MVLC Bible School

Jennifer Sheldon teaches six and seven-year-olds learn a song and dance during the Mountain View Lutheran Church's Vacation Bible School on Monday, June 24, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Starting this week, numerous Ahwatukee churches are beginning their vacation Bible school programs for kids, with some leaders noticing changes in the culture of summer church programs.

With opportunities for young children all the way through teenage students, various programs emphasize the use of technology, music, dancing and other activities to engage kids.

“We meet kids where they are at,” said Pastor Jeff Zubeck, of Living Word Church. “We try out new things with our vacation Bible school, it’s fast-paced and that’s not what they are used to (with church programs.)”

Living Word, located near 50th Street and Chandler Boulevard, will offer its vacation Bible school for kids in July, though a getaway summer camp just ended for youth that included outdoor activities like mountain boarding, archery, canoeing and even riding a zipline.

“It’s a nice opportunity to get away and get unplugged for a while,” Zubeck said. “It helps them appreciate the experience.”

Meanwhile at Mountain View Lutheran Church, vacation Bible school with a cowboy theme started this week for kids and all Mountain View staff. This year, the church has all of its staff helping out for the program, as well as 80 volunteers.

Most programs around area churches are a week or more, either daytime or evening programs for kids to participate in themed activities and learning lessons similar in Sunday school-type instruction. Food, games, skits, music and crafts are also implemented, among others.

Program director Robin Moe said one of the main changes in vacation Bible school is the availability of curriculum.

“There are now ready-made curriculums for groups to use,” Moe said. “It’s great because now as a director, I’m not writing out the curriculum myself.”

Since raising her now adult children, Moe said there is more of a willingness of volunteers around church and youth outside of church to help.

“Plus using music, games and movements makes it more realistic for the kids to understand lessons,” she said. “But I think that’s where we are as a society, kids like and need something tangible.”

Various other churches around will be starting their own vacation Bible schools. For more information or to register, contact the churches directly.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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