Now Pinning. . .

carol-2 Decorating tips, activities for special agents and more are now being pinned to LifeWay Kids on Pinterest.

Investigate our Agency D3 board and discover tips and ideas to prepare you for VBS in 2014. It’s never too early to start planning and collecting items that you will need to make your VBS an exciting place for kids to be!

For example, find awesome disguises to create a photo booth for your VBS Kickoff or VBS Celebration event.

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 9.31.22 AM


Or what about some cool decorating ideas?

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 9.34.52 AM

And there’s even some fun activities for your special agents.

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 9.43.23 AM

So no matter what you need, we’ll have you covered. Keep checking the board over the next several months, we’ll be adding more fun and easy ideas!

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day




It’s National Ice Cream Sandwich Day and we on the VBS team decided it should not go by unnoticed. So I made my famous Ice Cream Sandwich Cake (And yes, we ate it for breakfast!).  As you can see by the picture, we love VBS and ice cream sandwiches.




I polled the team to find out what type of ice cream sandwich is there favorite. Here are the results. . .

Rhonda had a list depending on her day & her mood. We almost had to do an intervention, but she went with Mint Chocolate Chip.

Rhonda had a list depending on her day & her mood. We almost had to do an intervention, but she went with Mint Chocolate Chip.

Bethany can’t eat ice cream, but she’s heard they make ice cream sandwiches with frozen yogurt. If anybody can hook her up, she’d be your best friend.

Gordon is a classic vanilla ice cream sandwich and of course the Klondike Bar  ...what would you dohoohoo, for a Klondike!

Gordon is a classic vanilla ice cream sandwich and of course the Klondike Bar
…what would you dohoohoo, for a Klondike!

Candace is our simple eater she likes vanilla ice cream and vanilla wafers.

Candace is our simple eater she likes vanilla ice cream and vanilla wafers.

Melita likes the classic ice cream sandwich.

Melita likes the classic ice cream sandwich.










Debbie says: "The vanilla ice cream sandwich works for me. But if I were picking, it would be fudge bars!"

Debbie says: “The vanilla ice cream sandwich works for me. But if I were picking, it would be fudge bars!”


Mary has never meet an ice cream sandwich that she didn't like!

Mary has never meet an ice cream sandwich that she didn’t like!









Keith is lactose intolerant, but said for vanilla ice cream and Ruffles, he'd suffer!

Keith is lactose intolerant, but said for vanilla ice cream and Ruffles, he’d suffer!





Uploading Pictures to the VBS Facebook Page

Katie DeCilloWe’re getting deep into VBS season and starting to see lots and lots of photo submissions.  We LOVE when you share photos of your VBS with us, and we like sharing them so everyone else can see, too!

We’ve been getting lots of Facebook messages with pictures lately and questions about posting pictures to our wall.  When you send us a message with a picture through our Facebook page, we’re the only ones who can see it!  And we certainly want others to see what you’re sharing, so we’d like for you to post those pictures to our wall!

To post pictures to our Facebook wall:


Find this box.  Click Photo/Video

Share photo

Click Upload Photos/Video

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 1.32.00 PM

You should get this box.  Click Choose File and select an image (or multiple) to upload.

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 1.32.13 PM

Include a text description in the box.  Tell us what church you’re from and give us a brief description of the image.

Click Post

You can also upload photos to our page using a mobile device.  Instructions will vary based on device. 


A Brand New Colossal Coaster at Silver Dollar City!

Katie DeCilloWhat does it take to build a colossal coaster? At Silver Dollar City, they start with the desire to give families an all-new thrill, something they can experience together and create memories worth repeating!

Outlaw Run - Worlds Steepest Wooden Coaster - Silver Dollar CityTheir newest coaster, Outlaw Run, is making history as the world’s most daring wooden coaster. The new $10 million ride sends passengers soaring through the Ozark Mountains on a ground-breaking wood coaster that includes several firsts. Outlaw Run features the world’s first and only double barrel roll on a wood coaster, with a 720-degree (double) barrel roll. It is the only wooden coaster to twist upside down with a record-breaking three inversions; the world’s steepest wood coaster with a first drop of 162 feet (more than 16 stories) at 81 degrees – nearly vertical; and the second fastest wood coaster in the world, reaching a top speed of 68 miles per hour.

Outlaw Run Inversion - Silver Dollar City

Outlaw Run - Barrel Roll - Silver Dollar Ci

You can ride Outlaw Run now through December 30 (weather permitting!).

Be sure to check out Silver Dollar City, host of the VBS 2013 Theme Video Series!

Kids and Discipleship

Prior to working with the VBS team, I was a CentriKid Camp Specialist. One of my favorite job responsibilities in this role was interviewing potential staff. However, after a few days of interviewing, I had a very clear picture of what discipleship in the church 10 years ago looked like. It seemed that four out of every five had a story that went something like this:

“I believed and prayed a prayer when I was (insert age between 6-12). I know that I truly believed then, but I didn’t really understand the decision I was making. It wasn’t until I got into youth and my youth minister really helped me understand what it meant to follow Christ that I think I my faith really became real.”

Heartbreaking. This is what I’m hearing: The Holy Spirit moved in my life and I believed in Jesus. I made a decision and asked Jesus to be in control of my life, but I didn’t know everything that I know now. I didn’t have anyone walking beside me, so I didn’t know that it’s ok to not know everything. No one explained to me how to trust Jesus or follow Him daily. No one taught me to have a quiet time. No one discipled me.

May this never be in your children’s ministry or the lives of the children that you parent! Here are 3 practical things you can do today to begin discipling your kids.

  1. Talk about Jesus and what He is doing in your life. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit should be frequent in your vocabulary.
  2. Follow up after Bible teaching. If your kids went to Sunday school, a Disciple Now weekend, or any other place teaching happens, ask questions. Help them process what they learned by asking them to rehash it for you.
  3. Most importantly, be a disciple yourself. One of my favorite quotes is from David Platt on discipleship: “Making disciples is a supernatural overflow of being a disciple.” Serve and teach your kids out of the overflow of what God is teaching you through your time with Him. I know you are so busy, but this is pivotal to make time for. You can do it! I believe in you. I know having 168 hours in a week is a staggering picture… but use yours wisely!

In case you missed it, here’s an earlier post about discipleship:

Six Steps to Reaching Your Target Audience

PurpleShirtPhotoI love the movie Field of Dreams – especially the line, “If you build it, he will come.”

While these prophetic words may work for a baseball field in the middle of a remote Iowa corn patch, it doesn’t hold true for VBS. Just because you create a potentially fun and life-changing week for your community doesn’t mean people will just automatically attend.

As you are building (planning) your VBS, make sure you are building your promotion (marketing) plan at the same time. How devastating to work so hard recruiting and training workers, collecting supplies, and preparing the building, only to realize at the last minute no one has told the community.

Here are six steps to insure your message reaches your target audience.

1. Start Promoting Now!

Actually you probably should have started telling people about VBS 2013 during VBS 2012. But never fear, you still have time to create a successful promotion strategy if you begin now.

First you need to check church and community calendars to make sure you are not scheduling your VBS on top of any major events that will compete for workers and kids. Now you want to make sure the congregation is reminded often of the date and time of not only VBS but any training opportunities that will be provided. You do not want to give the members of the congregation the excuse of not having adequate information early.

2. Put Someone in Charge of Promotion

As the pastor or VBS director you already have more responsibility than you can shake a stick at. (I’m not really sure what that means, but my grandmother said it often.) Refusing to delegate responsibility for promotion will insure that you get so busy with all the other details of VBS you run out of time and energy to make sure the community – and especially unchurched families – know what is going on. For you, promotion is just one more detail. But if you delegate the responsibility it becomes his primary detail and focus.

Encourage your promotion leader to build a creative team who can help dream the possibilities as well as do the leg work. Promotion is a great job for the person (people) who might not be available to work during the week of VBS but are available during the weeks leading up to VBS.

3. Know Your Target Audience

Blanket promotion (banners, newspaper advertisements, store posters) may appear to be telling the entire community about VBS, but you might be spending a lot of time, money, and energy yet never get the word to the families you are trying to reach. Target audience means the specific group of people you are trying to reach – the families most likely to attend your specific church or VBS.

Once you determine your target audience you can then target how you promote to them. For instance, if your target audience includes preschoolers you need to find out where parents of preschoolers congregate, where they shop and eat, and how they best communicate with each other. It’s not hard. Just ask parents of preschoolers what you would need to do for them to hear your message. You can then target your target audience.

4. Use a Variety of Promotion Methods

Try to calculate for a moment the number of messages that are directed at you each day. Make sure you include mail, newspapers and magazines, posters in store windows, phone calls, and electronic messages such as e-mail and social networks. Don’t forget to include billboards, bumper stickers, and conversations with co-workers. In reality you receive hundreds if not thousands of messages each day. If you receive that many, then so do the people you want to attend your VBS. One postcard or banner quickly gets lost and forgotten.

To truly get your message heard and remembered you will need to broadcast it often and in many ways.  One of the reasons you need to start promoting now is to allow enough time to utilize a variety of methods. Create a promotion calendar that insures you are broadcasting your message to your target audience in repetitious waves.

5. Be Creative

First you need to know that being creative does not have to mean expensive. Some of the most creative marketing of all has cost little if anything. Your very best promotion is going to be one person telling another person, so make sure you give them something fun and engaging (creative) to talk about. There will be a lot of churches in your community hosting VBS – many during the exact same week – so it is important that your message is heard and remembered. You want to do something that creates a buzz, or as my boss says, a sizzle!

Effective promotion must grab attention within three seconds. The more creatively you convey your message, the better chance you have of getting and holding the attention of your target audience.

Bring a group together to brainstorm fun and unexpected ways to broadcast your message. Remember, the first rule of brainstorming is there are no bad ideas. Every idea has potential. Start with the question, “If money was not an issue, what could we do to tell people about VBS?”

Of course money is an issue, but if you never allow yourself or your team to dream bigger then your budget you will settle for promoting the same way you promoted last year, and most likely miss out on an extremely creative (yet inexpensive) way to target your target audience.

6. Make Quality a Priority

The quality of your promotion is going to signal the quality of your VBS. Again, quality does not have to mean expensive, but it does have to meet the standard expected by your target audience. Once you have determined your target audience you will be able to determine the quality they expect and respond to.

So what do you need to do to get started? Enlist a promotion leader. Today!


Fun at Work Day

parrishsmallerDepending on which websites you trust the most, it could be that today, January 28th, is Fun at Work Day. Some websites list the official title as National Fun at Work Day. Other sources also list April 5 as the date for 2013 International Fun at Work Day. A few websites change the date of International Fun at Work Day to April 1, and that gives you good reason to play some harmless April Fool pranks with coworkers along with adding some fun events to the day. I think we should get away with as much fun as possible and celebrate all of the designated days, and even some days not dedicated as Fun at Work Days. Before you judge me, I will admit that it is necessary to be serious at times about our work. However, people who have fun at work have been described as productive, happy employees. I want to be one of them!

Our VBS team does work hard, but we like to mix in some fun with the work just to take the edge off of busy days and  constant deadlines. The very nature of our jobs is to create a fun, nonthreatening way for unchurched kids to learn about Jesus. So sometimes we think we should have a little fun and bring out the child in all of us to make sure we are doing it right. We’re only doing it for the kids, you know!

Here are some ways we added a little fun to preparing for and packing up for VBS previews. Keith is always available to make us laugh with funny faces.


Keith Being Silly at RidgecrestAt another spare moment, we all took a little breather and shared some laughs after traveling and hanging out before the VBS Preview Faculty Meeting at Ridgecrest.


VBS Team Hanging Out

With some prompting, we challenged Gordon and Lance to see who could shrink wrap his pallet first. So the race was on!

Lance & Gordon Racing

Then, Lance became distracted and Gordon began to yawn and move in slow motion due to the lack of competition!

Gordon Yawning with Lack of Competition

Mark Jones led conferences for VBS Previews and stayed until the bitter end in Ft. Worth. Here he proudly displays the pallet that he shrunk wrapped! He knew that we would use this photo against him! It’s not every day, you can strike a shrink wrapping pose…

Mark Poses After Shrink Wrapping

 So do something fun at work today! Take a minute and tell us about what you did to add a little fun to your workplace! You just might want to make sure there are no photographers around to capture it and post it in a blog for the world to see! But have fun today, and try to get a little work done also along the way!






Fall Is In the Air

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the cooler temperatures, the colorful leaves, and warm cozy feeling of a fire. But what I really love about fall is all the pumpkin flavored treats that are available. Have you tried a pumpkin spice donut or pumpkin pie flavored ice cream? If not, what are you waiting for? There are a million tasty concoctions out there all waiting for you! Check out our Pinterest board to find just a few. Let us know which ones are keepers!











And if you are looking for some Fall crafts, be sure to check out our craft board, as well!

What are some of your favorite things to do with your kids ministry or family during the Fall?


Foto Friday: Welcome to Fall!

Joyce Frazier

Well, Autumn officially begins tomorrow–September 22. And in Tennessee, that means cooler, shorter days; God’s handiwork manifested in all nature around us; and lots and lots of football. Also, we begin to see the arrival of wonderful homemade delicacies, perfected in the South, that can only be seen at this time of year.  Being in a Fall frame of mind, I decided to poll some of my VBS teammates to determine a few of their favorite things!

Lynne Norris

Lynne Norris

Favorite Fall scene?  A chilly morning in Cades Cove (NOTE: Cades Cove is in the Great Smoky Mountains.)

Favorite Fall sound?  a crackling fire

Favorite Fall scent?  a spiced apple candle 

Favorite Fall treat?  homemade soup


Debbie Ruth

Favorite Fall scene? watching a University of Tennessee football game (It’s football time in Tennessee!)

Favorite Fall sound? a crackling campfire, kids playing outside

Favorite Fall scent? anything cinnamon

Favorite Fall treat? going to an outdoor craft festival; my mom’s homemade apple butter

Rhonda VanCleave

Favorite Fall scene? yellow leaves on a tree against an October blue sky

Favorite Fall sound? the whistle of a football ref to start the game

Favorite Fall scent? cinnamon

Favorite Fall treat? candy corn or anything pumpkin

These are just a few of my favorite things about fall—homemade chili; viewing miles and miles of beautiful leaves; going to the pumpkin patch with my 7-year-old grandson; seeing early-morning or late-afternoon fog lifting from the surrounding hills and mountains; cinnamon, apple, and pumpkin smells all around me; fresh Fall vegetables and fruit; the chill of a cool morning; the sound of kids playing in freshly-raked leaves; the warmth of a roaring fire in the fireplace; and the fact that my mowing days are over until next year!!!!

I don’t know what Fall looks like in your little corner of the world, but I just can’t believe  that it could be any more beautiful than it is here in Tennessee.

Let us hear from you. Feel free to answer our questions about your favorite things and maybe attach a photo or two of you enjoying this time of year.

VBS & Fall Fest

Could there be a more perfect way to reuse VBS decorations than at your church’s fall festival? LifeWay Kids had our own fall festival last week… complete with food, candy, and games. Candace & I put our own spin on the classic “fish for a prize” game and totally decked out Candace’s office door with decorations from the Great Barrier Reef (Amazing Wonders Aviation).

You can check out more of the great games, booths, and decorations from our fall office party on the Kids Ministry 101 blog all this week!

We want to hear from you… Does your church do any kind of fall festival? How have you reused VBS decorations for other church/community events? Give us all some inspiration!