As summer approaches, families are seeking fun and meaningful activities for their children. Local churches — among them First Baptist Church Brunswick, St. Simons United Methodist Church and Wesley United Methodist Church — offer Vacation Bible School programs that provide both, allowing kids to learn about their faith while making new friends.
“It’s important for the kids because we want something for the kids to do during the summer months,” said Melody Wilkes, director of preschool and children’s ministries for First Baptist.
This year’s program is called “Keepers of the Kingdom,” which is all about equipping children with the tools to “stand strong in today’s battle for truth,” Wilkes said.
FBC’s program runs from June 19-23, 9 a.m. to noon every day at the church at 708 Mansfield St. For more information or to register in advance, visit firstbrunswick.com/vbs. There is no registration fee.
“It’s all about if we’re going to be part of the light kingdom or the dark kingdom. Kids will be shown the difference and learn who to put their trust in, the Heavenly Father or the world,” Wilkes said.
This is the first year back on the program’s normal schedule since the COVID-19 pandemic, said Wilkes.
“We’re back to the regular schedule, 9-12 in the mornings, Monday through Friday. The big change this year is we’ll be having two rally times instead of just one in the mornings,” she explained.
Kids will rotate between four different stations throughout the morning — a session called Truth Talks, a Bible study, science and crafts, music and missions, and treats and games.
At the end of the week, kids and parents can get cold treats and snacks at a “festive finale.” It’s a chance for the children to show off to their parents what they’ve learned, Wilkes explained.
They’ll also be raising money for Manna House throughout the week in a competition pitting boys against girls. Wilkes will represent the girls while Pastor Chris Winford will lead the boys. The winning team gets to bombard the losing team’s leader with slime, she said.
Instead of a kingdoms theme, St. Simons UMC is looking to the stars with a VBS program called “Stellar: Shine the Light of Jesus’ Love.” Expect plenty of space-themed décor and costumes.
“A lot of the language and characters and art are going to revolve around that,” said Chris Moncus, student minister for the church.
At St. Simons UMC, children will cycle between stations called Kid Vid, Rec, Bible Adventures and Imagination Station.
Imagination Station has a space station look, Moncus said, replete with science experiments related to the verse of the day. Rec is centered around outdoor games and activities to reinforce the day’s message, and one day will feature an outdoor laser tag course.
“We have a full portable laser tag company coming to give us outdoor laser tag, complete with inflatable barriers. It’s going to be really fun,” Moncus said.
Bible Adventures is all about lessons taught through stories. In Kid Vid, a child tells about one great and one not-so-great experience and how God changed their life and was with them through the journey, he continued.
At the beginning and end of each day, all children meet together in the church’s sanctuary to learn about the verse and then talk about it.
Stellar kicks off on Sunday, June 11 at 624 Ocean Blvd. from 4-7 p.m., ending in a pizza dinner. June 11-15, the following Monday through Thursday, the program runs from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, visit stsimonsumc.com/childrens-ministry.
Wesley UMC hopes to use vacation Bible school to train up a new generation of disciples with its program “Ready, Set, Move!”
“It’s all about following Jesus everywhere — wherever we’re going, whatever we’re doing, we can share our faith in Jesus,” said Samantha Pearson, Wesley UMC director of children’s ministries.
From June 19-23, 9 a.m. to noon, kids will join in crafts, learn about mission work from local volunteers, sing and play music, learn from the Bible and get some recreation time and snacks.
Volunteers — including one with Manna House and another with a student-founded and run can drive called Can You Match It — will talk to the kids about helping their community.
“We have leaders in our church who are involved in missions programs in the community,” Pearson. “One is named Ms. Linda, she’s involved in Manna House and she’s going to tell the kids what Manna House does. (Glynn Academy student) Patrick Dunn will talk to the kids about the can drive and what they do for Sparrow’s Nest.”
Kids will also compete for prizes in their own canned food drive that week.
Each day ends with a “bottom line” — a one-line take-home message, and practicing committing a Bible verse to memory by the end of the week: Hebrews 12:2.
For more information, visit bit.ly/MoveVBSReg. There’s no registration fee for Wesley’s program but t-shirts can be found on the website for $12. The deadline to order is the end of May.