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.