Jesus Rescues During our 2018 Vacation Bible School! (6/25/18)

Posted by on Jul 23, 2018 in Bible Study, EventReport, Vacation Bible School | 0 comments

The sea was in a terrible mood- more violent than these experienced fishermen had ever seen. Waves crashed over the tiny boat filling it with water..They were sinking faster than a brick skipping across a pond, and they knew that they’d be dead in only a few minutes. But Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat.

They believed that the Lord was their Good Shepherd; that he’d lead them beside quite waters. That He’d save them from the very danger they were now in. But Jesus… He was asleep.

Sometimes we all feel like that. Where is Jesus? We’re scared, lonely, fighting against life’s “waves.” What do we do? We know that Jesus can rescue us, but how do we connect with Him? Will the life raft ever come in our direction?

Jesus WILL Rescue You!!!

During the week of June 25 2018 our 2018 Vacation Bible School (“VBS”) re-assured us that Jesus Rescues us, even when we’re being tossed on the open sea. Or even after we crash and are shipwrecked.

Each night began with an opening session in the sanctuary. This kick-off included a series of bouncy and memorable songs, along with skits by Kate and Lance Bird which introduced the kids to each evening’s activities. Each evening presented a theme about the different “shipwrecks” we encounter, and then it showed us how Jesus Rescues!


Kids Become Crew Members!

When you joined the Shipwrecked Adventure, you became a Crew Member! Crew Members were grouped by age, and each crew was given a special mascot and color.

The week was open to kids from age 2 through 6th grade. Each age group had its own class- er- “Crew”, which was lead by adult “Crow Leaders.” A total of 99 kids set sail on this year’s VBS adventure! Here are the crews…

2 yr. olds – Red Guppies
3 yr. olds – Orange Sea Turtles
4 yr. olds – Yellow Starfish
5 yr. olds – Green Seahorses
Kindergarten –Blue Iguanas
1st grade – Purple Stingrays
2nd grade– Pink Cheetah
3rd grade– Grey Toucan
4th grade–Brown Sloth
5th/6th grades – Sharks



Planning and Preparing…

Prayer Partner- Name in a bottle

Before a Vacation Bible School can happen, a lot of work has to be done. One of the first things that happened around our church was to pray.

Vials with the name of a prayer partner were distributed to the congregation, and we each prayed daily for a specific volunteer.

Running a Vacation Bible School program does take a lot of work. But all of the human effort is meaningless unless the Holy Spirit is behind it all. So, “thoughts and prayers” isn’t just a way of dismissing things. True prayer is essential if we are going to be successful at planting seeds that will help people know Christ better.

It all starts with prayer. But after (and during) that, we put our hands to work. Beyond selecting the materials, lining up teachers and volunteers, and setting up registration, we also need to decorate! The Shipwrecked and Island motif washed over our entire building!

Missions Projects

And- one other important element of a VBS is a missions project. This year, we focused on our Operation Christmas Child project (Samaratin’s Purse) For more information about this special ministry, read the Post about our 2018 Christmas in July.

We also sought to strengthen what we call our “Benevolent Fund.” That’s church-speak for helping people who come to us with a desperate need that needs to be met right away.

During the week, we collected 783 items for Operation Christmas Child. This was enough to fill 75 shoeboxes with things like toiletries, school supplies, and toys. Necessities and fun stuff that any kid would enjoy receiving at Christmas. We also raised over $100 in coins to help people in emergencies.



Kicking off the Evening…

Each evening began in our Sanctuary were we introduced the day’s theme with some skits and songs. Kate found herself stranded on this strange island (which looked a lot like our chancel area…). But it was filled with monkeys, fish, a waterfall, and even a tiki hut. On the first night, Kate thought she was alone, but when Jim Noland ran into her (literally), she discovered that she wasn’t alone on the island. Jim (actually Lance- Kate’s husband!) had been there for a while and he too was trying to get rescued. Jim had been having some struggles with one particularly scary monkey, so he was glad to have company.

Each evening featured a new adventure which introduced the theme.

And- there was lots of cool music. One of the most memorable was a tune called “Never Let Go of Me Me.” Here are some of the lyrics (which never left you after hearing it every night)…

Through every storm of life- I know You’re by my side- So I am holding on- to Your promises.

You are the God who holds- my future- all my dreams- so I am holding on

You never let go of me!

Themes for each Evening…

Each evening featured a specific theme that flowed through the night’s activities. And, a memory verse was given to match each theme. Here’s the day by day summary of the themes:

When You’re Lonely– Jesus Rescues!

The Lord will hold me close.” (Psalm 27:10)

When you Worry– Jesus Rescues!

The Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (Psalm 34:19)

When you Struggle: Jesus Rescues!

Be still and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10)

When you do Wrong: Jesus Rescues!

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

When you are Powerless: Jesus Rescues!

This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead.” (Ephesians 1:19-20)

A lot of singing, laughing, and hand waving happened during these joyful opening sessions! Here’s a peak at the fun…



Making stuff and Learning about Jesus…

After our opening gathering, the crews got together and made their way through the various stations (“classes”) that had been prepared. All of these stations presented activities which reinforced the evening’s theme:

  • Kid Vid
    Crewmembers watched a video showing how God helped a kid work through a problem.
  • Imagination Station
    Crewmembers did hands-on experiments to see how God rescues
  • Bible Discovery
    Crewmembers heard stories from the Bible where Jesus Rescued struggling people.
  • Nautical Games
    Was a time to get off the ship (er- out of the building) to play some outdoor games
  • Snack Time
    Hey- we are Methodists!


Snack Time…

One of the “stations” was in our Fellowship Hall. Even when it’s not time for VBS, the main thing that occupies that room is food! And during VBS, food was served to our hungry crewmembers.

But like everything else during the evening, even the snacks reinforced the message. On Monday, the snack included a greenish jello-like drink filled with sweepish fish and red life savers. The message: Jesus Rescues!

Here are some views of how the kids reacted to this concoction…


God Sightings…

We all wanted to be rescued! And as we learned throughout the week, there’s more to this than being rescued off of a desert island. All of us need to be rescued from the bad things that prevent us from spending eternity with God. Jesus is the only one who can truly rescue us.

But we need to be on the lookout to see Jesus…..


Bible Discovery…

Jesus Rescues! And in the Bible, we see it over and over:

  • Mary and Martha– Jesus Rescued their brother from the dead!
  • Malcus– Jesus healed him after Peter cut off his ear
  • The Lame Man Lowered through A Roof– One lame man had some friends who went through a lot of work to get him to Jesus. And, Jesus healed him!

Hand’s on arts & crafts were used to teach these stories…


Imagination Station….

We can learn a lot about God just by looking at nature and science. After all, He created it! The “Imagination Station” used science to illustrate concepts about God. Here are some of the things we did…


We made binoculars to help the kids with “God Sightings.” Where do you see God’s activity in your everyday life?


A toy with a toucan hopping down a strings shows how God can help us overcome the world’s resistance.

SOS Bracelets

Reminder to call out to God for help because Jesus Rescues.

Cartesian Diver-

When you squeeze the water bottle the diver sinks… just like we sometimes feel like we’re sinking, but God lifts you up again.


We made sailboats and used a fan to blow them across a tub of water. God’s power is like a breath of fresh air that can push your “sailboat” through across life’s “turbulent waters.”



Playing Games and Learning that Jesus Rescues…

This is VACATION Bible School- it’s not a time to spend all evening in anything resembling a classroom. And so we got outside the building and played some games. And everything had a purpose; every game had a “hands on” lesson attached to it.

Here are some of the games we played…

Swim and Swap: When you’re lonely….Jesus rescues.

Not everyone could make it to the island (hula hoop). Those who didn’t make it on the island were reminded of feeling left out or lonely and learned how Jesus can rescue when loneliness occurs.

Tug of Water: When you worry…..Jesus rescues.

Crews played this classic game while thinking about what it was like to get into a match with a team they weren’t sure they could beat. The players learned how Jesus can rescue when they are worried.

Wreck Riddles: When you struggle….Jesus rescues.

Teams were tasked to answer riddles relating to items they could see outside. The crews soon found out the struggles to solve the riddles and learned the rescuing power of Jesus in their struggles.

Sea Turtle Travel: When you do wrong….Jesus rescues.

Small groups worked to transport a beach ball to a basket while moving like sea turtles without allowing the ball to hit the ground. No hands or feet allowed to touch the ball. The crews found out that someone in the group often made a mistake and the ball fell on the ground. They learned how Jesus rescues even when they do wrong.

Sloth Tag: When you’re powerless…Jesus rescues.

Similar to the classic game of Freeze Tag, crew members quickly felt powerless when they were tug. They were faced with the decision of who to turn to while they felt powerless and learned how Jesus rescues.


Cooling off by the Pool… and Learning that Jesus Rescues…

This is the SUMMER after all! The 6th graders had the opportunity to leave the church after each evening’s opening, and travel to a local pool. There was a lot of swimming, splashing, and diving. And for a little bit, we also had a chance to dive into the Word and learn about people who Jesus Rescued.


Thursday evening included an unexpected lesson about Jesus’ ability to Rescue… on the way to the pool, the church van broke down! The alternator stopped “alternating”, and we lost power.

But Jesus Rescued. The van limped on far enough to bring us to within easy walking distance of the pool. And car pools were arranged to bring us back to the church from the pool.

You Never Let Go of Me!” (even if it requires jumper cables!)



After our Crew time together, we re-convened in the sanctuary for a wrap up. Part of each evening’s closing involved sharing God Sightings! The Crew members noted blessings like the sun, pets, flowers, and even the church van! These God Sightings were written on Life Rings which were taped to the walls of the sanctuary.

We then wrapped things up by introducing the next evening’s theme.

On Friday we wrapped things up with a visit from a Mr. Softie ice cream truck!

Vacation Bible School is usually one of the highlights of our church year, and this VBS was no exception. Who knows what adventures awate us next summer! But as we continue through this year, we’ll know even more deeply that Jesus Rescues!


To learn more about this year’s VBS (or to get an idea of how things work in future VBSes, check out the article that announced our 2018 VBS…

Announcement Post

On the week of June 25 through 29, we’re going to get shipwrecked!  But don’t worry; we’re going to get rescued by Jesus!  In fact, we’re going through storms all the time; short finances, lost friendships, broken things, broken hearts.  Life is always rough sailing. 

But Jesus is always there ready to pull us out of the water… just like He did for Peter:

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:29-33



Here are the details on our upcoming adventure:

  • Who:     Nursery through 6th Grade
  • Where:  Pitman United Methodist Church
  • When:   Monday June 25 through Friday June 29 (2018)
  • What Time:   Celebration in the Sanctuary starts at 6:00 PM, the classes end at 8:00 PM.
  • How Much$:  Free  of charge!

Here’s a video about our Vacation Bible School.  We’re going to have a lot of fun exploring how God always pulls us through.  Life is always full of storms, but we have a God who holds our future and He never lets go of us!




Online registrations have closed.  But walk-ons are always welcome!  Come on over and join the adventure.





For a Taste of VBS at PUMC…

PUMC has “done Vacation Bible School” many, many times.  It’s  a looooong time tradition at our church, and it’s open to the entire community.  Last year we built some robots and learned about our wonderful Creator.  Check out the following article about last year’s Vacation Bible School…

2017 Vacation Bible School Explores Our Maker’s Fun Factory! (6/26/17)




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For more information on our Vacation Bible School ministry, click this button:    VBS  




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