From the Archives: “Preparing for VBS” Part 3

wooley1 2013As we continue to Celebrate 90, today’s archives wisdom comes from a 1997 training outline titled: 62 Ways to Prepare Yourself for A Galactic Good News Adventure. While some of the ideas were specific to the theme, here are six more reminders that apply every year. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for additional ways to prepare yourself for VBS.

1. Visit lifeway.com/vbs for additional ideas and suggestions. (And don’t forget PINTEREST and FACEBOOK, which are now two of our most popular sources for sharing ideas.)

2. Write your personal VBS Purpose Statement.

3. Delegate as much responsibility (at home and church) as possible so you will have time to enjoy the excitement of the VBS week.

4. Make a VBS preparation checklist.

5. Call or send a note to a VBS worker from your past and tell him/her how their ministry impacted your life.

6. Enlist adults (and teens) who will not be able to attend VBS to help you with preparations.

 

 

From the Archives: “Preparing for VBS” Part 2

wooley1 2013We’re Celebrating 90! That’s 90 years of publishing VBS curriculum, and I’ve been digging through the archives.

Today’s wisdom is obviously a continuation of Part 1, and comes from a 1997 training outline titled: 62 Ways to Prepare Yourself for A Galactic Good News Adventure. While some of the ideas were specific to the theme, here are six reminders that apply every year.

1. Conduct a prayer walk around the church campus.

2. Prepare meals for the week of VBS ahead of time and freeze them (double your recipe and share with another VBS worker).

3. Pray that other churches in your community will catch a vision for the evangelistic opportunities provided by VBS.

4. Make sure you know how to lead children to Christ by studying the inside cover of your VBS leader guide.

5. Enlist a homebound member of your church to be your personal VBS prayer warrior.

6. Search your closet, garage, and second-hand stores for your theme-related costume.

Today’s Trivia: LifeWay Christian Resources began publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Dr. Homer Grice, a pastor from Dallas, Georgia.

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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Shining in Your Sweet Spot

VanCleave - new (1)A couple of years ago we had one of “those” VBS weeks. Unexpected illnesses and surgeries and countless other things derailed our VBS plans. Thankfully people rallied and jumped in to do things outside of their norm. We “accidentally” discovered something great. We found a lot of people’s VBS sweet spot. One lady who “always” teaches jumped in to run the kitchen (we do a full meal each night of VBS). She doesn’t want to do this particular job all the time, but for one week she loves it!

Leaders who teach preteens throughout the year have a blast with kindergartners during VBS. Many couples have found that they enjoy being a team during VBS. Each year since that “accidental” year, we have discovered one or more people who have found their VBS sweet spot in an unexpected role.

The bonus of all this is that we are almost fully staffed for next year because people want to keep “their” jobs. And, a couple of people who did not see themselves as “good with kids,” now have a regular role in our kids ministry.

While this year is fresh in your mind, make of note of people who seemed to really enjoy what they did and enlist them now! Then, as you look to fill the rest of your slots for next year, give people a chance to try something different. The results can be … well, SWEET!

Making VBS Your Own

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Nothing says summer like a cardboard slide.

Every year when I edit the grammar and style of the VBS material, I pause over the paragraphs about making VBS your own and smile.

 

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It’s more fun if it twists sideways, or even backwards on the way down. I promise.

These sections tell you that you don’t have to use VBS curriculum just as it’s written, but can adjust it to fit your schedule, age groups, number of teachers, and any other needs you have.

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An excellent model of proper slide sitting procedure.

And I smile because I know so many people who already do this so well. From stories of a helicopter landing at one Agency D3 this year to the rumor of a VBS villain trying to stomp out truth until he was thwarted by a Special Agent who had come to teach the kids the real truth, I know that so many of you get this concept so well!

Sequence 01_3

See, I told you, backwards!

One of my favorite examples is my home church where my dad pastors, Witt Baptist Church in Morristown TN. Every year, regardless of the theme, the kids most look forward to the giant cardboard slide. Someone with access to a lot of cardboard at work brings it every year, enough to cover the huge hill in front of the church, with a few more pieces to use as sleds. It’s better than a snow day if you can believe some of their faces. This wouldn’t work at any other church in the community, because no one else has that generous person who works with a lot of cardboard, not to mention a giant hill to put it on. But rather than cutting it out because it didn’t match the theme, the church decided to make it a tradition.

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Laying down and pulling on the front may increase velocity. Maybe.

There are other things churches do, from hosting VBS every Wednesday night for five weeks because of a hectic summer schedule, to serving supper instead of snacks to help kids who usually depend on school lunches, to using one master teacher for all 6 elementary grades because of the unique skills of a church member; that make each VBS special and different.

Sequence 01

At this point the grass has so much more traction, you often vault over the “tongue” of the sled. Grass stains anyone?

It’s easy to fall into a rut of wanting everything to come about just like the checklist in your Administrative Guide or Leader Guide says it should. But with a little flexibility and an openness to letting the DNA of your church and community shine through your VBS, I think you’ll open up more room for God to move and work.

Sequence 01_1

And it would be fun if Agent 001, AKA Pastor Doug (my dad) didn’t join in!

And it might just be a ton of fun!

How do you make your VBS fun and different? How is it tailored to the needs of your church and community? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

From the Archives: “Preparing for VBS” Part 1

wooley1 2013September 1, 1924 was a big day in the history of Vacation Bible School. It was the official start of LifeWay’s VBS Ministry Department. The department as such no longer exist, but the ministry of publishing VBS curriculum and training church leaders to use it is bigger and better than ever.

From time to time, over the next year, I’m going back to the archives to not only honor our past but to glean insight and wisdom from the ages.

Today’s wisdom comes from a 1997 training outline titled: 62 Ways to Prepare Yourself for A Galactic Good News Adventure. While some of the ideas were specific to the theme, here are six reminders that apply every year.

1. Pray (without ceasing).

2. Learn the Worship Rally music in advance by listening to its while running errands and picking up VBS supplies.

3. Enlist someone to be your personal VBS prayer partner.

4. Pray for the children, youth, and adults who will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord during VBS.

5. Ask someone who became a Christian during a previous VBS to share his/her story with you.

6. Keep a “To Do List” handy to jot down middle-of-the-night inspirations.

Trivia for the day: both Rhonda Van Cleave (VBS publishing team leader) and I served on the think tank that created A Galactic Good News Adventure. It was our first time to work together.

Agency D3 Missions Update

BlogDDDWe hope your kids enjoyed learning about Liam and his family and Mary and Abraham during their time in the Map Room at VBS. You can learn more about what Liam has been up to by clicking here.  And if you want to hear more about the work at Connexxion click here for an update.

During the week of VBS we challenged kids to go out and complete their own “Special Assignment” as part of their Missions experience. We would love to hear about any reports you received from your special agents (kids) during the week. Share your updates with us in the comments below.

Another 2015 Sneak Peek

You’ve already gotten a sneak peek at the interior and exterior of the Tangled Branch Tree House (Bible Study) and Survival Springs (snacks). “But what about the other rotations?” you say. “We must see more!” Have no fear, the others are right here! Enjoy this little preview of what’s to come next summer on your “Journey Off the Map!”

Shady Grove (crafts)

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Boulder Bridge (missions)

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Rushing Waters (music)

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Recycling Ideas that Increase the Value of Your VBS Resources

20140114-075705.jpgAs a recovering pack rat who once had the task of cleaning out an accumulation of 85 years from a church resource room, I have come up with six ways of recycling and organizing selected VBS resources for later use. By doing so you will not only appease your pack rat tendencies, but become a better steward by increasing the value of the resources that truly are too good to throw away.

1. Find a church or organization that can put the resources to good use. Based on the size of your VBS you might be able to supply multiple churches with everything they need to conduct VBS. When donating resources, I have learned from experience, it is best to establish a specific date and time for the resources to be picked up.

2. Create files for the Recreation and Snack Rotation Cards. VBS games and snacks never go out of style and are a great resource when planning other activities. You may not wish to call your next party Outrigger Island but the games and snacks for that VBS are perfect for a luau or pool party. (You might want to check out LifeWay’s I Heart VBS Card Box – 005466928.)

3. Create a learning activities file by clipping or scanning the Bible study activities kids enjoyed most from Leader Guides. Your activities files will become a great idea generator for future Bible studies and events.

4. Use VBS songs throughout the year. I often meet young adults who can still sing VBS songs from their childhood. The songs have great meaning that live beyond the five days of VBS.

5. Incorporate unused materials such as additional mission rotation and Bible study activities into other ministry events such as Wednesday nights.

6. Use resources for Backyard Kids Club or mission trips. Your workers have already been trained and have experience using the resources. Utilize this experience by taking VBS on the road and using the additional resources for Backyard Kids Clubs and mission trips

Jerry Wooley, @vbsguy, has served as LifeWay’s VBS Ministry Specialist since 2006.

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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