Young children praised God through song and dance in the Sanctuary at Calvary Church Thursday night. The worship service culminated Vacation Bible School (VBS), a week-long program that encourages kids to discover and feed their faith.
The service was followed by a Family Fun Night where children and their parents enjoyed free hot dogs, delicious salads and soups from the Hungry, Inc. food truck, ice cream from Valpo Velvet, and cotton candy hand spun by Sticky Fingers Candy Company.
"Vacation Bible School often plants a seed of faith," Director of Children's Ministry at Calvary Victoria Evans said. "We have kids here who have never been to church before. Some kids water the seeds, and we often get the opportunity to see the seeds flourish. It's wonderful to see faith take root in a child's heart."
Evans has overseen VBS at Calvary for last five years. During that time, she has seen children learn the message of the gospel is a variety of ways.
"The kids learned through music, crafts, story time, games, and even snack time," Evans said. "Each night they discovered the evidence that Jesus Christ is real and what that means for us today."
VBS had a special agent theme. Children pretended they were secrets agents trained to defend the faith. As part of the D3 special agent team, kids learned to discover, decide, and defend their beliefs.
"They discovered who Jesus was. They were taught to decide whether or not the Bible is the truth about Jesus," Pastor of Family Ministry Josh Reasoner said. "They were also encouraged to defend their faith, to understand what they believe so they can explain it and share it."
Jessica Lewis is a volunteer and congregation member at Calvary. She grew up in the church and has fond memories of her own days in VBS.
"I love that Calvary has taken VBS to this level. It's really exciting and great to see little kids enjoying God like this," Lewis said. "We want to share the gospel with all ages of kids, even those who are too young to read. We use pictures, games, and crafts to share the word."
At the Family Fun Night, kids enjoyed bouncy houses, an inflatable obstacle course, airbrush tattoos, balloon animals, a dunk tank, a professional photo booth, and many more activities. By making the church appealing to young children, Calvary is able to make their message of faith and love relevant to people of all ages.
"We strive to be real, rooted, and relevant. Really, our focus is changing lives," Evans said.
VBS plays a crucial role in making Calvary a warm, welcoming place to worship.
"VBS is our key outreach component in our children's ministry because it gives the opportunity to invite other family, friends, and kids in and make them feel welcome and connected," Reasoner said. "This family fun night is really the high point of the week. We want to connect other families to our family here in the church."
Family Fun Night and VBS both serve to bring families together in the greater family of God.
"People come to the church looking for connections, looking for friendship. We hope to create a family here, and it really is a wonderful place to bring your family," Reasoner said.