By Sharon Mager, BaptistLIFE Correspondent
BALTIMORE, Md.—Riverside Baptist Church (RBC) is in the midst of their annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Riverside Park this week from 10 am to noon through Friday. The youth of White Marsh Baptist Church (WMB) partners with Riverside, leading the program.
On Sunday, a WBC youth team distributed about 1000 VBS flyers in the Riverside neighborhood. Some people are ready and waiting. White Marsh Baptist Pastor to Students Andy Dyer said after being in the park year after year, people recognize the church team and know what they’re doing and anticipate the VBS.
In addition to community outreach, Dyer said it’s a great opportunity for the WMB youth to serve.
The teens are well prepared. White Marsh has their youth VBS a week prior to the whole church preparing the youth to be able to be helpers during the following church-wide VBS week.
“We give them a good head start,” Dyer said.
At Riverside Park, the youth step up to lead under the supervision of adults. Adults transport the team from White Marsh to Riverside with pre-packed snacks in coolers at 8 am and the team bustles to prepare for their students. Dyer said he is pleased with LifeWay’s AgencyD3 curriculum this year and he especially likes having a single memorization verse for the week. The team is strategic in focusing on the biblical theme.
“We bring lots of frisbees and balls to keep the children active but we link all of our activities back to the Bible study,”Dyer said.
Daycare providers bring children for the week. Dyer said many of the kids are too young to attend but the church allows the children to participate if their providers stay, thus being able to minister to the adults along with the children. Also, older siblings hang out giving the team more sharing opportunities.
RBC members support the youth team and serve them daily lunches at Riverside Church. The church building is also the backup meeting place in the event of inclement weather.
Ward Holland, pastor of RBC, is pleased with the partnership. The VBS draws about 30 children, which Holland said is a good turnout considering the demographics. Holland said he remembers in the 80s the church had over 100 students at VBS but the community changed, Holland said, with more young childless professionals living in the area.
Dyer said the team works to plug the children and their families into the church. Riverside members follow up with the families of the VBS children.