In 2020, being an “experienced” Vacation Bible School (VBS) staff or volunteer won’t automatically get you very far, at least not on the programmatic side. Nationally, Christian Educators are seeking out ‘bridge options’ to serve children and families during this between-time. They are choosing a creative mix of the virtual and the mundane. Some can be integrated into a unique, perhaps one-time (perhaps not) VBS venue. Examples include: creating short video clips via LOOM, a “daily bread dinner” story and cooking project, Godly Play sessions via Zoom, adapting an Easter “Ring-and-Run,” “Flat Jesus” narratives, or a Zoom game or art night.
I know we are all in a bit of panic mode when it comes to our summer plans. We have no idea what the future holds with our large group gatherings and everything is confusing with some areas opening back up and some locking down further. I know VBS has been keeping me up at night wondering when and if. One thing I will not worry about is how.
A few years back I worked at a church that was in an area of about 5 other churches. I would see their VBS signs pop up and realize that we were all doing the same package and of course mine was the one later in the summer when all the other kids had attended other churches earlier. Who wants a repeat? I sat down with my committee to come up with a way to create a unique VBS that focused on the areas that our church was passionate about without losing our minds.
Quicksheets are free quality resources for youth ministry produced by the Presbyterian Church (USA). They are designed to offer quick practical resources for youth leaders and parents of youth. Some of the more recent titles are also available in Spanish language versions. Gina Yeager-Buckley and a team of writers and editors offer new Quicksheets each year. Here’s the link to the complete listing that begins with the most recent.
Two titles that may be especially timely are Faithfully Simple Living by Beth Greaves– a great series of ideas especially appropriate leading into Earth Day and Summer Ideas by Christy Williams and Shannon Guse–giving you many ideas for crafting quick and meaningful lessons for youth during the summer months.
Kathy Dawson, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Columbia Theological Seminary