The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


‘S’ is for service

In Omaha, what was once VBS is now LYSO

Vacation Bible school has gone from a low-key week of Christian education to an adventurous spree of service in downtown Omaha, Neb., thanks to Lutheran Youth Serve Omaha (LYSO).

The program began four years ago when three ELCA churches — Kountze Memorial, St. Matthew Evangelical and St. Luke — discussed how to boost their dwindling Bible school programs. 

“Service learning was a major focus in those early meetings,” said Ian Hartfield, Kountze director of youth and young adult ministries. “We knew it had to be a major component, reaching out to not just our neighbor churches but our neighboring communities. We wanted the kids to come away from the program excited to show the light of Christ and energized to make a difference in the world.” 

The churches pooled facilities and skills “to create a ministries event like no other,” said Stacia Vawter, former director of youth ministries at St. Matthew who now servesRejoice! Lutheran in Omaha.

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February issue


Embracing diversity