Have you found yourself hoping for a Vacation Bible School resource that is truly intergenerational? A curriculum that doesn’t just include lots of children and adults but is intentional about bringing the generations together to study, play, eat, and worship? Something different than the traditional “VBS in a can”? Last summer, we at GenOn Ministries surveyed lots of Christian educators and asked,
If we were to create a great intergenerational Vacation Bible School curriculum, what would you NEED included in the resource? Are take-homes essential? Ability to purchase decorations? Would it be sufficient to point you in the direction of creative ideas for how to decorate? Would it be helpful to provide flexibility for size of group? Flexibility for time of day?
We received lots of feedback including:
Music that is simple to learn, but not cheesy.
Discussion points that involve people from different generations.
Large-scale craft ideas that encourage everyone to participate in their creation (banners, mosaics).
No purchased decorations... just ideas using items surrounding people in everyday life.
Take homes would be great to continue the conversation.
Flexibility in numbers is great.
One that could be adapted for time/days would be good.
I prefer a base resource that gives ideas but that is not tied to me having to purchase a lot of extras. Less is more in my opinion.
We are looking for lower-budget options that provide ideas but not "kits."
And so we got to work on All God’s Children: The Church Family Gathers for A Very Blessed Summer (VBS)! And we believe we’ve got what you might be looking for!
This intergenerational resource contains 5 separate sessions that explore the variety of ways we work at living together as children of God (“Grow together by being together”). Each lesson stands alone but they work together to draw a picture of God’s plan to help us walk together in all ages, trust God through the Good Shepherd, recognize the good fruit we are enjoying and sharing as people of God, strive to love each other always, and remember to look beyond ourselves to expand and grow the Kingdom of God. A variety of New Testament passages, many from the Gospel of John, are the backbone of the Very Blessed Summer series.
Although the lessons can be used in any order, this is the basic outline:
Scripture: Luke 24:13-48, The Road to Emmaus
Summer Blessing: Walking and Growing with Jesus
Scriptures: Psalm 23 and John 10:11-18, The Good Shepherd
Summer Blessing: Trusting the Good Shepherd
Scripture: John 15:1-8, the vine and the branches
Summer Blessing: Bearing Good Fruit
Scriptures: Psalm 98 and John 15:9-17
Summer Blessing: Love Each Other
Scriptures: Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15 and Mark 4:26-34, Parable of the growing seed and the mustard seed
Summer Blessing: Green and Growing in the Kingdom of God!
How much time is needed?
Typical Vacation Bible School programs are designed for 2.5-3 hours. This would be sufficient for each of the 5 sessions. There are no specific timeframes for the individual events but when dinner or lunch is included, you will need to allow an appropriate amount of time. If you choose to just serve a prepared snack, you will shorten the “meal time” to approximately 15-20 minutes.
When should it be held?
Choose a time of day and a day of the week that suits your congregation. Depending on your church summer schedule you may choose to move through the 5 sessions on 5 nights in a row or once a week for 5 weeks during the summer. Each lesson unit stands alone so that whoever chooses to attend will be fully included and not feel like they have “missed” content.
What about decorations and additional ideas?
You’ll find instructions for links to our Pinterest Boards with scads of suggestions.
We’ve included a section titled “Blessing Others” that can be utilized to expand the entire set of lessons with mission or outreach. You may want to use a different one each time you gather or choose from one of the examples listed to extend over the entire set of lessons.
Take It Home Blessings
At the conclusion of each gathering you will find a short list of questions, activities, and prayer ideas related to the theme that will allow families to extend and remember throughout the week.
Would you like to see a sample? Request and download one here.
GenOn Ministries has a long history of partnering with communities of faith to nurture children and youth into an abundant life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ, Efforts are focused on equipping adults of all ages to be actively engaged in leading the spiritual development of young people both within the faith community as well as those in the broader community. Check out the many resources and training opportunities available through our website: www.genonministries.org and have a Very Blessed Summer!