My friendship with Jesus began in a small church in Southern California, where a Sunday school teacher patiently explained how God’s Son had died to take the punishment for all my wrongdoings. Now, I’m not sure I’d lived long enough to rack up a jaw-dropping list of sins (although my mom still reminds me of the time I fingerpainted on my grandmother’s flocked wallpaper—with Vaseline) but I couldn’t get over the idea of someone taking my punishment.
And so I stepped in, beginning a relationship with Jesus that has brought me endless comfort, joy, and hope through many decades. Year after year, that friendship continues to deepen. Just when I think I’ve got Jesus figured out, he surprises me with a new insight from Scripture or “aha” moment of faith.
The kids who walk through the doors of your church this summer will all be at different depths in their friendship with God. Some kids are just stepping close to the edge of the water—maybe they’ve heard about God from that grandparent who brought them, but aren’t really sure what he’s all about. For other kids, faith may be part of everyday life. They’ve experienced the unfathomable love of God and are exploring new areas of what it means to be a disciple.
So how can you take kids—no matter where they’re at in friendship with God—into deeper relationship with him? Here’s how Scuba VBS reaches every kid.
1. Everyone’s got a dive buddy…or five!
Jesus taught crowds, but he chose a small group to disciple. Big things happen in small groups! That’s why kids at Scuba travel in small, mixed-age Crews of no more than five. Small groups allow for discussion, friendship-building, and a safe place for questions. Adult or teenage Crew Leaders get a sense of where each child is at in his or her relationship with God and can guide conversations that are rich and meaningful.
Educators and children’s ministry leaders report that today’s kids are struggling with relational skills. While we can point to covid-related isolation, social anxiety, technology distractions, or even poor role models—the truth is that we need to give kids solid opportunities to practice what it means to make and be a friend. Small group Crews can do that!
2. Relationship-building happens on porpoise—um, purpose!
Rather than covering an ocean of Bible content, each day focuses on one memorable and relevant Bible truth, called the Bible Point. Everything from games to snacks ties back to the exact words of the Bible Point. That means kids who are new to church get a simple, succinct connection to God, while those who have a longer friendship with God can take that truth to new depths. For example, the Day 1 Bible Point is “God is a friend who is real.” For a child coming to church for the first time, this may be a new concept! And someone who’s a regular attender will get to explore what that means to everyday life, how to share that truth with others, and how to pray for those who don’t believe God is real.
This simple method taps into two things that help kids learn more—simplicity and repetition. Hearing that Bible truth over and over makes it memorable, and more importantly, moves it from the head to the heart! That’s where we want faith to take root. Think of the Bible Point as a way to create fertile soil where God’s Word can dig in and grow. Plus, kids who know those truths will explore them from new and surprising angles in every station, strengthening those roots.
3. One Bible Point lets you go deeper.
Now, more than ever, things feel out of control. As adults process shocking news stories, division, stress, and uncertainty, kids are absorbing that tidal wave of emotions. Children’s’ fears can show up as separation anxiety, acting out, or physical manifestations like stomach aches. Psychologists agree that kids find comfort in knowing that someone is in control, steering things with confidence and compassion. In a world where problems seem overwhelming, it’s encouraging to know that God is greater! He’s mighty, powerful, and in charge of all we see. As Paul reminded the church in Colossae, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)
The Impact on Kids? When kids have the reassurance that God is in control, worries don’t have the same effect on them. Troubles do come, but kids can trust that a loving God is still in charge. Kids will anchor their hearts in God, rather than let storms of anxiety knock them down. Watch kids trade fear for faith!
4. Open-ended questions let everyone dive in.
Too often we follow up our lesson by asking kids to recite Bible facts. After a story about Elijah and the prophets of Baal, we might ask “How many prophets were there?” or “What was the name of the god the prophets worshipped?” Those are closed-ended questions, meaning there’s one right answer…and only one person gets to share. End of conversation.
At Scuba, kids explore open-ended questions—thought-provoking, challenging, and interesting questions designed so everyone can dive into the conversation. And as kids talk, they’re growing in faith and understanding about God. They’re discovering what it means to follow him. Kid who don’t know much about God are hearing what Christian kids share. Leaders can chime in with their own stories about what it means to live as a Jesus-follower. Surprising faith discoveries happen when we ponder deeper questions together!
Kids will come to your VBS expecting wild water games, a colorful coral reef, sea-themed snacks, and oceans of fun. In the midst of all that, you get to take them deeper into friendship with God. One child may be just dipping his toe into the waters of faith for the first time. Another may be knee-deep in a relationship with Jesus—enjoying the waves of joy and delight in a newfound friend. And other kids have cannonballed into the deep blue, exploring the depths of what it means to follow God forever.
This summer, reach them all. Take each one a bit deeper into friendship with God.
Take Your VBS Deeper Than Ever Before!
Scuba Ultimate Starter Kits
Group’s Easy VBS 2024 takes kids deep into an amazing undersea adventure where they’ll experience the ever-flowing, never-ending love of God. At Scuba VBS, kids will be immersed in the word and discover what living water is really all about!
You CAN do it! And we’re here to help! Group offers a complete children’s ministry hub of resources you need…especially when it comes to VBS! Best of all, we’re always here to help. Call us with any ministry-related problem, and we’ll help you find a solution. Call our experienced and helpful support team at 1-800-447-1070.