Family VBA might be one of the coolest things we do at Bethel Church when it comes to children’s ministries. This was our second year of moving our VBA to the evening and having parents attend alongside there kids. We’ve been making an intentional shift at Bethel to empower parents to be the spiritual leaders in their homes. Family VBA reinforces that idea and gives parents practical experience to boost their confidence in having spiritual conversations (and fun) with their kids.
There are a lot of highlights from this last week and a lot reasons why I love this event. The first one for me would be watching families worship together. VBA is known for it’s music and the motions that go with the songs. As a leader in children’s ministries, I’m accustomed to having motions and moves that go with certain songs, however, most adults aren’t. It’s fun to watch the parents step outside of their comfort zone and look a little silly right alongside their kids. It’s also important during those slow worship songs that kids see their parents praising God. There is a lot learned by watching the adults around them go deeper with God.
In our rotations parents are the ones that lead the kids. This year at our snack rotation, we gave them all the supplies at the tables and passed out the instructions on how to assemble the snack and how it relates to the lesson. We also had them pray together as a family at this time as well. In our Bible lesson, Pastor Jeremy (my wonderful hubby) would present the lesson with youth helpers acting out parts. Once the Bible lesson was shared, the parents were given another handout to discuss and pray with their family. Our final rotation was the Imagination Station which is a bit like science and craft combined. Parents do this activity with their kids and it’s a lot of fun to watch the whole family get involved. Especially activities that involve water!
One addition to the program this year was dinner before VBA started. At 5:00pm, we offered a meal so families who were coming straight from work or a busy day wouldn’t have to worry about rushing for dinner. While a quarter of our families took advantage of this opportunity, the ones who did really enjoyed and appreciated it. I’m positive it will be a change that we keep in the future.
After last year, we learned that the littlest VBA attenders have early bedtimes, so we shortened the program by a half hour this year. This meant that families were dismissed before 8:00pm every night. This was an intentional move to be more family friendly. Another addition was a daily giveaway. Each night we gave away three parenting books as a resource to encourage parents and families. Every night we heard from multiple families about how excited they were that they won a book and how they really needed something to encourage them. The excitement for the books was cool to see.
We are realizing that our flow of VBA is still a little different. It takes some explaining, but once people see the heart behind our changes they usually agree that it’s a pretty cool change. As a children’s leaders, it’s fun exciting for me to have a week where I set parents up to succeed. It’s a great event and I’m so really encouraged by the changes in I see our families throughout the week. Sometimes it pays off to do something just a little different!