CONTINENTAL — When sin and temptation are at your door, who’re you gonna call? Sinbusters!
— the Call to Duty” was the theme of Vacation Bible School at Free
Christian Church of God, located at 20799 Ohio 15, Continental. It is
based on the popular movie, “Ghostbusters.” 296 children, ages four to
17, attended the week long event every evening, Aug. 4-8, from 6 to 8:45
p.m. For the first time, there was also an adult class, because many of
the children who aged out of Bible school wanted to still be included
in the program. Children came from Continental, Ayersville, Leipsic,
McComb, Ottawa, Paulding, and Van Wert. A church bus even traveled to a
Defiance apartment complex to transport children to the Bible school.
Pastor James Fry, who founded the church in 1986, was never impressed
with the pre-packaged Bible school curriculums. He always added and
enhanced the lessons.
Twenty years ago, while on a trip to Universal Studios, Pastor Jim went into the “Ghostbusters” attraction.
that program — something just hit me that Sinbusters would be a good
idea,” he described. I thought I would just put a Bible school
That year, Pastor Jim got flight suits, crafted Bible
Proton Packs, and rounded up smoke machines and flashing lights to
imitate the popular movie and its characters. He put different words to
the tune of “Ghostbusters”.
“Parents’ chins hit the floor,” he grinned. “It was the strangest vacation Bible school they ever saw.”
explained the church did not have many members back then or much space.
They discovered by rotating the children through different stations,
such as music, activities, lessons, and drama, they could minister to
the children with fewer helpers. “We didn’t think the kids like teachers
standing in front, giving a lecture,” Fry stated.
He came to the
realization he would never purchase a pre-packaged Bible school
curriculum again. Fry began writing comedy-drama lessons, where adults
would dress in costume to act out the intended message. The stage was
completed with backdrops and props.
And the children loved it.
“The kids would laugh!” Fry enthused. “They didn’t understand that was
the lesson.” Fry has written such curriculums as “Independent Jones and
the Search for Eternal Life,” “The Grouch Who Stole Christianity,” “101
Salvations,” and “Monsters Incapacitated.” Pastor Jim comes up with the
main ideas for the curriculums. “The people who work on this have been
with me long enough and can get in my head. Then it all comes together,
hopefully like it was in my head. When the kids walk into the sanctuary,
I want them to say, ‘Wow!’” Fry declared.
The Bible school uses
every available space in the church. Children are divided by age into
classrooms. The adult teachers/helpers decorate their own classrooms
uniquely, some even coming in the week before the event to prepare. This
year, some of the rooms were adorned with a giant marshmallow man made
of balloons or green slime or silhouettes of a city. All of them had
Bible verses pertaining to the lessons. The lessons are developed to
three different levels of understanding, according to the children’s
Fry admitted he would not be able to pull off the Bible
school without the 157 adults who helped each evening. Volunteers gave
of their time and talents through technology, costuming, teaching,
organizing, and snack preparation.
Fry believes that children are the church’s greatest asset, and treats them as such.
give away hundreds of pounds of candy, t-shirts, and big snacks,” he
divulged. “We spend around $4,000 on Bible school. I believe we are
having an influence on other church’s Bible schools.”
is willing to lend his curriculums to other churches free of charge. His
brother, Robert, is a pastor in Toledo. Through utilizing Pastor Jim’s
VBS curriculums, Robert increased his attendance four times over in two
years. Although there has been a different theme for Bible school every
year for the past 20 years, “Sinbusters” was a repeat of the first
year’s curriculum, albeit an improved version. The church is building an
addition that will include a new, larger sanctuary.
“This is the last year to do VBS in this sanctuary,” Fry concluded. “We thought it was appropriate to do “Sinbusters” again.”