While some nonprofits take time to form, Springs Forth! is living up to its name with the publication of a Vacation Bible School program this month.
"The idea for this happened in September of 2017," said writer Carol Duerksen. "By that November, we had a board; by March 2018 we had our nonprofit status. ...And we basically spent last year creating the curriculum."
The VBS program is titled "Detectives of Divinity," after the lyrics of a song by Bryan Moyer Suderman of SmallTall Ministries. When Duerksen heard Suderman's music, she thought it was fun and would be appealing to children.
"That theme song is what inspired all the material," Duerksen said.
A team of writers and designers were involved in creating the VBS material, which Duerksen said transcends their doctrinal beliefs.
"The curriculum that we're creating is based on Bible stories," Duerksen said. "... When you're teaching Bible stories, that is (for) a much broader audience than the Mennonites who are writing it."
“Detectives of Divinity” sessions guide participants through Old and New Testament stories, discovering clues of God’s presence in the scriptures and in themselves.
"We are encouraging people of all ages to become 'Detectives of Divinity' to look for God in the Bible stories and then in their own lives here and now," Duerksen said.
Crafts, games, reproducible pages, artwork, activities, memory verses and discussion questions are included in the program, which can also be used for children’s clubs, church retreats or other learning environments. All of the resources are available online.
"For that reason, our cost is a lot less. It's probably a third of what people pay for typical curriculum," Duerksen said.
The VBS program can be used to teach young children, older children, teens and adults.
"If your congregation wants to use the children's materials for VBS, the adults can study the same stories," Duerksen said.
Each age group studies the same Bible story at their own level of comprehension.
"The point of this nonprofit is to create faith formation materials for multigenerational use," Duerksen said.
Headquartered in Newton, Springs Forth! operates under a local board. Grants from the Schowalter Foundation and other organizations, along with private donations, aided in the creation of "Detectives of Divinity"
"We hope it will take off," Duerksen said.
A "Detectives of Divinity" 13-session curriculum for first through fifth grade students is also available from Springs Forth! — and more projects are in the works.
"We will be creating a new set of curriculum for 2020," Duerksen said.
The theme for those lessons will be "Rocks My World," focusing on the stories of Peter and other rocks in the Bible.
For more information on Springs Forth! materials, visit springsforth.com or email email@example.com.