Need a Jump Start for Your VBS?

VBS directors, we know you have a tough job.  It’s a fun and rewarding job, but it comes with a lot of hard work.  In an effort to make things a little easier for you this year, we created the Agency D3 Jump Start Kit.

The Jump Start Kit is designed to give VBS directors a jump start in planning and promoting VBS.  There are tools that will help you choose dates, enlist volunteers, recruit kids, and decorate!

Check out the unpacking video below to see everything that is included.

You can pick up your Jump Start Kit at any Lifeway Store or order here today!  Happy planning!

The Heart of VBS—Evangelism

carol_editedBack in 1996  the VBS team felt God leading them to revisit the format and principles of “doing” VBS. In 1997 the new VBS was rolled out with The Wild and Wonderful Good News Stampede. Many of you could probably sing the theme song and have fond of memories of attending or leading VBS that year, but you may not have been aware that one of the driving principles of VBS was and is evangelism.

VBS is meant to be more than just a fun event for your church kids, more than just a summer diversion from the norm, more than just another program to check off the list. At the heart of VBS is evangelism. It’s that one chance you may have at getting those who might not otherwise step foot in a church to have an encounter with the Lord.

Recently at our Preview events Kelli McAnnly led a session outlining why we do VBS and strategies for embracing the true heart of VBS—reaching people of all ages, leading them to know and respond to Jesus Christ as led by the Holy Spirit. Kelli was gracious enough to allow me to share how she used the acrostic AGENCY D3 to help conferees be intentional about evangelism.


  • Be aware of those around us that do not have a personal relationship with Christ.
  • View those in our churches and community who are hurting, lost, sad, and in need of Christ through His perspective and become aware of their lost souls.


  • Offer VBS as a reason to intentionally invite lost people to your church
  • Give people a bridge to the spiritual orphans in your community.
  • Give people an opportunity to clearly present the gospel
  • Give people an opportunity to respond to Christ in a public way.


  • Enable your church to work together towards the Great Commission.
  • Enable VBS directors, leaders, parents, and staff to share the love of Christ with kids and their families.


  • Being evangelistic navigates an entry point for unchurched people.
  • Attract people to your church with programs like VBS for their kids. Then you can help them navigate the gospel and how it connects to their lives.
  • Remember the gospel makes VBS relevant. Without the gospel, it is just fun and games.


  • Connect with families. The initial follow-up contact should be the discovery of the family network.
  • Pass information discovered on to the follow-up team and to age group classes.
  • Invite each member of the family to the appropriate Bible study class and other ministry opportunities.
  • Plan to have multiple contacts with the family over the following months.


  • Yield and surrender your heart to God’s plan
  • Use bold, creative strategies to teach people about Christ.


  • Display—display the gospel. Be people who are evangelistic.
  • Demonstrate—demonstrate a life that follows Christ. Do things that bring Him glory.
  • Declare—declare the gospel. Tell people about Christ.

There are an estimated 313 million people living in the US. 98 million of those have accepted Jesus as their Savior. 43% of those accepted Jesus before reaching the age of 13. According to George Barna, evangelism is most effective among kids. Where is your heart?

VBS Geek of the Week: Megan Thomas

vbsgeekoftheweek2Welcome today’s VBS Geek of the Week, Megan Thomas from South Carolina!

  1. What is your role in VBS? I have had many roles; teacher, coordinator, and this year music.
  2. What was your “geekiest” moment? My geekiest moment would have to be, oh how do I choose?  I would say I am a geek because I look at things and think, how can I use this for VBS?
  3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? I think this years theme may be my favorite!!!  It is going to be spytastic!
  4. You might be a VBS geek if. . . You might be a VBS geek if you plan your decorations year round, shopping goodwill, etc
  5. What makes you keep doing VBS? I keep doing VBS because I love Jesus and I love seeing the excitement on the kids faces from the beginning.

Three Ways to Use Gadget Making in Your VBS

One of the very best parts of this year’s VBS Previews for me was getting to watch people exercise their creative juices on gadget making in the Creative Zone.

Don’t worry if you missed it, because we have pictures and ideas galore for you! Take a look at some of the finished products on our Facebook page.

Gadget making in Forth Worth!

Gadget making in Forth Worth!

It started as a way to help you brainstorm easy ways to decorate. We realized that some might be intimidated by the “high tech” features of Agency D3, so we set out to create gadgets from every day items that would be easy to make. It was so much fun, we thought you might like to try too!

We visited a local Goodwill Outlet, which allows you to buy by the pound, and loaded up several carts with what most people would call junk.

But one man’s junk is another’s gadget, right?

For those who signed up to do the the activity at the Creative Zone, they each received a box with four to five items that were just theirs and a free table available to everyone that was full of bottle caps, wires, craft sticks, stickers, hot glue guns, buttons, screws, hardware, and any other small recyclable junk people donated to our cause.

Gathered around the free table at the gadget making station.

Gathered around the free table at the gadget making station.

The mission: create a unique gadget with your items.

The result: some of the most creative craft/decoration items I’ve ever seen, from the Truth Detector Hat that sat on your head and let people know whether you were telling the truth to an analyzer that took in your DNA and put up results on the screen to tell you the truth about yourself. And sometimes the people who protested the hardest that they weren’t creative made the best gadgets of all!

What could you create? Where would you get the items? We heard a lot of ideas, from cleaning out garages, nursery closets, and church resource rooms, to doing a church wide drive for bottle caps, keyboards, screens, old broken toys, and broken kitchen items that seem gadgety.

People suggested all types of different ways they plan to use this activity:

1. Letting volunteers compete to make the best gadget at a training or planning session.

2. Having a preteen or student fun night before VBS and letting their older kids or teens create gadgets to decorate the church, helping them be more invested in VBS since they helped decorate.

3. Making the gadget process a three day or week long craft that kids add to a bit each day during crafts to keep them coming back.

How could you use it to inspire kids or volunteers, or just have some fun with your own family? Let us know in the comments!

Gadget creators here in Nashville.

Gadget creators here in Nashville.


Agency D3 App – Spread the Word!

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Happy Thursday friends!  We hope you’ve heard by now that the brand-new Agency D3 VBS App is live and available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.  Some of you even got a sneak peak of it during VBS Previews. The best part about the Agency D3 App is it allows the entire family to share in the VBS excitement!

We know parents are key to building spiritual foundations in their kids. So we’ve filled the app with tools to help parents reinforce each day’s Bible story at home.  Along with Bible stories, you’ll find devotions, music videos, games, and more.  We think kids and parents are going to love it.

To help you spread the word to your parents and leaders about the app, we’ve made a customizable poster and bulletin insert available to download.  They are located under “Helps” in the “Downloads & Updates” portion of this website. Or just click here!

Was Jesus Really God’s Son?

maryThis summer at VBS, we will work through some very difficult questions… questions that can make or break a person’s faith…questions that can build a solid foundation for giving a defense for what you believe. It may scare you to death to introduce these questions to your VBS goers, but these concepts are absolutely pivotal to kids developing a faith of their own that they will carry on with them throughout their lives.

5 Reasons Your Kids Need To Answer Hard Questions:
1. Your kids may not be asking you these questions, but they are hearing them from their friends or maybe thinking about them in their minds. We all have probably had a time when we had to wrestle through these questions ourselves. Is God real? Was Jesus who He said He was? Did Jesus really raise from the dead? Give kids the Truth to hold on to when they are faced with doubt or questions from others.
This will require kids to decide for themselves what they believe and how to defend it when they are asked.

2. You want to be the one to introduce and address these questions before they hear them from people who don’t believe in Jesus. There are lots of versions of “truth” out there. Give kids the defense they need for their faith proactively to help them build correct filters for determining what is True.

3. These questions are an amazing way to convey truth to unchurched kids. These kids will get a clear picture of who Jesus is and what the Bible says about Him through the content at VBS this year. The questions that we will seek to answer this year are a strong evangelical tool for introducing Jesus to kids who have never heard about Him.

4. There is no time like to today to build relationships with kids. Use this content to help kids know that they can ask hard questions and get answers from people who love them at church. Encourage kids to talk about the questions they have now, so that as they get older they will feel comfortable seeking truth from adults who follow Jesus.

5. This content will challenge you with how you talk to others about Jesus. As a teacher, you will be challenged to face the hard questions that the world is asking of Christians and give an answer for your faith. This content is a review of what you know to be true and a challenge to truly participate in the Great Commission in your job, networks, and friendships.

What do you see as the greatest benefit of answering the hard questions that the world has about Jesus this summer? What excites you about this?

Random Tip 1410 – Connect Everything – Even Snacks – to Scripture

20140114-075705.jpgDid you know that once upon a time churches conducted VBS for four weeks? Hard to imagine isn’t it?

Even more recently the typical VBS was 10 days. While I do not personally remember attending a 10-day school I know many people who did.

A four week or 10-day school provided the luxury of time we no longer enjoy. Can you imagine what Bible truths you could teach if you had 60 hours? Or even 30?

Like far too much of life, VBS is often described as a rush. A VBS leader recently lamented, “We rush kids to worship rally so we can rush them to Bible study. Then we rush them to crafts so we can rush them home.”

Today, at best, we have 15 hours to do all the things that make VBS not only educational but fun and entertaining. (An evening Bible school typically included only 10 hours.) With this limited amount of time we have to make sure every minute counts and every activity is connected to the Biblical emphasis for the day.

I recently shared during a training session that even snack time needs to be used to reinforce the Biblical truth for the day. One leader replied that her church does not use the snacks suggested by LifeWay so they do not try to connect the snack to the Bible story. I reminder her that it is not the snack that is important but what is done with the time while the snack is being served and eaten.

As many of you know, my all-time favorite VBS snack is fruit punch and butter cookies (the kind shaped like a flower with a hole in the middle). Nothing fancy or even theme related about this snack, but the time allotted for the snack is still a perfect time for a review of the lesson, the sharing of life application points, or work on Scripture memorization.

I often hear that recreation leaders want to choose their own activities instead of using the games that connect to the theme and Biblical truth. Again, no problem as long as rec leaders connect their games to the daily theme.

Too often we enlist workers without stressing that every thing that happens during VBS – from the moment the kids arrives until they return home – must be connected to the Biblical content for the week and each day. Failing to insure that crafts, recreation, snacks and music connect to Scripture is a lost opportunity that will never be retrieved.

Back when VBS leaders needed to fill 60 hours it might have been fine to play a game or sing a song that was not relevant to the content, but not when we only have 10 to 15 hours. Help your workers see the value of every minute and the lost opportunity of not connecting everything – even snacks – to Scripture.

VBS Geek of the Week Jenn Anderson

Jenn Anderson is this week’s Geek of the Week. Hope you enjoy getting to know her!
1.What is your role in VBS? Preschool Minister
2. What was your “geekiest” moment? Acting silly for the kids! Got to be my “funnest” moments ever too!
3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? Colossal Coaster World!!
4. You might be a VBS geek if . . . you begin planning for the next years VBS right after the previous years VBS!! :)
5. What makes you keep doing VBS? Definitely the children. To see the smiles on their faces when they’re laughing singing, dancing, learning about Jesus. I love it! :)

Agency D3 for Preschoolers & Kindergartners

thomasFoundational Bible teaching is always the goal with LifeWay’s preschool VBS, and this year is no exception. Agency D3’s Bible content sets up a firm foundation for preschoolers and kindergartners to build upon for the rest of their lives. As you teach them who Jesus is and what He did, kids will learn the basics about why we want to love and follow Jesus.

Every single day of VBS, kids will discover that Jesus is who He says He is (God’s Son) through an example from His life. Day 1 uses the story of Jesus’ baptism to show kids that God, in dramatic fashion, declared audibly to everyone present that Jesus is His Son. John told people the same thing everywhere He went for the rest of his life! On Day 2 kids will discover that Jesus is unlike anyone else who ever lived. He is God’s Son so He can do things no one else can do! On Days 3-4 preschoolers will hear how much Jesus loves people as they hear about His death & resurrection. (Younger Preschoolers will use the Bible stories of Jesus’ last supper with His helpers and His post-resurrection meeting with two men on the road to Emmaus.) On Day 5 kids will learn that they can tell others the things they know about Jesus, just like Peter did in the Bible.

In other words, the entire week for preschoolers answers one singular question: Who Is Jesus? This is the perfect Bible content for preschoolers coming to VBS who may have never even heard of God, much less of His Son. It’s all about Jesus… and that’s a great reason to be excited about Agency D3!

Agency D3 Clip Art


Planning for VBS 2014 is in full swing and we have had several requests for clip art. Well rest assured, we have you covered!  To make things a little easier, I’ve listed all of our clip art options and where you can find them below.

Free downloadable clip art can be found on our VBS website under Downloads & Updates.  Or click here.

If you purchased a Jump Start Kit or the Decorating Made Easy book, you’ll find a CD-ROM full of additional clip art and decorating tips.

Lastly, if you have a 2014 VBS Catalog, you have access to some super secret, super special clip art. Now this is going to take a little work on your part, but it’s fun work!  Each catalog includes an official Agency D3 Decoder.  Use your decoder to find hidden letters throughout the catalog.  Once you’ve found all the letters and compiled a complete phrase head over to our Facebook page. Click the “Clip Art” tab at the top of the page and enter your secret code.  If it’s correct, you’ll be granted access to some exclusive downloads!

Happy planning!