By Gerry Wakeland
This week the seniors of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church have enjoyed Senior Vacation Bible School. And all week as I have talked with colleagues around the country they have asked the same question…”What is Senior Vacation Bible School? Aren’t seniors too old for Vacation Bible School?
When Pastor Michael Cook accepted the call to Albuquerque’s First Baptist church in 2006 he had a number of ideas that would revitalize our fellowship. They weren’t all about buildings and locations. Many of them were about people.
One of those ideas revealed his passion for seniors and their health and welfare. This idea has turned into one of the most popular programs for the seniors of our church. We call it Senior Vacation Bible School and yes, it is patterned after the same named program for our children.
Four days every August seniors gather at AFBC to relive a most precious time in their youth, VBS. The week is full of songs and games, laughter and tears, creativity and crafts and grounded in great Bible teaching,
The morning starts off with breakfast. Anything from biscuits and sausage gravy to homemade granola and fresh fruit might appear on the breakfast buffet.
Worship Pastor Matt Snook opens our worship time with music. This year Dr. John Hatch, former Senior Pastor at FBC Lake Jackson, TX, taught lessons on the importance of the family in today’s society. His lovely wife, Alice enhanced the morning study with song.
Our seniors love games. The most popular game of the week was the AFBC rendition of Family Feud in which the Kolle Family faced off against the French Family. Amidst a lot of laughter and coaching from the audience, the Kolle Family won. Another popular game shared secrets from our church staff. You’ll never guess who broke his finger washing his hand. And just for the record, Pastor Trey is not the only daredevil on our staff.
The men spent the week building Crayola trucks which will be given to children at the Baptist Children’s Home. Some of the women helped the men by painting the trucks. Other women created some helpful gifts such as magnets, notepads and bookmarks that will be shared with the teachers at Petroglyph Elementary and carried with the Senior Choir when they sing at nursing homes.
And of course, we ended every morning with lunch prepared by the church staff. Pastor Kevin and Pastor Michael grilled. Pastor Trey smoked pot roast and Ms. Kristi made homemade chicken and dumplings. And Susan Rasinski made her very first peach cobbler just for our seniors, and it was yummy!
Friday ended with a special treat as Matt introduced our very own Senior Gospel Quartet comprised of Jim French, Carolyn Manuelito, Gail Kirby and Matt. They shared some old favorites as everyone clapped and sang along.
It was a great week. Everyone left edified by the Word of God, encouraged by the fellowship with other believers and excitedly looking forward to next year!
It just goes to prove that you’re never too old for Vacation Bible School.