Posted: 8/12/20 at 4:00pm. Written by Ashley Edwards.
This has been an incredibly challenging time for ministry. In the midst of the stay at home order, we at May Memorial Baptist Church (MMBC) should have been actively planning for our VBS; instead, we sat and wondered if we could even have it. But God is good, and God found a way!
We opted to try a Virtual VBS for the first time in MMBC history. I am not going to lie…it was challenging. How do I reach kids who are tired of Zooming…kids who just want to go to VBS because it is fun and exciting?
I started with a familiar theme…Weird Animals. I had done it before at another church and knew how wonderful the content was and that it could possibly translate virtually. Our themes were simple: Even though I’m left out, or I’m different, or I don’t understand, or when I do wrong or when I am afraid…God loves me.
In the weeks prior, I conducted registration so I could prepare VBS bags for each child. The families picked up their bags the Sunday before, and the bags contained all five days’ worth of craft supplies and all five days of snacks along with the themes of each day and the Bible stories we would talk about.
Each day I started with a silly opener wearing a crazy, weird animal hat or outfit, and I laughed with the kids. I did experiments and demonstrations that were fun and could be tied into the themes. Because of the quarantine, I opted to do most of the VBS alone, so I used videos that came with the curriculum to present the music and the KidVid moments instead of having others sing with me. I did have several of our youth and other members help out by recording themselves reading the scriptures and the Bible stories.
Each day’s session lasted around 25-30 minutes. Since it had to be pre-recorded due to questionable internet connections in some homes, I acted and interacted with them as if it were live. We then Zoomed several times that week to talk about what we had learned and for them to show off their crafts to me.
We had 55 children sign up–over half of whom I had never met before!
The parents were wonderful and so appreciative to have a VBS outlet, since most of their churches had canceled theirs. Since the recordings are on our YouTube channel, I’ve also been able to share it with others afterward! I made some extra bags, so anyone can still participate.
All in all, I missed the traditional format, but I am so thankful that God provided a way for us to meet and fellowship and have a blast with Weird Animals!