Where did summer go? I’m sure yours has been busy, too; but, I can’t believe how summer has flown by. School starts tomorrow here in our community, and we resume our regular Wednesday night schedule at the church starting this Wednesday.
June was taken up with Vacation Bible School — getting ready and then the week of VBS itself. In July, I finished my last course paper for my DMin at Fuller on the subject of forgiveness. Lots of reading and time in this last paper, but I hope to do my final project on forgiveness, so this was kind of an abbreviated trial run.
A couple of weeks ago I spoke at a Sunday School workers’ banquet at a neighboring church in Hurt, VA, and then preached a three-day revival last week at Mulberry Grove Baptist Church in Buckingham, VA. In both places, they were some of the nicest folks I’ve met. The pastor at Mulberry Grove is finishing his PhD from Edinburgh in early Christianity, so we had some interesting conversations. Trey and Lou Ann are great folks that are enjoying serving a small church in a small community in rural Virginia. While I was there, the local Baptist association of churches invited me to do a Tuesday morning seminar for pastors and lay leaders. The association has 18 churches, all of them small, and 8 churches were represented among the 22 people in attendance. We had a great morning sharing together about small church ministry, and I got some very good ideas from some excited pastors and church leaders.
So, that’s my summer so far. Of course, like any time of the year, there are funerals, hospital visits, and church stuff that continues. The garden shows the neglect of a too-busy summer schedule this year, but maybe next year I’ll have more time for the tomatoes. I hope your summer was a good one, and I’ll be back here a little more often as fall moves toward winter.
Kids love VBS and this 45-second video clip proves it! Part of the VBS fun is learning the songs and motions, and getting into the spirit of the theme. You don’t need a lot of high tech stuff, but you do need some enthusiastic leaders, which we’ve got this week. The audio isn’t great, but you’ll get the idea that kids are having fun at Saddle Ridge Ranch this week.
We partner with 4 other churches in our community to do VBS each year. Each church takes a turn leading VBS planning, and hosting the community for VBS week. This year we’re at Chestnut Level Baptist Church for Saddle Ridge Ranch VBS. The other churches participating include our church, Chatham Baptist; Watson Memorial United Methodist Church; Oakland United Methodist Church; and, Chatham Presbyterian Church. Here’s a quick video montage of the sets, rooms, and our first night at Saddle Ridge Ranch.
Debbie is painting the backdrop and set for our community VBS. This year the theme is “Saddle Ridge Ranch,” which is available at LifeWay stores. We partner with 4 other community churches — a Presbyterian church, two United Methodist churches, and another Baptist church — for VBS each year. All of our churches have about the same attendance, which is under 100 on average, so partnering with other churches helps share the cost, provides lots of adult helpers, and lots of kids for VBS.
Our VBS costs have run a little more than $20 per child in recent years, and we anticipate about 100 children, plus 60-70 workers. Here’s our schedule for the week of June 27 – July 1:
5:00 PM: Our bus leaves our parking lot to make the trip to this year’s location at Chestnut Level Baptist Church.
5:30 PM: A snack supper is provided for $1 per child, and $2 per adult to help working families get there together.
6:00 PM: VBS starts each evening.
8:00 PM: VBS ends.
8:20 PM: Bus arrives back at our parking lot in Chatham.
We start on Sunday evening to give us time to set up that afternoon. We don’t serve the snack supper on Sunday, but Monday through Thursday nights we feed 80-100 people supper. Each church pays a pro-rated share of the expense of VBS based on the number of children (not adults or workers) each church has enrolled for the week. Usually the host church for that year spends a little more than the other churches, but over 5 years it all balances out. What is your church doing for VBS this year?
We do a community VBS with 4 other small churches in our community — 2 Baptist, 2 United Methodist, and 1 Presbyterian. This year we’re using Group Publishing’s Crocodile Dock. Here are some photos of the week so far: