hy go to vacation Bible school? You get to blow up stuff. That is one reason why kids came to the Stuart, Fla., VBS.
But Stuart corps officers Lieutenants Scott and Andrea Hoover and Salvation Army mission specialist Mariel Broffman have a number of arguments for vacation Bible school, and they don’t involve sending explosive projectiles into the air.
During the torrid days of summer all across the territory hundreds of corps are hosting VBS. Vacation Bible school is a requirement to qualify for the Territorial Youth Achievement Award, but that isn’t the only reason the Stuart, Fla. Corps embraces it with such enthusiasm.
The Hoovers have seen five new families come directly from the VBS they held two years ago, and two new families from last year’s VBS regularly attend the corps. Since being in Stuart, corps attendance on Sundays has increased overall by 38 percent.
“VBS gives us the opportunity to reach out to kids in the community and bring them into a place where, for the first time in their lives, they can relate to God in a fun and joyous way,” said Lieutenant Scott Hoover. “We did that with a lot of planning and intentional desire to move it from, ‘Here’s a lesson and here’s a craft, go home.’ Mariel, our SAMS worker, really had that same vision of the theme this year that everything is possible with God.”
“At Sky VBS, children’s faith and imagination soared as they discovered that everything is possible with God, with a focus of learning to trust God,” Broffman said. “A large part of the evangelism occurred in some interesting ways. The kids participated in memorable Biblelearning activities, songs of praise and worship, science experiments and teamwork-building games.” She added that one of the favorite activities was building and launching rockets. Hot air balloons, airplanes and rockets were all built and used during VBS to encourage the children in their faith journey. The Stuart, Fla., VBS has more than doubled since 2010.
“It takes a lot of work and planning for this to come off,” Lieutenant Hoover said. “It was encouraging to see the adults in the corps seeing the importance of this event. We started meeting in March about VBS. It gave the adults a chance to feel like they were involved in the mission of the Army.”