BROOKSVILLE — Finding and buying a program to use for a vacation Bible school program can be costly and time-consuming for churches. The folks at Community Bible Church have a solution: Download the program they have created for free.
"We are a group of believers committed to helping children know Jesus Christ as Lord and grow in him. And we want to make it affordable for every church," says a write-up at the program's website, totallyfreevbs.com/aboutus.aspx.
The program, called "Backstage Pass: All Access," offers everything needed for a Bible school program, including manuals, instructions for the director, a sound track and lyric videos, decorating ideas, scripted sessions, craft and snack ideas, and games.
To use the five-day program, a church will turn its sanctuary into "Studio 210", a movie studio named for the theme verse in Ephesians 2:10 — "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
The action takes place "backstage" on "soundstages" as well as in "props," "central casting" and on the "back lot." Snacks are offered at the "commissary."
"The fun really kicks in when the kids enter Soundstage B and get to produce their own music videos to the week's original sound track," says the website. "The red carpet Friday Night Premiere is the culmination of an exciting week of learning and fun."
Amid all the fun, children will be learning they have a role, too, and they have "all access" to God to find his purpose for their lives.
Each day will feature an Old Testament character who reflects the theme and application for that day.
The production of the program began a year and a half ago when Becca Wylupek, who created and wrote most of the curriculum, teamed up with Tammy Spedden, a pastor's wife, who wrote and produced the music, to create the program. The two had worked together before, co-producing a program at the Children's Television Network about 15 years ago.
Wylupek, who has been active in the children's ministry at her church for five years, has also written and produced for other children's television programs through CTN and was an associate producer and writer for the Worship Network.
"Tammy is the worship leader at her church and has also participated and placed very high in the Dove songwriting competition for new songwriters," Wylupek said. "She may use this sound track as a catalyst to produce an album with her children."
Wylupek said the sound track was sent to Nashville for some professional input.
"We are very excited about how great it turned out," she said. "People can hear clips of each song at the website. This sound track is also downloadable and free. I'm also creating videos of the lyrics for each song that will be available to the churches."
Michelle Brandhuber, at the church, also helped develop the curriculum, lending her creativity to the Auditioner Skits and the Decorations Manual.
"This is a VBS curriculum that we are very excited about," Wylupek said. "The children will discover that everyone has a part to play in God's Kingdom. They will learn that God has created them each in a unique way with a special set of gifts that he wants to use for his glory."
The website emphasizes that the church is not selling any products and there is no fee to download the curriculum. Already, churches in Georgia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma are using the program.
"We know of a church in England and a group in Kenya that will be using the curriculum this year," Wylupek said. "We are also working with a man in Costa Rica who is working on translating the material into Spanish, and he will distribute it to rural churches [there]. This is what the Body of Christ can do when we work together!"
The pastor at Community Bible Church, the Rev. Carl Brown, said his church is doing this as a mission.
"Our church is quite mission-minded," he said. "This was one of the things we budgeted for, and it's exciting to see it go out around the world."