Involving Teenagers as Leaders in VBS

20140114-075705.jpgMy first VBS “worker” assignment was at the ripe old age of 12. My aunt was the teacher of the five-year-old class and she desperately needed a helper. We conducted VBS in the morning, ate a sandwich, and then spent the afternoon getting ready for the next day. We had 10 kids in an 80-square-foot room. For me the week was a huge lesson in flexibility!

While using teenagers – or in my case a pre-teenager – is not ideal for multiple reasons, mature teenagers can be the solution to a worker shortage, plus the week is an excellent opportunity for teens to begin serving and exploring their gifts and interest. Following are six tips to involving teenagers as leaders in VBS .


1. Training is of utmost importance. Failure to train results in frustration for teenagers and adult workers alike.

2. Training begins with the enlistment process. Establish expectations and accountability early and clearly.

3. Make sure teens are looked upon as full members of the team. If teens are mature enough to be enlisted for the team they are mature enough to be treated and respected as a member of the team.

4. Teens are more likely to become discipline problems when they are not given meaningful ministry tasks and the opportunity to contribute to the team.

5. Adult members of the team should assume a mentoring mentality as they work along side the teen leader, respecting the teen’s ability to make decisions with some guidance.

6. Give teens opportunities to grow and stretch in their abilities. With a little discretion on the adult leader’s part, teens should be allowed to experience what are sometimes seen as “adult” roles.

Jerry Wooley, @vbsguy, serves on LifeWay’s VBS Team as a Ministry Specialist responsible for training and events.

Geek of the Week: Jennifer Pyne


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!


Put Your VBS T-shirts to Work for You

20140114-075705.jpgI love being in an airport or store and seeing a VBS t-shirt from years gone by. I have great memories that are uniquely attached to each theme, and seeing a shirt makes those memories come alive. But more important than the memories created by a VBS     shirt is the awareness and promotion value they can create. Churches often distribute shirts on the first day of VBS or at the conclusion of the week, but what if they were distributed prior to the week and intentionally used for promotion? They become moving billboards – especially when worn in mass.

Here are a few ways to put your VBS t-shirts to work for you.

  • Schedule a “Wear Your VBS Shirt to Church Sunday.” Not only will the shirts draw attention to your VBS but they can be used as a way to identify, recognize and honor workers.
  • Schedule a flash mob to appear at a shopping center, mall or park. Be sure to have VBS info ready to distribute.
  • Have everyone wear their shirts to a community parade or fair (July 4th). If a parade is not planned, create a neighborhood walk, bike and trike parade to create awareness and distribute information.
  • Ask kids and parents to wear their shirts on the last day of school. (Be sure to get approval in advance
We would like to hear how you use shirts to promote your VBS. Hope to hear from you soon!
Following Jerry on Twitter @vbsguy for more tips and ideas.

Make Your VBS Week Enjoyable

20140114-075705.jpgWhile those of us who consider ourselves VBS Groupies – and that most likely includes you – can’t imagine more fun than VBS, we have to admit the week can be stressful. I have discovered there are ways to reduce the stress and insure the week is more enjoyable.


1. Plan lessons and gather supplies in advance.
2. Create simple menus, shop, and prepare meals and snacks as much as possible in advance.
3. Pick out clothes for you and the kids the night before. Creating a theme-related uniform and wearing it every day makes the “what to wear” decision a breeze.
4. Don’t over schedule other activities during the week. Build in time for physical rest for both you and the family.
5. Don’t allow yourself or those around you to grumble and complain if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned.
6. Above all, laugh often! Find humor in situations that would normally cause stress.
We would love to hear how you make your VBS week more enjoyable.
For more tips follow Jerry, @vbsguy, on Twitter.


5 Ways to Use the Rocket Pack Jack Film


Today our good friend Steve Bussell with Seventh Story Productions joins the blog to talk about the full-length film, Rocket Pack Jack and the Babylon Virus.  Check out five ways you can use the RPJ Film for your VBS!

Every year Lifeway’s VBS offers a Worship Rally video to illustrate the theme, teach the life application points and for heaps of fun! They’re great tool to get your kids talking. Ask a question like, “Who did the boy in the movie think Jesus was?” And off they go! This year AGENCY D3  has a special 6-part movie available that’s unlike anything we’ve done before. We’ve partnered with Lifeway Films to give you multiple ways to use the movie. Either in it’s 6-parts or as one large extended film or as a give away DVD! So here are five great ways you can use it!

1. Worship Rally Videos

There are six sessions available for viewing. Show one video every day of VBS in your morning Worship Rally or in your individual classrooms. The sixth video you can show on family night or do a special double video on the fifth day or just skip video #6. So many options! Each video has recaps so if your child misses a day or starts on day three, they’ll will be brought up to speed with every video.

2. Promote VBS with early screening

Some churches have never used the Worship Rally Videos. Gasp! Don Green the Children’s Minister at Forest Hills in Nashville has never used them because it doesn’t work for his program. However this year Don is getting a license from Lifeway Films and showing the Rocket Pack Jack film as an outreach tool. He’s asking all the children of the church to come and bring a friend to movie night at the church. They’ll have popcorn and snacks. Then afterwards he’s going to talk about their Agency D3 VBS and send those visiting children home with tons of information! Brilliant!

Going with this option doesn’t mean you can’t still show the Worship Rally Videos. If there’s anything the DVD has taught us, it’s that children like to watch movies over and over again, and again. If you still wanted to use the Worship Rally Videos, the film withstands a second viewing. And your kids will undoubtedly see something they missed or teaching points you can debrief.

3. VBS Family Night/ Movie Night

As part of your Family night you could show the RPJ film. We’ve made it around 50 minutes, so you have time to do more than just show the film. You could also do give-aways of the DVD or offer them for a substantially discounted rate. What’s great about getting the Rocket Pack Jack movie home with childs is it’s fun and has rocketpacks and robots, but it also asks the  question, Who is Jesus? We’re using film to plant seeds.

4. As a Give Away or Fund Raiser

Lifeway Films is offering the DVD to churches in packs of 10 for over 40% off. So you could resell copies for however much you’d like! Or use the DVDs as special prizes for the 10 children who memorized the most verses or the 100 children who memorized the most verses. We have been contacted about churches looking at orders up to 500 copies to give out to every child who comes. Like I mentioned, DVDs tend to stick around and get re-watched a few hundred times. We’re hoping these will find their way in front of young eyes that never made it to a VBS but will watch Jack and learn that God loves you know matter what.

5. After VBS Movie Night

So let’s say you use the Worship Rally videos and watch in six parts throughout VBS. Did you know the Rocket Pack Jack movie from Lifeway Films has around 25% more scenes than in the Worship Rally Videos. You can show the movie after VBS to encourage visiting children to come back and bring their parents.

The movie is just a tool in your toolbox. You know how it will work best in your church. There are churches making their own movies with subplots to go along with the Rocket Pack Jack Film. We’re getting emails asking how to make rocket packs, robot costumes, and Abe’s Pizza boxes. There’s a lot of ways you can tie in to the film and use the DVDs to reach children you might never even meet.

You can get the Worship Rally Videos here.  And the Lifeway Films church license with individual DVDs here.

Hey and if you LIKE the Rocket Pack Jack Facebook page you’ll gain access to a free countdown you can use however you’d like.



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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VBS training WGBC 2014

Follow-up Kit Giveaway

bethanyOne of the most important aspects of VBS to me is how we follow up with the new kids who come to VBS. Do they know we cared during the week? Yes. Did they have a great time? Yeah! Did they learn about Jesus. You bet! But what does that mean to them if they cease to hear from us the moment they walk out of the church doors. It’s so important for kids and their families to see God’s love at work in you outside of the church building. A phone call, a card, a visit on the door step. Any of these can show kids that Christ’s love is real at active.

Become a part of their lives. Pray for their problems. Help them when their family is in need. Be Jesus’ hands and feet to them.

There’s more information about how to plan a successful follow-up plan in the Continue the Connections portion of your VBS 2014 Administrative Guide for Directors or VBS 2014 Backyard Kids Club Directors Guide. We hope that these resources will help you translate your desire to help others into action.

In the meantime, to give you a little boost of inspiration, we’re giving away a little Follow-up Kit! This Agency D3 Bag contains VBS 2014 Bookmarks, stickers, picture frames, and blank note cards, as well as a Takin’ It Home CD, which you are free to duplicate for your kids.

Consider creating a treat bag with a framed picture of each visiting child, a bookmark, a card, and a CD. The CDs have content related to each day in Agency D3, so that kids can ideally listen to it with their parents on their way home from VBS each day. Have fun with this giveaway as you work to reach the kids in your community. We’re praying for your efforts as summer comes into full swing!


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From the Archives: Worker Enlistment Ideas

One of the biggest challenges of VBS continues to be worker enlistment. Here are some ideas I recently rediscovered from a VBS 2005 (Ramblin’ Road Trip) training plan.

1. Enlist last year’s workers first and ask them to enlist helpers.

20140114-075705.jpg2. Share enlistment responsibility with as many people as possible.

3. Ask for a volunteer for a specific job, don’t just ask for

4. Find a job for everyone willing to work.

5. Give workers ownership and decision-making responsibilities for their areas of ministry.

6. Set high expectations and establish lines of accountability.

7. Help workers find value in their service by seeing how they job contributes to the overall success of the week.

8. Encourage workers by providing adequate training and needed resources.

9. Happy workers this year will make next year’s enlistment easier.

10. Cheer and appreciate every worker at every opportunity.


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