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.

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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Now Pinning

carol_editedI just love Pinterest it’s the best for saving those ideas I come across and know I will want to use one day. And what better way to start saving those ideas you find now for Journey Off the Map™? Come on, you know you won’t remember where you saw that great tutorial for building a treehouse or that awesome snack idea when 2015 rolls around.

So you’re in luck, we’ve got a board started for you already. We’ve been searching across the web for almost a year now, and we are ready to share all, well some of our best finds with you on our Journey Off the Map board.Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 2.38.52 PM

Worried about decorating? No need we’ve got some ideas already pinned.

Worried about finding cool crafts? Got you covered.

Afraid you won’t know what to feed the ravenous kids coming your way? Again we’re on it.

Check out the board and start dreaming for 2015!
Follow LifeWayKids’s board Journey Off the Map VBS 2015 on Pinterest.