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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Welcome, Klista Storts!

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Today we’re pausing to welcome a new face to our LifeWay VBS team! We’re really excited to welcome Klista Storts on board. Klista has been at LifeWay for 7 years as a Kids Ministry Specialist and I’ve gotten to see how awesome she is at what she does! A few weeks ago we had the privilege of seeing Klista move over to the VBS team. I asked her a few questions to help us all get to know her better. Without further ado, give a round of applause for Klista! You’ll be hearing some great wisdom from her on the blog in the next few months! Welcome Klista!

When did you begin working in Kids Ministry?

I began working in Kids Ministry upon the arrival of my first child!  I started getting paid for it in 1991 when I began working in the weekday program at my church.  I started serving full-time in kids ministry in 1994.​

What’s your favorite thing about Kids Ministry?

KIDS!  I love seeing the Word with their fresh eyes and watching the “lights” come on!

What excites you about being on the VBS team?

First of all, I love VBS.  Always have, always will!  I love the creativity of this team.  I’m amazed – not surprised, but amazed – at the incredible talent on this team.  I am excited to be a part of a resource that will impact so many kids that might not otherwise be reached with the Gospel.​

Tell us about your family!

I celebrated 30 years of marriage with my best friend, Gary, this past February.  We have been blessed with two fantastic boys, who somehow have overnight turned into young men.  Not sure how they got older but I didn’t!  Brett is 26 years old and is married to Britney.  My younger son is Blake, who is 23 years old.  We have one precious granddaughter whom I adore and love finally getting to buy pink, girly stuff for!  ​

What are your hobbies/favorite things to do?

​I love working outside in our flower garden. Every night when I water, I look for new surprise flowers to pop up.  It’s like my own personal Easter Egg Hunt every time! My love language is time, so any time I get to spend with my family just makes my day.

 What are your favorite candy, Starbucks drink, and restaurant?

​Anything chocolate! I even order it in my Diet Coke from Sonic!  My favorite Starbucks drink is the Salted Caramel Frappuccino (or hot in the winter!).  I love Mexican food, so maybe Chuy’s or something similar.  Tex-mex is the best!

If you were a kitchen appliance, what would you be and why?

Hmmm.  Maybe a blender.  I like to stir things up and just want everyone to blend together and have fun! 

Thanks Klista! We think you’ll “blend” in well with the VBS team! Welcome!

Evaluating After is as Important as Planning Before

20140114-075705.jpgWe all know how important planning is to the success of VBS. But why take the time to evaluate after it is over? After all, what is done is done! 

I once had a boss who was so convinced of the value of evaluation he held evaluation sessions to evaluate the evaluation sessions. While this may seem extreme, what he taught by example is that we can never stop learning or improving, AND the only way to truly learn and improve is to evaluate the previous event before planning the next one.
Here are six aspects of evaluation I learned from my boss.
1. Evaluate as soon after the event as possible.
2. Evaluate with your entire team, with just your leadership team, and finally by yourself.
3. Insist that every critical statement be followed by a positive statement. Otherwise your goal of constructive evaluation can disintegrate into a grip session.
4. Take great notes, capturing every statement and suggestion. What seems like a ridiculous opinion at first may turn out to be the best takeaway of the entire process.
5. Don’t take negatives personally. You will never grow and improve personally, and your team will stop giving feedback, if you take offense at negative evaluations.
6. Review evaluation notes regularly as you plan the next event.
Jerry Wooley, @vbsguy, serves you as LifeWay’s VBS Ministry Specialist and event planner .

Tangled Branch Treehouse — The Inside Story

brown2Hey guys. Bible Study for Journey Off the Map is gonna be great! We’ll be focused on Jesus and digging into the life of Daniel!
In my last post, I showed you a tiny portion of the set we used for Worship Rally, which was the outside of The Tangled Branch Treehouse. Here’s what the final product looked like:
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For Bible Study, the setting is INSIDE the tree house! Maybe you can get a few ideas from what we did.
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The walls are 8′ tall, the top of the tree is about 10′, the floor is made out of a scrap piece of linoleum. We cut the edges and painted the back side with latex house paint to look like wood flooring.
Sets are fun but hopefully you’ll spend the majority of your time digging into the lessons. ​​We’ll be praying for you as you share Jesus with kids; some of whom may have never heard His name.

From the Archives: Worker Appreciation Ideas

20140114-075705.jpgLooking through files from 2005 (Ramblin’ Road Trip) I came across a list of creative ways you can express appreciation to your VBS team.

1. Enlist a prayer team to pray for workers and their families each day.

2. Remove the hassle of meal preparation by enlisting a team to prepare, freeze, and distribute casseroles the week before VBS.

3. Send workers home with a sack lunch each day – don’t forget the family.

4. Host an end-of-week cookout for workers and their families.

5. Hold a “Worker of the Day” drawing and award a gift certificate.

6. Have a team photo made and displayed with an expression of thanks.

 

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources begin publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Drs. Marion Frost and Homer Grice.

6 Actions That Express Appreciation

 

20140114-075705.jpgIf you are like me you might struggle with expressing appreciation to your VBS team. It’s not that we don’t appreciate the work and contributions of others. It’s not even that we don’t think about expressing appreciation. While we are extremely grateful we just do a poor job of expressing it.

Here are a few ways to make sure members of your VBS team know they are appreciated and their efforts have not been taken for granted.

1. Public recognition is possibly the easiest way to express appreciation because everyone can be recognized and thanked at once, and there is no chance – unless you try to call everyone by name – of overlooking someone. Public recognition also insures the entire congregation is aware of the many hands required and that everyone can have a part to play on proclaiming the Good News through VBS.

2. Provide training may seem like a strange suggestion for expressing appreciation but in many ways it is the highest compliment. By providing training you tell your team you appreciate them by investing your personal time in them, and you appreciate them by wanting them to feel the joy of confidence and success.

3. Provide resources, like providing training, says “I appreciate you and want you to have the resources needed to successfully accomplish your tasks.” By providing resources you are also telling your team you appreciate their time and want to make preparation and the gathering of supplies as easy as possible.

4. Provide volunteers to help unload cars on the day everyone is decorating and preparing their rooms. Another way to tell a worker they are appreciated is by providing childcare 30 minutes before and after VBS, during training, and preparation days.

5. A smile, a hug, or a pat of the back is always appreciated – especially when it comes from your leader. In the midst of VBS chaos it is often the small gestures that reenergize both the receiver and the giver.

6. And most of all, just say thank you.

 

VBS 2015 Decorating Sneak Peek

thomasWho’s ready for a little sneak peek at some decorating ideas for NEXT summer’s VBS? Now, I know many people are not yet finished with Agency D3. I’m not trying to steal the thunder of this summer’s adventure to discover, decide, and defend… but I do want to give you a little taste of things to come. Hopefully you’ll get some ideas over the next few weeks of things to start watching for that might help you with next year’s adventure on your own Journey Off the Map.

Here’s a look at “Survival Springs,” the location for snacks. Kids will love sitting on giant lily pads in this serene setting.

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Watch for vinyl, flannel-backed tablecloths to go on clearance at the end of the summer. The round ones make GREAT lily pads! Who wouldn’t want to float along on a giant lily pad while eating a delicious VBS snack?!?!

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From the Archives: 10 Tips for a Successful VBS Celebration

20140114-075705.jpgSome of my best inspiration comes from combing through archives. If you have ever watched the reality show American Pickers (I am particularly fond of it since I can look out of my office window and see their Nashville store) you know great value can be found in piles of trash and tattered boxes. Recently I was searching through my recycle box and came across these pearls of wisdom from a VBS training plan.

10 Tips for a Successful VBS Celebration (Family Night)

1. Have a purpose.

2. Remember that all families do not look alike.

3. Avoid conflicts with school and church calendars.

4. Communicate date and time early so families have time to put it on their calendars.

5. Promote, promote, promote…early and often!

6. Have a plan A and a plan B.

7. Don’t wait until the last minute for anything.

8. Confirm, confirm, confirm.

9. Don’t assume anything!

10. Don’t do it by yourself.

 

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources begin publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Drs. Marion Frost and Homer Grice.