How Do You Collect a VBS Offering?

candace-1We want to hear how you get your kids involved in helping to collect an offering during VBS. We know many of our own churches make the offering a competition between boys and girls or each grade to see who can bring the most. Some churches set a goal and if that offering goal is met, then the pastor or other staff member gets a pie in their face! It is also great to hear stories from churches who do not take up money as an offering, but collect school supplies, canned food, and so forth for a local ministry. There are so many options out there, but the most important thing is getting your kids involved. We would love to hear how you do this!

For a little incentive, we want to have a giveaway! We will pick one winner from our comments and send you five Agency D3 bags from our Preview events. Can’t wait to hear your stories!

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VBS Geek of the Week: Patty O’Shea

vbsgeekoftheweek21. What is your role in VBS? This year I am the VBS Director. I have been involved in VBS in some way since 1996. With the exception of 2002, I have used a week of vacation from my day-job to be at VBS since 1997.

1996: Registration/Attendance (went to work in the afternoon)

1997: Registration/Attendance & Newsletter

1998-2001: Director, Hazelwood Baptist Church

2002: Taught Director Workshops for Baltimore Baptist Association

2003-2008: Director, Hazelwood Baptist Church

2009: Offering counter/”Go-Fer” (moved membership in Jan 2009)

2010: Assistant to Director, White Marsh Baptist Church

2011-Present: Director, White Marsh Baptist Church

2. What was your “geekiest” moment? Geekiest moment would have to be when I did an announcement in church for VBS 2000, Ocean Odyssey. I wore a scuba diving suit, flippers, and mask to advertise an association meeting that was going to be held at our church. My husband had to help me navigate the two steps from the floor to the platform because the flippers were hard to walk in. My tag line that year was “It’s going to be deep—really deep!” I have been able to pull together some sort of costume (sometimes more than one!) for just about every theme so far.

3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? It’s really hard to pick a favorite VBS theme since I have enjoyed stirring up excitement for so many of them. One of my favorites was VBS 2004, Rickshaw Rally because I dressed up in a black wig, kimono, obi, socks, and wooden sandals for my announcements. I was unrecognizable by most of the congregation. Also that year we teamed up with a couple of other churches to make large decorations (a rickshaw and a bridge) plus we were able to borrow a gong from the local school system. I particularly enjoyed Jeff Slaughter’s music over the years and I’m really glad that I had a number of opportunities to meet him at Ridgecrest and at our state convention VBS workshop.

4. You might be a VBS geek if . . .

 The people working at the local LifeWay recognize you.

Your living room looks like VBS Central.

Church members know that emails or calls from you are going to be about VBS.

You love spending a couple of days in January at Ridgecrest.

Your T-shirt drawer is mostly official VBS T-shirts or VBS theme-related T-Shirts.

Your husband has learned that you love to get VBS theme-related gifts for Christmas.

A child sees you coming down the street and yells, “It’s the VBS Lady!”

5. What makes you keep doing VBS? God keeps me doing VBS. I have learned over the years that He has gifted me to lead this particular ministry. He has taught me flexibility, spontaneity, and to depend wholly on Him. He brings me someone to give me a hug and pray for me when the evil one attempts to steal my joy or I begin to stress about some of the details. If I was “independently wealthy”, I would be a “professional” VBS-er!

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VBS Geek of the Week: Traci Rogers

vbsgeekoftheweek2This week’s Geek of the Week so from Amarillo, Texas. Welcome, Traci Rogers!
  1. What is your role in VBS? Children’s Minister
  2. What was your “geekiest” moment? Making the theme song into a ring tone in January
  3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? Amazon Outfitters or Outrigger Island
  4. You might be a VBS geek if . . .  you know that spray adhesive on a church night is a bad idea (even if in a closed office).
  5. What makes you keep doing VBS? LOVE LOVE LOVE IT
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Geek of the Week: Jennifer Pyne

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This week’s VBS Geek of the week is Jennifer Pyne and she is from Providence Baptist Church in Harrisburg, NC.

  1.  My role in VBS: Director
  2. My geekiest moment: Wow, there are so many! Dressing up in various costumes, holding a prop making sleepover at church so we could get more work done, kissing a pig… but the geekiest is probably performing the Agency D3 theme song wearing a cardboard bobble head of our pastor! 
  3. What was your favorite theme? I have enjoyed all if the themes, but Big Apple Adventure was my favorite!
  4. You might be a VBS geek if… you follow the custodians around and pull things out of the trash because it would be “perfect for VBS”.
  5. What makes me keep doing VBS is reaching children for Christ in an exciting, meaningful, life-altering way!

 

VBS Geek of the Week: Deb Jones

vbsgeekoftheweek2This week’s VBS Geek of the Week is Deb Jones. Enjoy her story!

1. What is your role in VBS?  I am the VBS Director for our church, West Glendale Baptist Church.  I am also a part of the state training team for Arizona, for the past two years I have had the opportunity to attend the National Training in Fort Worth and then teach the Missions portion of VBS at our state training sessions.

2. What was your “geekiest” moment?  WOW!  One geeky moment, I am a geek, so this is hard to pinpoint!  This is the time of year that I eat, sleep, and dream VBS!  Probably the geekiest moment this year so far was an announcement I made at the end of April for our VBS worker sign-up.  We still had some openings and I wanted them filled before our church VBS training.  I wore my husband’s black leather jacket, my sunglasses, and my daughter’s Fedora hat.  I was a special agent sneaking up to the stage, got lots of laughs from the congregation and also got more workers signed up at the end of the service!  I don’t mind being laughed at.

3. What has been your favorite VBS theme?  Every year it just keeps getting better!  One of my favorites was Amazing Wonders Aviation because I was one of the teachers in the United States that won Space Camp thanks to the workers at Honeywell Hometown Solutions.  Space Camp had been a dream of mine since the ’80′s.  I got to wear my blue flight suit for Amazing Wonders VBS and that was wonderful (although hot in Arizona in the summer).

4. You might be a VBS geek if . . . you think VBS is just a little slice of Heaven!

5. What makes you keep doing VBS?  I was born Southern Baptist and have attended VBS since birth.  I just really enjoy Vacation Bible School, it is an AMAZING evangelical tool for our church to reach our community for Christ.  Last year for the first time ever, we made a concerted effort to disciple our children after VBS was over.  I used the materials created by Lifeway for Leading a Child to Christ in my VBS training.  We followed up in July and August on Wednesday nights and actually baptized children that had made decisions in June.  So exciting!

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Geek of Week Ann Flavin

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  1. I am the VBS Director.  I have been directing VBS at the Conneautville Church of Christ since 2004.  I had one summer off when my family took a trip across the country so this year will actually be my 10th VBS.  Interestingly enough, by the time I finally agreed to direct VBS, I had been asked several times and said no.  My youngest son was barely a year old and I kept saying it wasn’t really my time, etc.  I have three older boys as well and they were only 8, 6 1/2, and 4 1/2 at the time.  I hadn’t even really volunteered at VBS yet.  When I was told that there would be no VBS because no one would take it on I felt the spirit nudging (OK pushing really hard) and I stepped up and took on the position of VBS director.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what I was getting into but I knew with certainty that this was what God wanted me doing.  That year was a real learning process but I had some good mentors and great volunteers and we had a great VBS.  I have been hooked ever since.
  2. What was my “geekiest” moment?  Wow that is really hard because there are so many to choose from!  I think that when I spent our New Year’s Eve party planning, promoting and recruiting for VBS has to rank right up there though.  My friends certainly thought it was pretty geeky when I was all excited showing them the VBS preview videos.   Everyone jokes about how I find a way to bring VBS into most conversations all year round.   At VBS one of my most VBS geeky moments had to be last year when I allowed some of the volunteers to turn me into a human cotton candy!  Teased hair with pink and blue hair spray complete with a white cone wrapper.  It took me hours to get that out of my hair!!
  3.  My favorite VBS theme.  Every year the one that I am doing is my favorite theme!  (And I have to say I am super excited for Agency D3 this year.  It is going to be amazing!!)   However, I think that Boomerang Express is probably one of my all time favorites.  I love the tag line “It all comes back to Jesus”, that hit a home run with the kids.  They really seem to get the connection of Jesus with their lives.  The theme and decorations were a lot of fun too.  We are a very small rural community (if you Google Conneautville, PA it will tell you the population is less than 800 people.)  So at VBS, we took all the kids on a trip to Australia and it was an experience I don’t think they will forget.  It is hard to explain in words (I will send pictures) but we actually built a train out of 2x4s and cardboard that the kids would get into and with sound effects they would “travel” through Australia.  When they got out of the train (on the other side of the wall) they were in the Australian outback.  Talking about geeky VBS moments, I actually dressed in a Kangaroo costume that year at the closing program.  The kids met their Missions giving goal so I got the Kangaroo costume!
  4.  You might be a VBS geek if you and your family mark the passage of time based on VBS themes.   Something like, “That was the year of Artic Edge”.  You might also be a VBS geek if you get excited about cardboard and foam insulation board.  (Last year, when we did Colossal Coaster World, I got very excited about pipe insulation!)  Your most definitely a VBS geek if you feel like EVERYONE should get involved in VBS.  (You know being a geek is not always bad, everyone should have a role reaching our community for Jesus Christ.  You just have to figure out where their passion is and plug them in.)
  5. Honestly, the leading of God through his Spirit is what keeps me doing VBS.  Every year in the fall I wonder if I should do another VBS.  Can I put together another great week?  Will there be the volunteers?  Does my family want to go through this again?  But God does not provide the prompting for something he does not equip us for.  My family and closest friends are my greatest support (after my faith in Jesus Christ) and despite the fact that we practically live at the church for two weeks before VBS each year (pretty much all but sleep there), they continue to be supportive of my VBS ministry.  I am a blessed woman!  I feel very strongly about the power of VBS to reach the families of our communities for Jesus Christ.  I go big because I can and because that is what God puts in my heart.  I will not deny that I get excited when I think/talk/plan/execute VBS.  I love coming up with outrageous ideas for decorations and creative ways to show God’s love.  We try to give the kids in our community that may not have much, an experience of a lifetime each summer.  Each year it is an experience the families will remember and when they do it is my prayer that those memories are connected to the love Jesus Christ has for them.  When I first started VBS I thought it was for the children but as I mature and continue to serve in this ministry I am seeing that VBS is not just for the children but for the entire family.  We have extended VBS to 3.5 hours and added an adult discussion group and family lunches to our VBS over the last several years.  We also are very intentional about getting the tweens and teens involved in VBS.  All of this designed to give us an opportunity to meaningfully reach into the lives of the families in our communities.  I believe in planting seeds.  When I do VBS I may be a sower or the one who waters and possibly even a harvester once in a while.  But it does not matter to me which one I am as long as I am fulfilling my commission to love God and love people.  How long will I do VBS?  (I know you didn’t ask that question.)  I will continue to do VBS as long as I am able and possibly longer if that is what God directs me to do.

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Six Steps for VBS Workers

candace-1If you are new to teaching VBS or if it’s old hat to you, there are six things each worker needs to do to make VBS a success!

  1. Prepare Your Heart. Read the daily Scripture passages and pray for the kids you will teach. Also ask someone to be in prayer for you as you teach children about Jesus.
  2. Get the Basic Facts From Your VBS Director. Find out how long each rotation is everyday so that you know how long you have to prepare for. Also ask how many kids are expected so that you know the number to prepare for.
  3. Plan. Make sure that you have the materials you need in plenty of time to plan each session you are going to teach. Make a list of supplies you will need.
  4. Gather and Prepare. Gather all the supplies needed for VBS. If you have pack or CD items, go ahead and assemble them and print them out.
  5. Teach. Relax and enjoy the chance to build relationships with your kids. Be flexible and adjust your plans to make this the best experience possible for you and your kids.
  6. Continue the Connection. Make sure you have correct contact information for each child in your class. Keep the connection alive by looking for ways to stay connected to the kids you taught.

VBS Geek of the Week: Jennifer Watkins

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This week’s VBS Geek of the Week is Jennifer Watkins from Unity Baptist Church in Georgia!

  1. What is your role in VBS? This year my role in VBS is the Director, for the past 6 years I taught pre-k and 5 year olds. I love to teach children they are the future of our church and if we do not train them at the time they are young you may not reach them. This is a cruel world we live in I just want to equip them as much as possible with the Love of God and the love of the church.
  2. What was your “geekiest” moment? My geekiest moment would be I love to wear a hat to class and I try to look for one that goes with the theam with VBS. Last year I wore a hat that had springs coming out in all direction and different colors for the collosal Coaster VBS, the kids love it.
  3. You might be a VBS geek if . . .  you really get into the theme and just have fun and act like a kid enjoy what you do.
  4. What makes you keep doing VBS? What makes me keep doing VBS is just the joy and excitement on the children’s faces when they come in and see the decoration, kids coming to you and say I know my bible verse can I tell it too you. Can I help with the pledges I want to hold the bible, I want to hold the flag. The kids are so eager to just come sometimes its hard to get them to go home.
  5.  When we came back from Ridgecrest we had one of the church memebers dress up as Action Pack Jack and they the kids loved it. We started a facebook paige just for our VBS page. This is for our workers and our members can go there and see where we are and what we have done so far and what decoration have been done. This is the first year we have done this and so far we have several people joining.