VBS Program: Adults Need Not Apply

Post a Comment » Written on July 3rd, 2006     
Filed under: News
BATAVIA, IL (July 3, 2006) – Few adults work with the vacation Bible school at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Batavia; after all, the program has done just fine without them.

Beginning in the early 1990s and continuing today under Jen Zerby, the director of student ministries, young people have staffed the VBS week. Students in middle school through college have organized, taught and built relationships with the children who attend the program.

VBS and kidsThey have even written and taught biblical curriculum (although some is purchased), created and performed opening and closing skits, and lead crafts, says Zerby. “They do almost everything.” Only a handful of adults are needed as supervisors and facilitators, as well as educators who help the youth plan the program, she adds.

The church has enthusiastically supported the arrangement. “It’s created a great following,” Zerby says. “A lot of people are used to this kind of program. They know it’s a safe environment for the kids to be in.”

The VBS attendees look up to the older students, Zerby says. “The kids just mimic everything they do,” which, Zerby adds, instills a greater sense of responsibility in the leaders. “They realize the kids are watching them.”

A large number of the students return to help after they have completed fifth grade. “They love it,” Zerby says. “The kids who end up being our leaders are so energetic. They’re great role models.”

This year, 57 students helped lead the program, which involved roughly 100 attendees. “As a youth leader, it’s great to see kids step into leadership roles,” Zerby says. “That’s what you love to see happen.”

“It’s always seems scary to let the youth be in charge,” says church member Ann Richards. “It never seems organized enough even days in advance. But in the end, she adds, the week comes together, and “young people’s lives often are changed forever.”

Allowing the students to lead the program has had long-term, encouraging results. At least eight of the students who have helped lead the VBS have eventually attended Covenant Bible College. More than a dozen have served on staff at Covenant camps. As many as 10 students have joined church praise teams, including Peter Milbourn, the congregations worship leader and head of the Trustees Board.

At least five have become youth pastors in Covenant churches, and two others still are in seminary. Another student has just completed a two-year term in the mission field.

To learn more about the program, call Zerby at 630-879 3832.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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