By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
DAVIDSONVILLE, Md.—Hot off the presses! Local church hosts Vacation Bible School (VBS).
Not really a big deal, considering that most churches host some type of VBS for elementary-aged children during the summer months. What makes this story unique is that the four-day event wasn’t designed for kids—it was for middle school and high school teenagers!
Riva Trace Church in Davidsonville, just south of Annapolis, Md., hosted its annual “Summer Madness” on June 17-20 for its “Vital Link” student ministries. The event kicked off a summer full of activities, including mission trips to the Dominican Republic and New York City, as well as the children’s VBS and sports camps.
Themed “Real World,” the free teenage VBS-type event featured a variety of games, a local band, worship and a different speaker each night.
“A majority of the time was spent worshipping God and understanding and learning from His Word,” shared Joey Ruyter, the church’s student pastor.
For the first time, the church invited both middle school and high school students together, which in Ruyter’s opinion, worked well.
“I wish we could do this event a couple times a summer,” he said, noting that teenagers craved the fun atmosphere and the structure.
“Because we opened it up, our students were able to bring more of their friends, who wouldn’t normally come to church,” he said.
Among the new guests were two friends of Christopher Jones, a teenage boy who was killed this past May by some teenagers who attacked him while he rode his bike in his nearby Crofton neighborhood.
Altogether, over 160 students, half of which were guests to Riva Trace, and 53 adults sprawled all over the church campus in a variety of activities designed to teach them about how much God loves them and how He desires to use them in real life.
Former youth pastor, Paul Crouthamel, spoke on the topic of love. To illustrate, he presented South River High School student, John Perkins, with a $10 bill and three large bags of candy, drinks and snacks.
Sending the fully loaded student back to his seat, Crouthamel shared, “John didn’t expect to get a thing tonight. He didn’t deserve it anymore than any of you.”
He explained, “God loves you so much, He overwhelms you.”
The message sank in for many. According to Charlene Bryant, volunteer registration coordinator, 33 students made decisions for Christ during the week.
To learn more about the student ministries at Riva Trace, visit online at www.vital-link.org.