Meet my friend, Kathy Martin. She's one of the "geekiest" VBS geeks that I know and serves at Higher Ground Baptist Church in Kingsport, Tennessee. Kathy didn't tell you below, but she's also an excellent writer and has written preschool VBS curriculum for several years. Thanks, Kathy for sharing with us!
Over 30 years ago, I served when my children were preschoolers. The next year I was asked to be the director. Now I serve full-time as Director of Children’s Ministry at my church—it all began with VBS! Each year I bring out my sailor hat—and become “DINAH" (my alter ego). Dinah has been around the world with VBS. She boasts that she’s the “best of the best—when it comes to VBS”. She’ll do anything to make VBS a success.
What is your “geekiest” VBS moment? Dinah always has a plan to make our penny offering more interesting. We love to take it to CentriKid camp to contribute to the missions offering. My geekiest moments? Dinah has given and received a pie in the face; been slimed; doused with apple-sauce and some kind of wiki-wiki pudding (so disgusting!); kissed a pig, a frog, a gorilla, and a cow (and liked it!); swallowed not one, but TWO gold fish (hard to top that one); put on sumo wrestling suits and wrestled on stage (knocking over the entire set); and ridden a Harley-Davidson, a rigged up Surf board, and a golf cart down the aisle of our worship center! In 2006, she also rode in a hot air balloon—not so “geeky”, but oh so fun!
Dinah is also known for her super-blaster water gun. I squirt the kids who are participating—they get happy and start singing when the super-blaster comes out! In 2004, we began taking our VBS “on the road” to lead a day camp for a church in New York City. Can you imagine East Tennesseans trying to speak Japanese words to New York City children? Yep, pretty “geeky”, lol—we had 17 3rd-6th graders make professions of faith that first year!
What makes you continue to do VBS year after year?
1) I love God—and I am so thankful that He loved me so much that He gave His Son, Christ Jesus, to die for me. VBS gives us a great format to fulfill His command to go and tell.
2) I love people—The truth is, VBS is NOT just for kids! For the past three years, we’ve had as many (or more) adult volunteers as we have had kids. The VBS bug is contagious—and it should be. People will show up when they understand they have a part in making an eternal difference in the lives of others and the message always challenges our volunteers—we’ve had adults accept Christ through VBS!
3) I love kids—One of my favorite parts of VBS is worshiping with children and adults of all ages. It is incredible to be a part of a ministry that gives children the opportunity to grow in their faith as they choose Jesus and decide to follow HIM.
What is your favorite VBS theme to date?
At “Rambling Road Trip" (2005), we kicked off VBS with a hot rod/car show. I loved clipping on a pony tail, and donning a red poodle skirt and blouse embroidered with a “D” for Dinah. Our Worship set was a 50’s café, and riding down the church aisle with “the Fonz” on a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle was…sweeeeeeeet!
What kind of advice could you give to someone directing VBS for the first time?
Begin early, pay attention to details, and don’t be afraid to try something in a new way. We begin our VBS planning as soon as Christmas break is over. Our VBS staff attends Lifeway’s VBS preview each year—and we always go one night early to pray and plan out our VBS. Details—like screening volunteers, delegating leadership roles, outreach, registration, and communication all help make VBS successful. Take care of the hard work in the months before your big week and you'll enjoy VBS for the wonderful ministry opportunity it is.
Complete this sentence . . . You might be a VBS Geek if . . . you check LifeWay’s website 10 times a day during June to get the clues posted for next year’s theme….then throw a special "called meeting” of your staff so you can start planning for a year down the road. Let the brain-storming begin—woo-hoo! I love VBS!