Why the “B” Word Might Not Be Such a Bad Thing

By Klista Storts

Maybe the “B” word has never bothered you at all, but it has me.  “Babysitting.” Doesn’t that just go all over you sometimes?  Especially when someone uses it to refer to what we do in kids ministry at church?  It makes me feel as if our ministry is viewed as unimportant to the Kingdom. Could it be that it’s just terminology and maybe just a misunderstanding of what we do? This video of how a family came to Christ as a result of one church “babysitting” their kids through Vacation Bible School may change your mind. It did mine. Now I’m thinking, “Who cares what they call it? Just bring me your kids!”

 


From the Archives: Telling Your Church About VBS Part 3

wooley1 2013Too often we VBS Groupies mistakenly assume everyone is as aware and enthused about VBS as we are. The truth is, no matter the size of the congregation, most members are unaware of and concerned about the dates, details, and needs of VBS until they are publicized and promoted. Even then little notice is taken to the first announcement. This is why we must actively and intentionally promote VBS to the congregation as well as the community. 

I know it seems a little early to begin promoting VBS 2015, but it is definitely not too early to begin planning how you will promote when the time comes. Here are four more ways to add to the ideas previously posted in Part 1 and Part 2.

1. Visit every Sunday School/small group class to explain the purpose and opportunities of VBS.

2. Send a personal letter to everyone who served during VBS 2014.

3. Create a video presentation using video and photos from VBS 2014.

4. Use skits and dramas (both live and video) during worship services, church business meetings, and other ministry events.

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

VBS Team Geek of the Week: Gordon Brown

vbsgeekoftheweek2Today we are doing Geek of the Week a little differently! We are going to be highlighting the different members of the VBS team and see what makes them a VBS geek. Today we are starting with one of our graphic designers, Gordon Brown!

brown2

  1. What is your role on the VBS team? Graphic designer
  2. What was your “geekiest” moment? Almost wearing the kangaroo costume—and almost being sad that I didn’t.
  3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? Saddle Ridge Ranch—cowboy boots are cool!
  4. You might be a VBS geek if . . . you think wearing a kangaroo costume is cool.
  5. What makes you love working on VBS? Knowing that you are a part of sharing the gospel with kids. 

 

From the Archives: Telling Your Church About VBS Part 2

wooley1 2013

Enlisting congregational support for VBS is a continuous process that must begin early and build momentum. As you continue evaluating VBS 2014 and begin planning for VBS 2015, here are six ways to insure every member of the church is on the team.

1. Enlist a phone team to call every member.

2. Conduct a Pep Rally two or three weeks before VBS to teach the theme song, motto, and Scripture.

3. Sponsor a coloring contest for children to promote VBS. Display the finished artwork throughout the church building.

4. Begin decorating sections of the building several weeks in advance. Add something new each week.

5. Hold a VBS Preview Day several weeks in advance. Display crafts, sample refreshments, demonstrate games, and preview Bible study and music.

6. Ask the Pastor to preach on the importance of using VBS to reach the community with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Check out additional ideas by reading From the Archives: Telling Your Church About VBS Part 1.

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

 

Share Your VBS Story

Linds

 

curtisSummer is winding down, kids are heading back to school, and for the most part, you have wrapped VBS 2014.  That means it’s time to start sharing your stories.  One of our favorite parts of VBS is hearing how God is using you to change the lives of kids and make an impact in your community.

So, out with it!  We want to hear the funny stories, the sweet stories, the life-changing stories, and anything else you want to share.   Leave your story in the comments below and it could be featured in an upcoming post.

Also, don’t forget to submit your VBS 2014 Director’s Evaluation.  Check out this post to learn more about how we use that information and how to submit yours.

We are so thankful for all that you do in the lives of kids!

From the Archives: Telling Your Church About VBS Part 1

wooley1 2013

VBS 2014 may be behind you, but it’s never too early to begin spreading the word about VBS 2015.

As LifeWay’s VBS team celebrates 90 years of providing trustworthy curriculum and training, I have been searching the archives for wisdom and tips that are as relevant today as when first published. Here are six ways to insure every member of your congregation is aware, energized, and on the team for VBS 2015.

1. Display photos from VBS 2014 to remind everyone of the fun and life-changing impact of VBS.

2. Make bulletin and newsletter announcements exciting and creative. Build expectation!

3. Conduct a Worker Enlistment Sunday complete with banners, displays, buttons, and prizes.

4. Give every volunteer an “I’m On the Team!” button, and ask that it be worn for three or four weeks before VBS.

5. Create eye-catching displays throughout the building.

6. Enlist volunteers to give VBS testimonies in every Sunday School class.

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

VBS 2014 Director’s Evaluation

I_Heart_VBSYou’ve finished your week of VBS, the decorations are down and stored, the rooms have been cleaned… it’s time to breathe a sigh of relief, right? Well, not exactly. There’s one more tiny little thing we would like to ask you to do. I promise it won’t take that long and the information you share is invaluable to our team at LifeWay.

We would like you to fill out the Director’s Evaluation found in the Administrative Guide and mail it in. Or if you would rather you can click here and submit it electronically.

You may be wondering what we do with the information we receive and why it is important that we hear from you. Here are just a few of the reasons we think it is important to hear from you:

1. We don’t want to change what’s working. If we don’t hear from you that you like something, we may assume incorrectly that it is not of value.

2. We do want to change what’s not working. Again we won’t know it’s not working if we don’t hear from you.

3. We want to make VBS easy for you. Some of our best suggestions have come from you, our customers.

4. We want to serve you in your mission of reaching the kids in your church and community for Christ.

Every year, I personally read each and every evaluation that is submitted. I forward all the data gathered on to the VBS team and management. If there is a suggestion that we are able to implement, we try to get it in for the following year depending on where we are in our production schedule. We truly value hearing from you, so please take a moment to share your VBS experience with us.

How Are You Connecting with Parents?

wooley1 2013Church leaders attending VBS Previews in January and February were challenged to make Connection Groups part of their VBS planning. A Connection Group is a Sunday School/small group class designed specifically for the unchurched parents identified during VBS, and scheduled to begin the first Sunday after VBS.

I have heard some great stories from churches who took the challenge. Now weeks after VBS these churches continue to connect with parents and families who might have otherwise been forgotten.

My favorite story so far is from a VBS leader who reported their Connection Group now has eight people attending. She said when challenged at Preview to create a Connection Group she just couldn’t make the commitment because she was concerned that her church would not support the idea. She said her trip back home was consumed with guilt from not making a commitment, yet the conviction that intentionally reaching parents was the right thing to do.

Once home, this leader made the decision to meet with her pastor and present the challenge and opportunity. She was overjoyed that he realized the potential and gave her the green light to enlist leadership for the group. However, her joy began to diminish  as her attempts to find leadership produced no results. She said she finally gave up and concluded that the creation of a Connection Group was not going to happen.

Two weeks before VBS she was invited to attend a Sunday School workers meeting to share VBS plans and needs. While planning to share craft supply and snack needs she had no intention of talking about the Connection Group. She felt it was too late and that obvious it wasn’t meant to be. During her presentation she sensed God telling her to lay out the challenge to intentionally connect with the parents of unchurched kids attending VBS. She shared the idea of creating a Connection Group and her attempts at finding leadership.

At the conclusion of her presentation a teacher of an adult class said someone else could teach his class and he would accept the challenge to start the Connection Group the first Sunday after VBS.

At first only a couple of parents attended, but four weeks later attendance has increased to eight!

I love this story because the leader didn’t give up. She remained faithful to the challenge of connecting with unchurched families, and she was sensitive to God’s leading and timing.

How about you? What are you doing to intentionally connect with the unchurched families discovered during VBS?

Jerry Wooley has served as LifeWay’s vbsguy since 2006. He would love to hear the stories of your Connection Groups.

VBS – Not Just for Kids!

VanCleave - new (1) LifeWay’s VBS provides resources for ALL ages. This year our church had a great experience tapping into this great family resource.

Adult VBS – For the five “night” services (two Sunday nights and three Wednesday nights) prior to kids VBS, we had adult VBS! This helped give all of our leaders a great biblical foundation as they prepared to teach.

Youth VBS – Our youth leaders used the Student VBS during a Friday night lock-in prior to the start of our kids VBS. The youth had a blast while they discovered the biblical truths that were part of this year’s study. Our youth help with VBS, so this also was a time to prepare them for their roles during VBS.

Kids and Preschool VBS – Our VBS runs Sunday through Thursday nights with a family celebration on Friday night. The adult and youth helped and, with so many involved, our attendance was great. We packed the house on Family Night.

Through the years we have used Student VBS for retreats, one-day-a-week Bible studies, or during traditional VBS times. We had used adult VBS as a Bible study during VBS for parents who bring their kids to VBS or for senior adults.

The resource offers so many possibilities. What are some ways you have used VBS for different age groups? We’d love to hear from you!!

Let the VBS 2015 Shopping Begin!

wooley1 2013A group of enthusiastic VBS Groupies recently asked me what they should be shopping for now that will be useful for Journey Off the Map™. If you are thinking ahead and have storage room, Summer clearance sales can be a great opportunity to purchase decorations for pennies on the dollar.

In addition to discount and hobby stores, be sure to check out hardware and garden centers, toy stores, the seasonal section of your grocery store, and party stores. I have also captured good finds at Bed Bath & Beyond and Target.

Here are a few bargains I have found in recent weeks that will make great additions to VBS 2015 decorations:

  • Butterfly kites (2 sizes)
  • Bamboo poles used for staking plants
  • Bamboo fencing (also found at the garden center)
  • Woven mats (both table mats as well as floor mats)
  • Botanical place mats
  • Botanical yard banners
  • Botanical serving bowls
  • Mosquito netting
  • Yard (tiki-style) torches
  • Wood crates and boxes

Let the shopping begin!