Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

June 27, 2012

Planning key for VBS at First Baptist Church

TAHLEQUAH — Summer vacation from school is a time for relaxing, playing, working, sleeping late, traveling, and for some children and volunteers, spiritual inspiration.

Vacation Bible School is held by many churches to educate and nurture spiritual growth and knowledge, as well as develop faith in youth.

At some churches, VBS is a huge undertaking that takes a year to plan and 100 volunteers to produce, and at other churches it’s a small group of children of all ages, in one room, learning Bible verses and singing traditional songs like, “Jesus Loves Me.”

Every day at First Baptist Church a program was printed for youth and parents, which included a theme verse of scripture, activities, number of attendees that day and for the week, comments from pastor Buddy Hunt and information about upcoming opportunities, such as the church musical, “Amazing Wonders of Aviation- the Musical” and an overnight camp in July.

They held VBS June 11-15 with a grand total of 355 attending Friday, including 92 adults and 203 children.

The enthusiasm and excitement in the auditorium was evidenced on smiling faces, bouncing to the music and cheerful singing.

Three girls clapped and sang along, as older youth performed on stage.

“I like praising God,” said Hailey Hainzinger, 8.

Emma Maxwell, 7, said art was what she enjoyed the most.

Parents began to arrive to pick up children and watch the youth perform.

Charlene Ruble, aunt of Chris Sullivan, said she likes that VBS is a safe experience.

“Volunteers are sincere and they have fun,” Ruble said. “VBS builds a lifelong attitude toward Christianity and how to live life the right way. It’s a great experience.”

Jamie Brown is the mother of two boys, Kyle and Jacob, and said she appreciates the program.

“It gives the boys something fun to do and learn about God,” she said. “I ask them everyday what they did and learned.”

Kim Eubanks, intern for VBS director Jayna Coppedge, said she’s worked at VBS for three years.

“You get a chance to make a difference in the kids’ lives and experience God and be a part of it,” Eubanks said. “Volunteers have to really like kids, and we try to make their job easy.”

The goal is for children and adults to enjoy the experience, said director Jayna Coppedge. She has served as children’s minister for 22 years at First Baptist.

“The adults have to have a good time too. To keep the retention rate for 100 volunteers, they have to enjoy themselves,” she said.

Coordinating students, volunteers and classes takes planning.

“We rotate classes and have a lot going on. They have 30 minutes in each class, crafts, studying mission work around the world, Bible study class, music, words and motions, Bible skills,  recreation, and snacks,” Coppedge said.

 The theme this year is, “Gods’ Power.”

“We’re learning about the amazing ways we see God’s power in nature, in other peoples’ lives, for circumstances, over sin and over death,” Coppedge said. “God cares for each one of them individually and they can entrust him with their entire life.”

The children are each given a copy of the New Testament.

“We talk in small groups about what it means to be a Christian,” Coppedge said. “About 50 percent of the children do not attend our church, and about half of those attend someplace else.”

The children look forward to performing the music and moves they learn during the week at church services, she said.

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