Let's hear from you!

Katie DeCilloWe love to hear what you have to say about VBS -- the great and awesome things God is doing through VBS, as well as what you like and dislike about this year's material.

Using the Rafflecoper widget below, leave a comment on this post:

  1. Tell us one COLOSSAL thing God did during VBS 2013.
  2. Tell us one thing you LOVED about VBS 2013.
  3. Tell us one thing you hope to see changed in the future.

Know that you can send us feedback any time at lifewayvbs@lifeway.com and I'll pass along your feedback directly to our VBS team.

Thank you for working SO hard to make VBS a success this summer!  If you leave a comment below, you'll be eligible to win one of five copies of Wholly Kids.

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  1. Leslie says

    1. This year's VBS theme was awesome! It really brought our little church together. We were able to use everyone in our church.
    2. I really enjoyed that the focal verse was our verse to learn from all week and that the lessons went in a line and didn't jump all over the place.
    3. Our least favorite thing and hopefully will be better next year is the instructional videos for the music. The theme music was good, but the ones doing the moves were very stilted and didn't seem to know what they were doing. It was almost like they learned it 15 min before taping.

  2. Kim says

    1. My 9 year old daughter accepted Christ as her Savior on Wed night of our VBS!!!!!
    2. I LOVED the music this year! I loved the theme verse.
    3. I'm the craft director and I just didn't like most the craft suggestions. I also had a hard time finding crafts from other places that were age appropriate for older kids. I'd love some better ideas for older and younger kids.

    • AAaA says

      I wasn't very impressed with the crafts either at first, but chose to use Lifeway's suggestions and kits anyway. The kids are loving them. I teach 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who are excited to try each craft and love playing with what they have made! Lifeway kid tests all of their crafts and I can always count on their expertise.

  3. Nadine Beach Skinner says

    Colossal thing - brought kids to our church who have been well behaved

    Loved - one verse for the whole week

    Dislike - some of the songs are too high and too long - they seem to go on and on (like Ride of Your Life) and the extra verses makes some of them hard to learn in a short period of time

  4. Amy Sherrod says

    We are right now in the middle of our VBS. I have the VBS Director for 8 years and this is the first year to use Lifeway's theme. I loved, loved, loved, how everything was laid out for me as the director. So far we have had 5 to accept Jesus as their Savior. I really don't like the music. I like the more fun catchy tunes that are easy for the kids to pick up. This music seemed to be too over their heads and too long.

  5. says

    We're halfway thru our VBS. I loved the single memory verse but the videos and music didn't seem to tie together very well, and the songs were too long for the short time given to learn them. Looking forward to next year's theme!

  6. CLAUDIE says

    I enjoy VBS & this years theme is so fun. Right now we are working on decorations. Ours start July 21. It always amazes me how well everyone works together during VBS. All aspects of the church get envolved with planning and working. It gives the adults an opportunity to be kids again. Even though decorations are fun & we get to be part of the kids life for the week. The most important part is the lives that God touches and the Salvations made. Can't wait to see what God has in store for us this year, as we Face Our Fears, And Trust God.

  7. says

    We are currently in VBS now. Everyone is having a great time.

    I found the craft kits this year to be very disappointing. Most of them were flimsy paper and not worth purchasing. The kits not separated into individual packages as in previous years, was also a turn off to us using them. This was the biggest reason we opted not to purchase them as in years past, othere than "The Face Your Fears bookmark" as there was no way to do the craft to size at a cost cheaper than the craft kit. The fact that we would have to open them all and pre-assemble them for fast and easy distribution during VBS made it not cost effective for us as we would not be able to return the left over "unopened" craft kit bulk packages after VBS if they were not needed.
    The Preschool Firework Kazoo craft kit was a total failure as it used too stiff of cardstock that would not roll easily into the required tube for the craft nor would it glue without puckering or popping back open regardless of what used to secure it. Definitely not Preschooler friendly.

  8. says

    God did several COLOSSAL things during our recent VBS. High enrollment (285); large number of volunteers (68 total); over 12 men volunteered; and 5 salvations. We all loved the single focus of one Biblical Character & one book of Scripture in the Bible Studies this year. We also really loved the tie-in between the Bible stories and the snacks. Thank you!

  9. Deborah Roberts says

    God done amazing things at our VBS. We have chosen the Club VBS for the past several years as our program of choice. It is a simpler, no nonsense program that our children really do enjoy. It keeps them from doing the same VBS all summer long in the area churches. We had 7 children accept salvation this year and there were many more seeds of interest planted. I do wish however that there was more materials provided for the Club VBS themes than what was offered this year for Jungle Jaunt. Club VBS is a very popular program at our church and I would hate to see it not be around in the future. Jungle Jaunt all the way!!!

    • vbsguy says

      Deborah, great report concerning Club VBS and especially the 7 professions of faith.

      I hate to be the bearer of disappointing news, but this is the last year for Club. We have learned over the last few years that the majority of churches purchasing Club are using it for ministry opportunities other than VBS. So we have created something entirely new and different that can still be used for VBS but is flexible enough to be used for many other ministry opportunities as well. I can't tell you too much about it today because we are keeping it under wraps until August, but I will say that I think you are going to like it!

  10. Kimberly says

    1. VBS this year has allowed me to not only grow closer to my new church family, but also in my walk with God as I have prepared for our week.
    2. I love SEVERAL things about VBS this year. I LOVE how the songs are tied to each days lessons. I LOVE how Missions focuses on 2 certain families all week. I LOVE the Motto and verse that goes with it! I LOVE that we are focusing on Paul's journey.
    3. I think that the leader books could be broken down more easily for first time teachers! I have had several new workers who were completely confused by the layout for each night!

  11. Joyce C. says

    1. Colossal God - 27-30 visitors per night with avg. attendance of 46 kids per night. 13 kids made decisions - 9 for salvation and baptism and 4 for baptism!
    2. Love one focal verse for the week for Bible study!
    3. Crafts needs improvement. We only used the Facing Fear bookmark this year, because we knew the kids would not throw it away after they got home. Unfortunately most the crafts are not crafts that will not fall apart immediately or will be thrown away as soon as they leave. Every year we come up with most if not all of the crafts ourselves so the kids make something that's fun and will last longer than a few minutes.

  12. says

    1. More youth leading
    2. Theme
    3. The state training is NOT as good as it once was and the CO team doesn't do anything to help get churches involved. Every year less and less come to the trainings and more and more churches are NOT doing VBS. Please get some new leaders who are EXCITED about VBS and willing to go that extra mile to promote VBS. I had to search out the training this year and found out about it a week before they had it (so my team couldn't make it).

  13. says

    We are in the middle of our VBS week and loving everything about it! This has been a great week! The theme, memory verse, the fact that the lessons didn't jump from around in the bible helped to make it a great time of learning. We are loving the music and it is easy to learn. We love the theme song and how when you think it's over, it's not! Just like riding a roller coaster - when you think you're about to get off it takes off again! Fun!! We will be carrying this theme out through the summer months in our children's ministry! You did a great job! Can't wait til next year!!
    I would love to see a video for training our leaders in the use of the materials rather than trying to get everyone to go to boring training that proves to be not useful!
    Love you guys!!

  14. says

    We just finished with a week long evening VBS. Such a crazy, but awesome time with the kids, teachers and volunteers. We even had a possibility of a child with chickenpox, but Praise God, no outbreaks. This years theme was one of the best ever and the enthusiasm of the little souls we were privileged to work with was worth every tired night. Like sponges, they soaked up Bible Study and Worship music like fishes to water. Our prayer is that the seeds planted this past week will continue to grow and flourish. God is so good!

  15. Ellen says

    We had our VBS 2 weeks ago and two children accepted Jesus as their Savior!!
    We taught 3rd and 4th graders and loved them!
    Jeff needs to come back and do the music. Having children do it just doesn't work very well

  16. Stephanie says

    What worked well with VBS--lots-- the story of Paul, the pre-made decorations and the classroom kits, the mission videos (following 2 families all week), snacks, rec games, closing skits/closing ceremony and we had several decisions in kids we have been working with for years.
    What didn't work well or was disliked--lack of solid memory verses. If churches only want one verse, they can drop down to one, but leave the verses in for those of us who want to challenge the kids to learn and grow more. Some kids love memorizing verses. The music was very repetative, lacked "meat", no verses in them when kids learn well through music. Not even the theme song had the verse just chunks of phrases that the kids did not associate with the verse. In a world that is running from God--we should be exposing and teaching the kids about the Bible in many forms. The instuctional DVD for music/worship rally was awful-- need to demonstrate the whole song. The only song totally demonstrated was Yes to VBS. The kids section showing the motions was messy and confusing. There really needs to be the section in it that was dropped this year--the one where the instructor goes through the whole song--showing the proper motions to mirror from the beginning to the end. Lastly, the teacher for the Pre-K class had to really rework sections of the lesson and activities for much of it was above the Pre-K age range she was teaching. There is some thought that we need to look at other VBS material for next year--even though we have only ever used Lifeway material in the past because some major chucks of the program were lacking.

  17. says

    1. We were so excited that we had 26 kids make a commitment for Christ!
    11 kids recommitted their lives and took a stand for Christ.

    2.Loved the music. The kids loved singing, motions and worshiping as a group! Also, loved having a program for 2's & 3's, we had 37 toddlers between the two ages.

    3. We purchased our crafts at other sources. Not a fan of crafts offered. We also had large group and the Bible rotation was not easy to adapt. We had 225 kids K-6th grade.

  18. Nicole says

    We had our VBS the 1st week. Kids help raise $4000 for our Baptist Children's Home's playground. I really liked that we had one verse so the kids can hide God's Word in their hearts!

  19. Debbie Woolsey says

    1. We had a young man accept Christ tonight.
    2. We had a young man accept Christ tonight.
    3. The music needs help from start to finish. This is my 7th year doing music and this year's music is the most disappointing. The songs seem so much longer, and it seems like so often the motions are just waving our arms around with no real connection to the words we're singing. I actually added up the time of all the songs from this year and last year, and this year's total is only about 20 seconds more, but it SEEMS like a lot longer because of the way the songs are arranged. Plus, two verses on some of the songs are a bit too much. "I Will Trust You" was particularly long with the "'tis so sweet" part.

    Every year, after we have done the night's song, we allow the kids to pick a favorite song. This year we have not had time to do that very often even though we have the same amount of time allotted to us as always, and when we do, the kids just don't have any favorites. Usually there are several that the kids really like. Tonight, I had a boy request a song from LAST year. They're just not excited about the music. I know that they pick up on cues from the adults, so I always keep my thoughts to myself, and our adults do the motions too, but the music just doesn't grab them this year. Too much of the same thing over and over.

    The motions being taught on the video and the motions in the teaching book are not always the same. The children in the video don't do the motions right, and they are backwards from what we need. I think the reason they look so "stilted" as one previous poster mentioned, is they rarely looked at the camera. They were too focused on the person showing them the motions who was obviously off to the side of the camera. That is why they need an enthusiastic adult in the middle who can do the motions. They watch the adult, the adult looks at the camera.

  20. says

    1) The kids were so excited by the theme & lessons!!! My 4 yr old was telling me all about Paul...and couldn't wait for Paul to come visit their class (one of our young adults was dressing up like Paul and going into classes...answering questions and sharing)
    2) The music is GREAT!
    3) The crafts were a struggle. I am the set designer and the craft team leader. I reworked all of them....and developed different projects for different developmental appropriateness. I'm an elementary art teacher(have been for 16 yrs)...so it is easier for me to do so. I live in Nashville,TN...and would be more than happy to help out with developing lessons that are affordable and appropriate!!!

    • David Longstreth says


      You did an AWESOME job! And so did Shana. Wonderful to serve alongside you at NH.

      Amy changes the motions a little bit so the kids aren't just waving their arms around. She changed a few of the motions to fit the concepts a bit better and to teach the song's meaning a little more clearly. I thought it was a great theme, and kids heard the Gospel and responded!

  21. Tanya Black says

    Our VBS ends this Friday and it's really hard to believe the week is almost over!
    We've had an amazing time. The children and teachers love the theme!
    So far we've had 7 children accept Christ as their Savior!
    The children love the theme song! The excitement each night is unbelievable even our Thrill Seeker Teens are having a great time.
    Overall I loved the curriculum but felt the clip art and decorations were not as vibrant as they had been in the past. I thought the crafts were just so, so and most of our teachers added a little to the games to make them more exciting for our children.
    I don't know if there is a church in the Baltimore area that may be using this theme... but we have quite a bit of decorating materials we'd love to offer. Please call the church or email me.
    Christian Life Church - 410-298-5433 or christianlifevbs@gmail.com.

  22. Nancy Kane says

    I LOVED the theme this year! I really like the music, it was fun and the kids enjoyed it. The crafts are seriously lacking... please, please, please, work on crafts. The CD spiral thingy.. made that at home per your instructions, colossal fail! There was not one thing in the crafts book that is worth doing. I hate to sound harsh, but, I'm being honest here. Lifeway can surely do better for the crafts rotation. Give us something... worth doing.

  23. Nadine Beach Skinner says

    So, now that others have elaborated on their thoughts, I will also elaborate - on the music. I know this is the first year Jeff has not done the music in a long time, so I expected changes, especially after doing music for VBS for about 10 years. First, a lot of the kids did not know Jamie Grace so her presence was not a "wow" moment. Second, I did not like the demonstration videos - very choppy. I had to change several motions to improve them - such as using the sign for "God" vs tapping my middle finger on my chest in "Change My Heart". There were a lot of arms up and down at times (like in "Speak Up") then some lag times with motions. I noted a lot of bouncing around movement which was a bit hard on my knees. I agree with another comment that the verse of the week was chopped up in the theme song, and that was disappointing. The video with the kids doing the motions has been similarly seen in other groups' material. I see the value of their doing the "reverse" to just play for your kids so they do the correct motions, but it did not help me much as the teacher trying to learn the "reverse" by watching them. The kids, especially the Asian girl, was fun to watch on the video but it was very clear they were watching someone do the motions and teleprompter screen, as if they just learned the songs an hour ago. I would love during the demonstration to hear a bit of the backstory of the song - Jeff did that a lot and it made the song really mean something. This year, the songs seemed to drag on and on - for me it was "Ride of Your Life." On a positive note, I still was touched by "Stand Strong" and I did think there was a very upbeat feel to all the music. One of my kids did ask if there was a rap song because they liked the one from Big Apple Adventure. And my kids did not learn "I Will Trust in You" due to how our VBS was arranged but our choir did sing it last Sunday.

  24. Eunice Pond says

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the worship rally videos--the best ones ever! Besides being really fun, they are well written, acted, directed, and edited. Best of all, they really reinforce the lessons.
    Unfortunately, the music instruction videos are some of the worst ever. The music itself and the choreography are great, but it was difficult to learn some of the choreography. Perhaps they need to be tried out on some music leaders before the final editing. (I'd love to help "test drive" them for you!) The instructor did a great job, and the kids are absolutely adorable, although difficult to follow. I strongly agree with most of the previous comments about this.
    Can't wait to start on VBS 2014!

  25. says

    IIt1. 118 Professions Of Faith. All Time High Attendance And Volunteers.

    2. Best Theme And Music We've Had!

    3. We Love Using LIfeway VBS Tools But It Could Really Use An Update. Not As User-Friendly As It Could Be, Especially On Mobile Devices.

  26. Patricia Riley says

    I loved the music this year for VBS. It was very catchy and had a great message. I taught the missions class and I prefer having a different missionary family and location each night. This also allows more missionaries to be focused during the week.

  27. Marsha Mason says

    We have had a blast with this VBS and so far we have had 2 little ones that have accepted Jesus as their personal saviour and want to be baptized. That is sooooo awesome in itself. Even the adult class we have are having fun, and for older folks to have fun that says alot for this program!!!! Love it!!!

  28. Brenda Yarbrough says

    We completed VBS COLOSSAL COASTER WORLD last week. We averaged around thirty-six children and eighteen adults each night. The theme was great and the children all seemed eager and excited each night to come and learn about Paul. Keeping with one main bible character and theme seemed easier for the kids and the teachers as well as learning one main memory verse seemed to help everyone understand the connection between Paul and our lives today in our world of much fear and mistrust. The crafts projects, however, do need some changes. I would suggest changing from making a project each night, to making one, maybe two for the whole week that is connected to the theme. This way the kids could spend their time in crafts on something that is a lot more durable and lasting as a keepsake of the lesson and their time spent in VBS. The music was great, however, the performance instructions were too long and hard to retain all the motions when taught like they were taught. The adult music instructor should be included in the performance presentations along with the kids. Thanks for all the planning, hard work and talents you use in preparing for VBS themes each year.

  29. says

    This was my first year directing and we finished last night. What an amazing week we had! We averaged 340 in daily attendance and had over 180 volunteers.

    One colossal thing God did was family night. We did the musical for the first time and it was awesome. The musical offered a chance for the kids to be a star and give a bigger purpose to our family night. It was a colossal success! I had over 120 children return to participate in the musical and each child brought family members who probably wouldn't have come to our normal family night offering. This turned into one of the biggest outreach events our church has done. We fed them dinner after the performance and it was an awesome experience for everyone!

    One thing I loved about VBS was Worship Rally. I structured it differently than what was recommended. Our children's minister welcomed and engaged kids as they arrived with games and VBS trivia. A "pastor of the day" was there to review the motto and set up the Bible story. We used the Kit and Kat skits, reviewed the scripture (loved having only one to learn!) and the daily theme. I formed a Worship Rally Team of myself to lead the music with 4 teenagers. We sang CCW every day to kick off the rally later taught the daily song. I took out Tune Town as a rotation, and only taught motions during the chorus or verse. I wanted the kids to learn the words and not worry about knowing all the motions for every word or phrase. We collected over $1800 in our missions offering designated it to World Vision, US Disaster Relief fund. We used the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma as our talking point for this offering. The kids got the daily collectible button and they loved them! Our Worship Rally served it's purpose to set up the day and get the kids excited for what they were going to encounter.

    One thing I would like to see changed for the future is the Lifeway software. I have a team of coordinators who found things not very user friendly. Also if you own a mac you can't register on it. Another area for change could be promotional materials for VBX. We really struggled to find something to use for it.

    Thank you Lifeway VBS team for all your hard work. I LOVED the music. It rocked! Keep up the great work and I can't wait to see what's in store for Agency D3!

  30. Cheryl says

    I have a question for any church that is close to Coshocton, OH: we are a small Baptist church and are having a difficult time gathering materials to make decorations for the Colossal Coaster World theme this year. Would any church close to us be willing to let us borrow decorations that they have already done? We would be willing to pick them up or meet somewhere to have them dropped off. Please help us! Thank you!

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