Church brings Jerusalem to Missouri for immersive VBS
A Missouri church has undertaken a VBS project that brought together multiple generations for an immersive experience into biblical Jerusalem.
Nevada Church of the Nazarene in Nevada, Missouri, is one of the smaller churches in town, averaging around 40 to 50 people per Sunday. Lead Pastor Megan Allen and her staff had been wondering how to implement VBS as a small church when Children’s Director Lesa Claypool came across a curriculum that was an immersive biblical experience.
In order to accomplish the ambitious program, they decided to move beyond VBS’ traditional one-week timeframe to five consecutive Sunday services.
Each Sunday, there are several rotating stations that are book-ended by an opening and closing service. The stations, including crafts and snacks, are historically and culturally accurate, an aspect Allen and her staff felt was important.
“Sometimes we need a reminder that we typically read scripture through our Western civilization lenses,” Allen said. “We wanted this to help us understand the Jewish background of Jesus.”
As church members experience the VBS, people of all ages said they learned things that they had never thought about when reading the Bible.
During rotations, they attend “Synagogue School,” where they are taught their lessons for the day. In the “bakery,” they eat and learn about important parts of the Passover meal and other traditional foods of the time.
Crafts are done in the “marketplace,” where they learn about basket weaving, traditional jewelry, and even carpentry. Throughout the first four weeks, the response has been positive.
“The people who have gotten involved have really enjoyed it,” Allen said.
Part of what makes the church’s efforts unique is the fact that it is fully intergenerational. Each rotation group is made up of a mix of children and adults. Since the event is replacing their traditional Sunday service during these five weeks, it’s allowed church members to grow together.
One of the final rotations is a small group time where the participants talk about the message Allen gave in “Synagogue School” and the many things they’ve learned. The station is where many of the intergenerational conversations take place.
One adult told Allen that they had never thought about what type of culture Jesus was living in despite being a Christian their entire life.