Rather than having a program solely for children, Four Mile took a risk and organized a family program which took place every night from 6-8.
The evening began with dinner, provided by the church, so that those coming straight from work wouldn't have to worry about getting everyone fed and out the door on time. After dinner and a sketch, the children went off to class, and the adults stayed put, listened to some teaching, and then broke into small groups for discussion.
The evening then ended with children and adults meeting in the sanctuary for a time of worship together.
Families eating together, learning together, and worshipping together. Brilliant.
This was the first VBS I attended where the material didn't come from a box. No packaged lessons or music. Rather, the theme of the week centered on our church's purpose to Celebrate, Connect, and Contribute.
By using a superhero theme, our church staff created the characters of Celebrato, Connectra, and the Contribunater - these superhero's battled adversaries in a sketch every evening. The sketches were short, to the point, entertaining, and included the element of repetition from night to night so that the children were engaged and clear on what was happening in the storyline.
We even watched animated shorts prior to the sketches which enlightened us to the back stories of these superheroes. Catchy. Clever.
Our Director of Worship wrote a theme song for the week, "I Wanna Be a Superhero", which everyone learned. Worship always began with this song. Upon entering the sanctuary last night I spotted Harper up front with the worship leader and other children leading the congregation in this song, complete with hand motions. How do you think that made me feel? She is feeling confident and connected.
We then continued in worship by simply using the same songs we sing on Sunday mornings.
Both children and adults received the same memory verse each day - with the children receiving a simpler version.
It was nice to know that the children were being taught the same lesson that we were - which made for good discussion afterwards.
The entire evening was tight. It flowed. There was a unity of purpose. The community, young and old, were all learning together.
Zane has found worship to be a little too loud for his liking, so we've gotten in the habit of bringing a notebook and markers for him. He astounded us yesterday by writing letters and words all over the pages of his notebook. We were shocked. I've not even worked with him on letters. He wrote "Zane", "Harper", "Mom", and "Dad". He is never without his notebook. Always drawing. Always writing. We think this calming activity is really helping him.
So, Harper led worship this week. Zane just *poof* started writing. Out of the blue. She and Zane are memorizing scripture.
I would say it was a super week.