.”
The VBS began in early June with around 25 students the first week. The lead-up required many meetings—online, of course. Volunteers studied the Bible together too. To get ready for VBS, they read the book of Proverbs together and did daily devotions for 30 days.
“The staff members are not only ready with the materials,” Lee said, “but spiritually ready for this.”
More ideas for virtual ministry
IBSA’s summer camps for kids and students have been canceled due to limits on gatherings, but the Association is partnering with R.A.G.E. Ministries (Reaching a Generation Endangered) to deliver online camp for teens.
Large-group and breakout sessions are pre-recorded and available for viewing anytime, anywhere for any participating church. IBSA’s Jack Lucas said the resources are designed to look like summer camp, but can be used in any setting where students are regathering after several months apart.
“They’re packaging it as camp, but we see so many other ways it can be used,” said Lucas, a director of leadership development. He suggested churches use the material for a Disciple Now weekend or fall retreat, or to connect with students on winter break. Speakers include some familiar to IBSA churches, including Clayton King and Chad Poe.
For discounted pricing, contact the Leadership Development team at (217) 391-3135.
On June 25, IBSA’s weekly Church Helps webinar will share more ideas for salvaging summer ministry opportunities. Held every Thursday at 11 a.m., Church Helps webinars are designed for churches navigating uncharted waters related to online ministry and reopening. Go to IBSA.org/church-helps to sign up.
Photo above: Lydia Lee leads children in virtual VBS hosted by Schaumburg Baptist Church.