RANCOCAS, NJ – Churches throughout the region have been conducting Vacation Bible School. VBS is a signature outreach event that many churches employ during the summer months. This summer, Rancocas Valley Baptist Church, under the leadership of their pastor Mark Budka, decided to go a different route. Instead of sticking with their annual VBS, Rancocas Valley Baptist Church held a summer camp for kids named “Back Yard Bible Club.” The Back Yard Bible Club, a 3-day summer camp, was held in a local park. Participants played games, had Bible story time, participated in arts and crafts and enjoyed food and fellowship. Lifeway materials were used to help share Bible stories and share the Gospel with the camp attendees. Why did Rancocas Valley Baptist Church decide to do a Bible Club versus a Vacation Bible School? Pastor Mark Budka states “We were seeing the same kids from our church and different churches come to Vacation bible School Annually. We wanted to reach out into the community and go to where the people lived and had fun.”
To build momentum leading up to the event, RVBC held a Summer Blast Block party as a kickoff event. The purpose of the block party was to let the people in the community know about the 3-day summer camp. A variety of people attended the event including church members, neighbors, children from the neighborhood and other community members. The summer block party attracted about 60 people. The kids bounced, played games, got prizes, and ate hot dogs. The Block Party caught the attention of passersby who otherwise wouldn’t have known about the summer camp. Every parent who attended the Block Party signed their child(ren) up for summer camp!
There were a number of key players who helped ensure that the Block Party and the Back Yard Bible Club were a success. Many children and youth from RVBC invited their friends to attend. First Baptist Church of South Carolina volunteered their time, energy and resources to serve as teachers and leaders for the club. Pastor Nathan Holden from BRN PR brought the bouncy house for the block party.
Some of the highlights of the Back Yard Bible Club include the recreation times where they played kick ball, had fun with a parachute and did crafts –one time they made slime which was awesome. The parents and the kids had a good time and appreciated a break in the summer routine. Average attendance of during the week was 25 children. The biggest highlight of all is the impact that was made for the Kingdom of God. Pastor Mark reports “On the spiritual side, we did see 4 children received Jesus as their Savior. We would love to do Back Yard Bible Club in the park again.”