By Kay Harms
Photos by Jean Bihn

Vacation Bible School leaders from all over the state gathered at Royal Palms Baptist Church in Phoenix, April 6, for the State VBS Conference.

“Arizona people provided all the training in 11 different areas of VBS,” said Kelcey Fry, who is in his first year as state VBS director. “It’s always excellent training, and we have something for every person who participates.”

Trained Arizona lay leaders and church staffers equipped the participants for this year’s curriculum from LifeWay, In the Wild. A take-off on Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth, the curriculum helps students explore Jesus’ life and get to know Him through a photo adventure.

While there were 272 participants from 47 churches at the training, the largest group, as in years past, was in the preschool area with 51 attendees. But Fry, who also serves as family pastor at HiWay Baptist Church, Mesa, reported sizable attendance in the classes for all grade school groups, missions, music, crafts and recreation as well.

“Our smallest group was nine in youth,” Fry said, “but actually that’s a good showing, considering the fact that many churches do not even offer VBS for their youth.”

Fry was also encouraged by the 75 people from 37 churches who attended the new VBS Directors Conference earlier this year. The directors were given a discount code to bring a team with them to the April training, where 29 of the 37 churches were represented.

“Vacation Bible School is still one of the biggest evangelism tools that a church can use,” Fry wrote in a post for the AZSBC’s Fuel blog. “On average, 10% of kids who attend a VBS are not associated with a church. For the average church in Arizona, that is somewhere between 5-10 new kids. Would reaching 5-10 new kids be a big deal for your church?”

In addition, Fry wrote, “LifeWay has conducted studies showing us that for every one leader trained, there is a salvation. It is just under a 1:1 ratio. Those are odds that are hard not to get behind!”