By Anna Burch

Minister to Children

First Baptist Church

After a year of virtual VBS, it was good to be back to in-person Vacation Bible School.

Like everything else in our ever-changing world, though, it looked different this year. Due to COVID, our ministry staff decided to have VBS be in-person, but we wanted to keep numbers small. So we offered VBS to our church kids only.

This meant we did miss the chance to offer community outreach this year, but it also meant that we were able to give our children extended fellowship time with their fellow church friends after a year and a half of limited together.

The smaller number (seventeen compared to our pre-COVID average of 75) gave our kids a chance to better interact and engage with each other during opening and closing gathering and to have recreation and snacks as a whole. Typically, our kids stay with their age group for most of VBS and don’t get as much of a chance to be with other grades.

As the children’s minister in charge of VBS, I typically, move from group to group all day to check in, grab needed items, and take photos. This year, I was able to really able to spend time with our church kids and engage with them all day instead of popping in and out.  I appreciated and really enjoyed getting to have that time with them.

Despite losing the community outreach by moving to our church children only, I valued being able use VBS this year as a time to focus on the children’s ministry community within our church. After the amount of time we have lost in person together over the past year and half, I think this time of intentional community was needed.

Several other things looked different this year beyond our smaller numbers. Per our church’s current policy, the kids, youth, and adults were masked and we offered individually wrapped snacks instead of our usual choices. We also only had VBS for three days instead of five. This was not a COVID change, but rather one stemming from our school district’s change of calendar to a modified year-round school calendar and a shortened summer.

While things looked different, things also looked the same. We made crafts. We played games and had fun. We created items in our missions rotation to share with others in our community. We studied Bible stories. We sang. We laughed. We learned, prayed, and played together.

VBS was different, but it also felt good to be back to more of a “normal.”And in the words of a first grader on our first day, it was good to be reminded that “church is fun!”