FARMINGTON — For many Christians, vacation bible school is one of the highlights of summer

San Juan County churches are offering various activities as part of vacation bible school this year.

Each church chooses a theme to focus on for the week.

Pastor Dan Mauldin of Grace Baptist Church said his church rotates through themes. This year the theme will be "Under the Sea."

The church's vacation bible school will go from 9 a.m. to noon starting July 21.

The class will focus on the Biblical prophet Jonah.

Mauldin said Jonah is one of the Biblical characters who is easy to relate to.

"God tells us what to do and sometimes we don't like it," Mauldin said.

Chelsea Cresswell, the children's director at Cross Roads Community Church, said vacation bible study is popular partially because of tradition. Parents remember going to VBS, as it is called, and having fun there so they send their children to VBS, she said.

"It's a fun way to learn about God and his word," Cresswell said.

This year Cross Roads Community Church is using a curriculum developed by the Go Fish Guys, a Christian group that focuses on developing curriculum for VBS. Cresswell said the church was excited to learn they had a new curriculum out, "Shine," which the church will use this year.

"We have used Go Fish Guys in the past and the kids love them," Cresswell said.

She said the music that goes along with the program is more contemporary and the activities are kid-friendly.

Shine focuses on the Bible verse Psalm 34:5 "All those who believe in Him will be radiant."

"Each day the kids will learn about a different 'crown,'" Cresswell said.

The first crown focused on will be the Crown of Victory, based on 1 Corinthians 9:25, which says, "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."

Other crowns include the Crown of Life, Crown of Rejoicing, Crown of Glory and Crown of Righteousness

Cresswell said the program includes making a snack in the shape of a crown as well as other crown-related activities.

The crowns, however, are symbolic for the children, she said.

"It's how we give glory to God instead of glory to ourselves," Cresswell said.

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL SCHEDULES

Cross Roads Community Church: 9 a.m. to noon June 2 through 6 at 2400 N. Butler Ave. in Farmington. More info: 505-325-2600

Farmington First Presbyterian Church: 5:30 to 8 p.m. June 9 through 13 at 865 N. Dustin Ave. in Farmington. More info: 505-327-5231

Farmington First Baptist Church: 9 a.m. to noon June 16 through 20 at 121 N. Auburn Ave. in Farmington. More info: 505-325-4528

Bible Baptist Church: 6:30 p.m. June 16 through 19 at 208 Newman Ave. in Aztec. More info: 505- 334-6395

Emmanuel Baptist Church: 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. June 23 through 27 at 211 W. 20th St. in Farmington. More info: 505-327-4771

Bloomfield First United Methodist Church: 9 to 11:45 a.m. July 21 through 25 at 1105 N First St. in Bloomfield. More info: 505-632-3732

Grace Baptist Church: 9 a.m. to noon July 21 through 25 at 2200 N. Sullivan Ave. in Farmington. More info: 505-325-7802

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.