The summer tradition of Vacation Bible School for many children has been spreading to the whole family in recent years.
No longer just the typical 9 a.m. to noon activity for the children — the adults are getting into the summer fun, too.
At Bethany Baptist Church in Gainesville, Glenda Stover said it’s a great experience for the whole family
"We’ve always had classes with adults," said Stover, who teaches the teen class during VBS. "The different Bible truths that they get and anytime you study like Joshua, Gideon, Moses ... you learn a new truth. You get a little golden nugget out of there, and then the teacher can explain something and enlighten you as to things you didn’t know about Joshua and what he did in the Bible."
This year, Bethany Baptist had about 50 children attend for a week themed Soul Survivor on Danger Island. Each night of VBS, which ran from Sunday to Thursday, started with a dinner for the whole family and Bible study to follow.
First Presbyterian had their High Seas Expedition-themed VBS from June 7 to 10, and the evening classes were designed for adults and children. There was a dinner every evening and registration had to be made before May 31.
This was the second year for the adults to be included.
But at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Lula, they have taken on a new challenge — a one-day Bible school.
"Due to the economy this year, a lot of our church members are working strange hours," said Ken Wellborn, a deacon at the church. "We’ve always been traditional with a five- or six-day Bible school, so this is our first year trying the one-day Bible school.
"A lot of the kits you can buy will have ... this particular theme in three days, four days, five days or even one day."
VBS at Bethlehem Baptist is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
"We really don’t know how many children to expect; it could be 50 or 200," he said.
Yellow Creek Baptist Church in Murrayville averaged 140 adults and children during their VBS this week. Bible school director Kaye Jackson said having adults’ and children’s classes is just how they’ve always done it.
"They (adults) need to learn as much as the kids do," said Jackson, who added that the church has done VBS this way for nearly 50 years. "The children have the Soul Survivor on Danger Island and the adults study from the Bible with the pastor, the Rev. Chris Gilbert."
Central Baptist expects around 100 children and 100 adults as well as more than 30 teachers, according to longtime VBS director Helen Martin.
"I’ve always included the adults," said Martin, who began directing the church’s VBS in 1976. "I’ve always done that because I feel like if the children see adults participate, they have someone to look up to; they know it’s not just a summer thing ... but an ongoing learning process. Plus it gives the adults the opportunity for in-depth study."
This year’s theme is Saddle Ridge Ranch and will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"I just returned home from a 17-day Western tour, so I am revved up for Saddle Ridge Ranch," she said.