Ashland—Rose Hill Baptist Church provided a unique gift to the Ashland community on Dec. 10.
A one-day Vacation Bible School with Santa gave parents a day to shop without the kids, who were treated to a three-hour VBS with all the Christmas trimmings, including a photograph with Santa Claus.
It was free, a way to reach out into the community and provide for those who need it. Rose Hill Pastor Matt Shamblin said the VBS With Santa piggybacked off what the church did this summer.
“We did a lot of the one-day Bible schools so it was something everybody was familiar with doing,” he said.
The church put together teams and went serving in the community where they live. Rose Hill also did the traditional one-week summer VBS but saw a need for a series of one-day VBS.
“We recognize some places in the community didn’t have access to travel on a daily basis,” he said.
So they took the VBS to the community.
The VBS With Santa is an idea that has been in the planning stages for a year, said Angie Vanover, the director of children’s ministry at the church.
“We have the best volunteer workers,” she said. “They adapted the one-day Bible clubs to what we did here. They (the volunteers) and the Lord make me look really good.”
Santa Claus made an early appearance so photographs could be taken and put in a frame for the children to take home.
The VBS was for kindergarten through fifth grade, although the 30 that came were mostly under fourth grade. “Some of them probably were too old for Santa Claus,” she said.
The gospel message of the real meaning of Christmas was taught to the children after Santa’s visit so he wasn’t the star of the day. That was reserved for the baby Jesus, Shamblin said.
“Santa is part of the way our culture celebrates Christmas,” he said. “If that gives us a means by how we can preach Jesus then that’s how we’re going to use it.”
He then added, “The original St. Nicholas was a gospel preacher.”
The VBS also had a “Star Wars” theme, taking advantage of the latest movie in the blockbuster series that came out this week. There were light saber races, asteroid hunts and even an appearance from “Holy One Kanobe.”
“I’m not sure we went into this with any expectations (of attendance),” Vanover said. “We had about 30 kids come so that’s a good start. It gives us a measuring stick for when we do it next year.”
Shamblin said the church continues to look at ways they can be involved in the Ashland area through ministry projects. He has asked his congregation to look beyond the walls of the church.
“Some of the families in our community struggle with meeting physical needs,” he said. “A lot of the kids don’t get a meal unless they’re in school. We were also able to provide each child with a lunch at the VBS.”
The VBS fed the children’s spiritual and physical needs while giving the parents a free morning to shop for the big day later in the month. (KBC/KT)