2020 VBS experience: Zoom style

Our much anticipated event for the summer, VBS (Vacation Bible School), has come and gone too soon. For the past few evenings, kids were delighted to still attend VBS through Zoom and to see the faces of friends and teachers in the meeting. They didn’t have the in- person experience of learning the moves to the songs, playing games, and making edible crafts, but kids adjusted quickly to the new format enjoying it as much.

They bemoaned the fact that it was too short and they would’ve liked it if the church added more days. That’s saying a lot, because they had homework to complete and had to sit still in front of the computer for 90 minutes for 4 evenings.

What a different set up in 2020 than pre-pandemic programs. The familiar summer VBS meant being at church four afternoons for four days where all the activities are geared towards children having fun and learning about Jesus. As you turn into the parking lot, you can see car doors opened with kids getting ready and parents stuffing their bags with water bottles, extra clothes, or whatever else they think they may need. By the time you walk up to the registration booth, the upbeat VBS music thumps in the background and you admire the colorful decor, theme specific to that year’s VBS, displayed in and outside the church.

For parents, the range and pace of activities contribute to post VBS exhaustion with muscle aches and pains. I don’t know how the volunteers and pastors make it through the week with high energy and a smile on their faces.

It’s a bit of everything from learning about Jesus through stories and verses, getting up on stage to sing and dance the songs you just learned, hanging out with friends and teachers in your classrooms, making crafts, eating, and playing team games. The program reminds me of a pep rally: colorful; loud; fun; affirming; interactive; lively; and memorable.

I am truly grateful for the pastors, volunteer teachers and teens, parents, children, those working behind the scenes who made this experience possible. Each year my kids complain that VBS days are too short and ask how many months till the next VBS. They wonder what the music will be like and which color t-shirts they’ll wear in their grades. When I told my kids that the first VBS, which started over one hundred years ago, lasted 4 weeks, they asked why it had to be shortened to a week. VBS history is interesting and stemmed out a need for kids to have wholesome activities during the summer. Check out: wikipedia

Not to sound corny but this is my aspiration: I hope these summer experiences will be a step towards guiding my kids to Jesus and to pursue the things of God (in the way they live and work they choose). Although I know that’s the worthiest goal, I continually need to remind myself of this; it’s easy to get distracted by attaining more achievement and success. There’s got to be more than this; but there’s also fear for the unknown of what God has in store for me, for us.

Here are some VBS pictures of my kiddos through the years:

2016. Theme: Deep sea discovery. God is with me wherever I go. Genesis 28:15 Elliot’s 2nd VBS summer. You can see his eyes a bit puffy from going to the classroom by himself. Sister was too young to participate, but my friend was able to get her a goody bag like other participating kids. Ellis held that bag like it contained gold and carefully looked at each goody once we got home.

Kid’s bible study videos: “The So & So Show”

*This turned out to be a longer post than planned. I’m hoping it’ll be useful for parents with young children searching for a biblical and engaging bible study show. And it doesn’t really matter the age, even grown ups will enjoy it too.

For Sunday School, my kids have been excitedly watching “The So & So Show” shown on the People’s Church website. On Sundays, our family usually tunes into an online service at Central Church in Las Vegas with pastor Jud Wilhite. As a spevial guest, he invited his pastor friend Herbert Cooper, senior pastor at People’s Church in Oklahoma, to preach that Sunday. Oh wow, his message was powerful, Jesus centered, and entertaining with his jokes and personal stories.

Few weeks ago, I felt like listening to a sermon (it’s a weird thing since college) and typed in the web address People’s Church. https://peoples.church/

Their main website was finicky that day or it could have been my ultra-slow internet connection. Anyways, my sophisticated trouble shooting method involves furiously clicking and tapping on keys. Kids joined me and I knew my quiet time was over. Clicked on the “Kid’s Home” and was surprised it loaded.

We clicked on lesson geared towards 2nd-5th grade students. But they also had groups for preschool and kindergarten/ first grade children. It was the perfect discovery for us during this shelter-in-place.

After the first show, my kids were hooked and watched the same episode several times. Now they ask when the next “The So & So Show” will be online.

The So & So Show Vinyl Stickers
https://store.thinkorange.com/the-so-and-so-show-stickers.html?category_id=229

Here is a brief overview if you’re interested in watching it with your kids. New episodes are uploaded every Saturday.

  1. Upbeat worship song and dance (one of the worship leaders looks like our babysitter, and they talk about it each time the camera focuses on him)
  2. A talk show setting hosted by 2 White middle-aged guys, named Jon and Brandon, who use fun props, over-dramatic reactions that kids find appealing, and relatable dialogue to introduce the topic of the week
  3. This introduction transitions to an interview with a surprise guest, called “Someone who knows stuff” (ex. slime expert, cotton candy maker, phony sound maker for movies, etc.)
  4. Then, a video bubble pops up with the Bible story host named Kellen, a young Black guy with a halo-syle Afro. He interacts with Jon and Brandon and connects the story to the week’s topic. The story is short and presented in a casual manner, and Kellen also narrates the skit played by various people (adults, kids, and puppets).
  5. Final part of the show ends with a Reveal the Question, a question of the day. Thought-provoking questions that challenge both kids and adults about your relationship with God.

This week’s question: HOW DOES GOD TRY TO GET YOUR ATTENTION?

We are tremendous fans of this show! Here’s a link to the poster of the show’s cast. I love how Bible stories are told in engaging ways that help kids to understand the story and learn what it means to follow Jesus.

Big, last minute discovery for me:

While double checking the spelling of the host’s names, I discovered a new thing!! “The So & So Show” has its own YouTube channel (I just subscribed). It’s also a popular curriculum resource developed by a church ministry company called ThinkOrange.

They provide a variety of curriculum, resources for different age groups, and I believe these shows are pre-made for churches to supplement their children’s programs. The website has a store where tou can stickers, books, and posters. I can imagine my kid’s excitement when I tell them we can get their merch. aye yai yai…

Please check out this show at https://peoples.church/pc-kids-at-home/ and if you want to hear an inspiring and spirit-filled message, check out Herbert Cooper.

God bless and praying you will start the new week fresh and with faith!