Small Church Reaches Kids for Jesus

June 01, 2012 | Jay Wintermeyer

Where do you begin when your church hasn’t held a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for more than 12 years? Where do you find the leadership, the program resources and materials needed? That’s what the Irrigon (Ore.) Church had to wrestle with last July.

For the first time in 12 years, they decided to put on a VBS for their small community. Fortunately, the church wasn’t alone in their quest to reach out to their neighborhood kids. Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) sent a team of four energetic young people to help. These four were a part of a conference initiative called His Travelers, which helps small churches put on summer outreach programs.

Shalise Gross, John Wilson, Sierra Walley and Re'Jean Coon worked with Irrigon members and presented the "GO FISH!" program for community children. Together they totally transformed the church and fellowship building into an exciting place to teach kids how to love Jesus.

Each day "Dorothy" took kids on a pretend plane to a different country to show how children of other lands witness for Jesus. Other areas featured campfire stories, crafts and games. At the end of the week, all children attending received children's Bibles of his or her very own. The overall program was well received and will be repeated again next year.

Even though Irrigon is a small town, 46 children attended throughout the week. Only two of these were from Adventist families.

With summer just getting started, it's not too late to put together a VBS program as an outreach for your community children. UCC's children's ministries department has great VBS resources to share with you. If the thought of that is too much for your small church, it isn't too early to put your request in for a team of His Travelers to come and work with you next year. More information is available at