NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kids will head out west for VBS 2010.
“Saddle Ridge Ranch” is the 2010 Vacation Bible School destination where participants will be roundin’ up questions and drivin’ home answers. Set among snowcapped peaks and wide open spaces, the Bible study focus will be on questions real kids ask: “Who am I? Does God care about me? What is God’s plan for me? How can I be like Jesus? What do I do now?”
The VBS 2010 Scripture is James 1:5: “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him” (HCSB).
The video for LifeWay’s VBS 2010 follows the adventures of four young cowboys and cowgirls and their wrangler friend, Jed, as they discover that the best adventure is more than riding horses or looking for rattlers — it’s about discovering Jesus who wants to be the Lord of their lives.
Jeff Slaughter, who has written the music for VBS the past 14 years and performed in each of the 12 music videos that have been produced, set the Saddle Ridge Ranch segments in fields, by lakes and near snowcapped mountains to teach not only the music and lyrics, but the motions as well.
“The kids get so much out of (the instructional musical videos),” Slaughter said. “Some are fun and silly and others are more serious and thoughtful. Sometimes I mess up and we just leave in those bloopers. The kids seem to think it’s fun when I make mistakes. I just laugh about it, too.”
The CLazyU, a working 9,000-acre guest ranch near Granby, Colo., serves as the backdrop for the VBS video.
Lynne Norris, LifeWay’s producer for the VBS video, said the ranch location helped the video come alive for the children.
“Watching almost 200 horses run down the street of the ranch is a beautiful sight,” Norris said. “The run — the ‘jingle’ — happens twice a day on the ranch as the horses are moved from the corral during the day to the pasture at night, and we had the opportunity to use that as part of our story.”
Bill Cox, VBS video director, said it does so much more than entertain. “Children today know their world through media so they respond to what they see and hear on screen. They connect with visual stories,” Cox said. “This story, the video message, teaches them a valuable lesson on sharing and caring like Jesus.”
Paul Klees, who plays Jed the wrangler in the video, really is a wrangler at the CLazyU. Klees, who graduated from college last year with a degree in economics and management, also serves as project manager at the ranch.
“I grew up loving horses and love working with them on the ranch,” Klees said, “so even when I graduated from college, I didn’t want to give that up.”
Taryn Gardner, comfort and amenities coordinator at the ranch, coordinated the local casting auditions in Granby and encouraged Klees to try out.
“He’s cute and has a great personality,” Gardner said. “I’ve seen how he really plays to the audience at our talent show nights here at the ranch.”
Klees said he was hesitant, but auditioned anyway. He got the part and, after filming completed, said he had a great time, but added, “I think I’ll keep my day job.”
The video is an important part of the total VBS experience, Norris noted. “It is important to remember that VBS is not just one thing, but a combination of many parts,” she said. “It’s five days of Bible study, missions, recreation, evangelism, crafts, music, the video and so much more. No part of our VBS program is ‘fluff.’ Everything ties together. We want churches and the children to get everything possible out of VBS.”
She added, “As we shoot the video I can’t help but think about … kids who will be touched for Christ by the music and the storyline. It is really my prayer that every song, every motion and every word will be a blessing.”
Churches who use the Club VBS resource for 2010, meanwhile, will go on a wild cross-country adventure from the nation’s capital to Southern California on Route 254, finding that their destination isn’t determined by miles traveled, but in a relationship with Jesus. Route 254 is an updated version of the popular Ramblin’ Road Trip VBS theme.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — House is a corporate communications specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.)