VBC Craft Time
A Unique Vacation Children’s Program
By: Lisa Biegert
For a second summer, three BCM missionaries have organized an innovative version of the traditional Vacation Bible School (see Online + In-person + Vacation Bible School + Backyard Bible Clubs = Vacation Bible Club, BCM World, November 2022). The first experimental program, which became known as Vacation Bible Club (VBC), was so well-received that International Children’s Ministry Coordinator Sophia Wong, Lisa Biegert from USA, and Shantal Odicio from Peru expanded the program for August 2023. While Sophia coordinated with churches and Bible clubs, Lisa prepared Bible lessons, and Shantal created puppet skits, crafts and music videos, print materials and more.
Vacation Bible Club is a hybrid version of summer five-day clubs, mostly carried out through online tech. Meaning the VBC team presents much of the program over Zoom. Some of the program was prerecorded, including Bible lessons, worship song videos, and puppet skits. Videos showing how to make the crafts were distributed to leaders ahead of time. The entire program is distributed in booklet form to the leaders while children each receive their own handbook with daily activities, lyrics to the theme song, and memory verses.
Lisa Biegert Teaching on Screen
This year’s theme was “The Radical Life of Paul: Rescued, Restored, Refined, Remade.” Each day focused on a different story from the life of the apostle Paul. Groups from across Canada and the United States logged in to Zoom for singing, puppets, and a Bible lesson, followed by an interactive review time with the teachers and other participating Zoom groups. Once that hour was complete, local volunteers used the provided program guide to lead their children through the rest of the program, including games, crafts, memory verses, and snacks. On Friday, everyone came back together for a closing missionary story, a longer review game, and a chance to show all the other groups something special from their week.
Shantal recalls, “I enjoyed seeing the reaction of the children to the puppet videos or the lesson. The question-and-answer time was proof they were really paying attention. Seeing them smile, laugh, or volunteer to pray was so rewarding!”
The program ran each morning for five days in the western hemisphere. But the three members of the VBC team taught the entire program a second time at night for about one hundred children in a “closed region” spread across several time zones. This was carried out entirely in English with local Christians making it an “English as a Second Language” opportunity to share the gospel. The children were still able to interact, answering questions over Zoom, then participating in the in-person portion once they logged off.
Joining VBC Worship Songs by Zoom
VBC In-person Class
Much prayer went into this second broadcasting as there could be risk for families who chose to log on and join in. But God protected all involved, and the club ran without incident the entire five days. One small adventure occurred the second night when a heavy thunderstorm rolled through the section of the United States from which team members were teaching, disrupting internet connection. Providentially, the Bible memory passage included Philippians 4:11b, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
Sophia explains how the verse tied into the evening’s drama. “I became very nervous when comments being posted in the Zoom chat function included, ‘You’re freezing! We can’t hear you! Your Wi-Fi has problems!’ Eventually, these comments became unkind and even angry in nature. As the situation began to get out of hand, I was reminded that God is still in control. I thank God we had a chance to address the issue in a calm way and that people returned to the program the next day. To be content when things don’t go our way is something all Christians will face. This was my personal reminder that VBC was not just for kids to learn about God but also for adults to be reminded to trust in Him.”
During the final day, each group was given opportunity to share with everyone else something from their week. It was wonderful to listen to children reciting verses and see the team crafts they’d made during the in-person part of the program. Even more wonderful was hearing about children who’d given their lives to Jesus as their personal Savior, especially those who responded from the far side of the planet.
Lisa shares, “So many hands went up during the third night when we gave a clear gospel presentation that we lost count. It was both exciting and a humbling experience to sit in my own kitchen teaching children on the other side of the globe, to witness the Holy Spirit working, and to see these children respond to the message of God’s love and salvation.”
Shantal adds her own perspective: “I couldn’t help but feel moved knowing that not only did children across the world hear the gospel being presented clearly and some chose to believe in it, but they were also challenged to share it with others. They get to be lights in their own country. I trust and pray God will use them right where they are to bring glory to His name.”
VBC Zoom Session
Children Participating in VBC Program
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