Vacation Bible School is a really big deal in our church. We do things a bit differently than most churches in the area, and I think we have a pretty good system. We begin with a week of evening classes for the benefit of adults and teenagers. This is generally held the first full week of July following the Independence Day holiday.
While the first Bible School is called just that, it might be more correctly referenced as a recruiting session for the upcoming event two weeks later. That’s when we hold the regular or Children Bible School, and it is still a morning affair.
Total attendance for the two, and you must consider that many get counted twice, ranges from about 80 to 100 some years. Linda and I have been a part of that count for several years — about 30 for her and at least 25 for me.
After dividing the children into four or five age groups, depending on the number attending, we use a high school approach to the various classes, having them rotate from class to class. Specific teachers are designated for Bible study, music, missions, crafts, and recreation and refreshments.
The most outstanding, unique feature of our Bible School is the make up of our many volunteers. More than half are teens, but the most remarkable thing is the number of men actively involved. This year there were at least seven men there every day and always four or five teenage boys helping out.
Many years ago, I elected to take time out from my busy work schedule to help out at Bible School. In those days, we didn’t have all the necessary hands on deck for a successful event. I would spend the morning at church, get home for a quick bite, and then be back at the office no later than 1:30. I would work well into the evening, and then be up early the next morning to start the entire process all over again.
That’s when I coined the phase that Vacation Bible School is no vacation. By the end of the week, I was generally exhausted and probably not in the proper frame of mind to be dealing with young people. These days, I look forward to the opportunity to be a part, take the whole week off from work and generally get a good nap in after lunch each day.
Not only have all of our children attending in their youth, our daughter is now volunteering in the crafts department. All of our grandchildren have been a part of the school, with five of the six attending this year.
The one thing that really stands out for me is watching the young ones grow into adulthood and seeing them coming back to the church with their children. Last year, I took time to count the number of kiddos whose parents had been in my class when they were little. I was amazed when I realized that 12 of those little guys were the offspring of former students.
This has caused to speculate as to how long I will continue volunteering. How am I going to react when I realize that I am teaching a third generation? It’s probably going to happen sooner than I suspect.
You may very well have seen me this week in jeans, sporting my “I (heart) VBS” T-shirt. I do love everything about VBS: the wonderful children, the supporting volunteers, the music and the curriculum. Funny thing is, I’m a teacher, yet I seem to always be learning right along with the children. That’s the best part.
Next week, I’ll be back in the office. Back from my week of vacation, but remember: Vacation Bible School is no vacation!
David Coffelt is a Harrisonville area resident and almost a VBS graduate and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.