Posted by: Scott | Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Vacation Bible School in Wapiti, WY

This post is a little late, but I wanted to say everything just right! Sorry.
June 12-17 was quite a week. For starters, I got to experience sleeping during the night and being up during the day (I could get used to that). The reason for that oddity in my schedule was a little thing called Vacation Bible School (which was held June 13-16).

This is the third year that we have not used a pre-published curriculum. Kate, a former Christian school teacher, has written our curriculums these few years, each over a year’s time and now we are planning to start rotating through them.

This year’s theme was on laying up treasures in Heaven. The plot for the week starts out with the kids touring the Good Ship Faithful, a merchant ship which is in port to load provisions of food and water. A package is delivered from an uncle of one of the crew. The uncle has passed on, but the good news is that he was a well-known pirate that had accepted Jesus as his Savior. One thing he wanted to get right but was unable to was returning a treasure he stole long ago. The tourists are promoted to crew members (much of the ship’s crew is on shore leave) and the journey to the Caribbean begins, but not before another pirate steals a clue and issues a challenge. The whole week, we raced the Mefirst, led by pirate Captain Jack Self.

Some may object to the use of pirates. Before you do, let me explain that we portrayed the pirate crew as bad people. Historically, pirates are bad. Our pirates cheated in the race, doing all sorts of bad things (stealing clues, doubloons [coins rewarded to the kids for good deeds, good answers, saying verses….], and even one day they stole our penny offering). One day they stole the snack (not to worry, we had a back-up plan).

We broke a lot of VBS traditions this year:

  • This year, we didn’t do the traditional red team vs. blue team (or whatever color scheme you want to insert). We did the Faithful vs. the Mefirst. All the kids were crew of the Faithful, working together toward a common goal: beating the pirates – – “bad guys” – – to the treasure.
  • This was not out of concern for political correctness as is seen in many school sporting events concerned that one team might feel bad if they are labeled as the team that lost. This trial run of the kids being on the same team was because dividing them up just didn’t fit the theme.
  • We also didn’t reward tens of thousands points for this or that (winning games, saying verses, brining a visitor, having the heaviest bucket of pennies, etc…). Again, it just didn’t fit, plus that gets to be a cumbersome task for the one in charge of tracking it.
  • Verses were not just said at a particular time in the day. Any teen or adult leader could ask at any time any of the kids to say any verse that child was responsible for to that point. Questions could be asked about the verses, they could be asked to match a reference with a verse or vice-versa. Doubloons were rewarded instead of points. Doubloons were key as we tallied them to move the ship closer to the treasure at the end of each day. Result: the kids learned the verses beyond the first day they had to say them

In case you are wondering we didn’t break the tradition of the bad guy getting saved at the week’s end, and as a sign of Jack Self’s repentance, he and his crew returned the pennies so that we can send them to IBM missionary (currently in St. Lucia) and IBC graduate Roger Papius (also a friend of mine).

We were blessed to have the help of not only our own teens and adults, but also the Sr. High teens from Highlands Baptist Church. They filled in doing whatever needed to be done, plus doing a youth activity over a few nights. We had good fellowship in the few free moments we had and it was a pleasure to have them ministering with us.

Next year is our military theme. Our trial run of no points/us vs. them went better than planned, so Kate will be reworking a few details. Should be fun when it’s VBS season at Wapiti again!



  1. […] At Vacation Bible School this year, we talked about Heaven. I have to admit, I hadn’t put much thought into Heaven, other than as of the summer of 1988  knowing I would go there when I die and that I would get to see my Aunt Stephanie and now Grandpa. A month later, Dad saw me at work while he was shopping so he could do an oil change on Mom’s car. The next day, she would be heading to Pueblo, as Grandpa had checked into the ER with pneumonia. Grandpa had been in the hospital before, and he’s pulled through, so I figured let him recover and Mom will be back. She was mainly there to help out Grandma. […]

  2. thanks for the help iam a second time vbs director with a small church and even smaller budget we have @ 15 in our youth group but this past vbs we avg @150 each night -big deal for us so thans again for your help -cb

  3. I was googling Pirate theme VBS when I came across your blog. I belong to an inner-city church in Chicago, and we are planning on having a Pirate theme for VBS this year. I was wondering if it would be possible to get a copy of the curriculum that your church used for this theme. I would really appreciate any help that you could give me by letting me know who I need to get in contact with to try and get a copy of the curriculum. Thank you very much.

  4. Hi–I am doing VBVS in our little church this summer and want to do a pirate theme. Is it possible to gain more information about your curriculum?? I was planning on writing one but wondered if there are aspects of yours that you could share with us. -Thank you–Debbie S.

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