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VBS Season Sets Record for Church Participation and Collaboration

This year’s Vacation Bible School season set new records in church participation and collaboration across the Central California Conference. From the smallest congregations to the largest, the spirit of unity and creativity was remarkable, enriching the lives of countless children and volunteers.

Church Collaboration

A highlight of this year's VBS was the number of churches that participated. The Children's Ministry department was pivotal, providing two backdrops and additional supplies that rotated through the Bay Area and the greater Fresno area. In addition, the churches in the area worked together to ensure the VBS was successful. Churches shared decorations, supplies, and volunteer staff, fostering a sense of community. 

Bringing VBS to Life

Creativity was on display this year at the VBS. From murals to interactive sets, the churches were transformed into captivating environments for the children. 

Leah Page, the VBS Director for Templeton Hills Church, expressed her delight at witnessing the creativity each church brought to the VBS program. "It's wonderful to see how each church interprets the program in its unique way," she said. Her church created a stunning faux wave and surfboard for a photo booth, a hit with attendees of all ages. Templeton Hills had over 70 children attending, with the majority coming from the local community.

The decorations set the mood for the true message of VBS—Jesus' love and salvation. The children left with a deeper understanding and appreciation of their faith by hearing Bible stories, praise music, and important Bible messages. The joy and wonder in the children’s eyes as they explored these settings are testaments to the program's impact.

Pastor Bryan Bong, of All Nations Church in Fresno, shared a testimony of his journey with VBS. Pastoring a church in an area with over ten Adventist churches, he faced the challenge of helping his church have a unique message. They embraced children's ministry as a potential strategy after attending a children’s ministry workshop. Despite initial struggles, their persistent efforts bore fruit as more children and families started attending. Pastor Bong's story is an example of faith and community effort. "I always try to do a little extra in any ministry I work on," he said. 

With the help of dedicated volunteers like Susan and her family, the All Nations Church's VBS decorations came together. Pastor Bong’s vision for a successful VBS exceeded expectations, growing from 10 children on the first day to 18 by the end of the week. The culmination was a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, providing families with a bonding experience.

Nina Rigon, who led VBS for the first time at Clovis Church, began planning in September 2023. The church organized fundraising activities, including recycling drives and a “Bubbles and Brunch” event. She also reached out to local businesses, church members, and special grants, raising $11,000.

With generous support and prayers, Rigon assembled a team of station leaders, young crew leaders, and volunteers. The program featured a preschool Parent and Me program. A mother from the preschool group shared that VBS helped her see God as loving rather than angry. Attendance grew from 66 children on the first evening to over 90 by the end of the week. This was highlighted by an altar call where 16 kids expressed a desire for Bible study and baptism.

Impact and Looking Forward

The most significant outcome of this year’s VBS was the children's deeper connection with their Savior. Through activities and teaching, the message of Jesus' love and the gift of salvation were communicated. The collaborative spirit not only made this year’s VBS possible, but also meaningful.

"I am really tired now, but so happy. How meaningful is this? I am so grateful to God. I already want to prepare for next year's VBS," said Pastor Bong.

by Lisa Plasencia


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