Our church’s Vacation Bible School begins today. There’s nothing like hundreds of children screaming, laughing, having fun and learning about Jesus. Every VBS curriculum is basically the same. They revolve around a selection of stories from the Bible, some sort of animal mascots, some crafts and an overarching theme that sets ties everything together. In years past our church used themes like rainforests with tropical animals and oceans with sea animals. This year our theme is Nazareth and there will be a lot of farm animals.
Animals and forests are all right, but I was thinking what it would be like to have some nerdy VBS themes. Here’s what I came up with.
Star Wars VBS
Bible Passage: John 3:19-21
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
In this passage Jesus tells Nicodemus about light and darkness. That theme would work perfectly with the struggle between the light and dark sides of the force. There could be a Jedi and a Sith fighting for the soul of the story’s hero. The kids could learn lessons about how to walk towards the light and what it means to live by the truth. To really throw the kids for a loop, though, the hero could turn to the dark side but find redemption in the following year’s VBS.
Ewoks would make the perfect VBS mascots; they’re basically sentient teddy bears. Wookies would also make acceptable mascots as would the Mon Calamari and droids. The VBS organizers, though, would need to make sure that no mascots wore the golden bikini.
What kid wouldn’t want to build their own lightsaber? Crafts could also include prosthetic appendages and burn victim aid kits.
Lord of the Rings VBS
Bible Passage: James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Frodo’s story in LOTR is about perseverance and doing the right thing even when it’s hard. The kids could learn important lessons about friendship from Frodo and Sam. They could learn valuable lessons about how others can negatively influence them from Gollum. While there are plenty of lessons to learn, it would be important not to show the end of Return of the King. The kids don’t need to see Frodo refuse to destroy the ring. That might send the wrong message and start kids down the wrong path.
Uruk-hai and goblins might be a little too scary to be good mascots. Everyone could definitely wear a pair of pointed ears or a big fake beard. It would also be a lot of fun for everyone to cut off some of their hair and glue it to their feet in order to look like hobbits. Unfortunately I wouldn’t need to add any hair.
Every kid could make his or her own ring of power. Then, throughout the week, they could inscribe on the ring all the things that keep them from following Jesus. Then on Friday, in the climax of the week, the kids could throw their rings into a fire as a symbolic act of discipleship. If the church is in Hawaii, it would be sweet to do the ring ceremony at an actual volcano.
Bible Passage: Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon is a crazy book. When I first found it as a 10-year-old I felt guilty for reading my Bible. What better way to introduce children to the beauty of sexuality as God intended it than through the tortured and pure relationship of a 100-year-old vampire and senior in high school? The story could revolve around Bella learning about God’s intentions for sexuality while pursuing a pure relationship with Edward. The conflict could come from Jacob who wants Bella to go outside God’s boundaries for sexuality. In the end, though, purity would overcome and the final story could show Bella and Edward’s wedding where Jesus turns water into wine.
Wolves and vampires would be obvious choices. Song of Solomon has a lot to say about animals, though.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is missing. – Song of Solomon 6:6
Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. – Song of Solomon 4:5
So kids could totally dress up as sheep and gazelles. Again, though, it would be best to leave the golden bikinis at home.
Boys could make their own boutonnieres and girls could make their own bouquets for the big wedding at the end of the weak. All the kids could cover themselves in glitter and run around outside like Edward with their “incandescent chests and scintillating arms”.
(I only read the first Twilight book so I may be way off base…and I’m all right with that).
VBS is great. It’s a great way for kids to hear about Jesus and see his love reflected in the words and actions of the volunteers. Whatever the theme, the goal is to share the gospel of Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of children. Whether that happens through a donkey or a hobbit, it doesn’t really matter, just as long as God is glorified.
I would totally glorify the heck out of God with a lightsaber, though.
What would you like to see as a VBS theme?