Eye Spy…

Let’s have a little fun this Wednesday, shall we?  We snapped some pictures of old set and prop pieces from our VBS storage area– let’s see if you can figure out what they are and what VBS they’re from!  Leave a comment, numbered 1-6 (right to left, top to bottom) of your guesses!  If you guess them all right, we may even send you a little somethin’ somethin’ in the mail!  Good luck!

 

National Dog Day

In case you didn’t know, yesterday was National Dog Day. In honor of that, we decided it would be fun to introduce you to our dogs. Now, you will see a lot of pictures of cute dogs who pose real sweet for  a picture, but my dogs are not that cooperative! I had to try and get a shot while they were running around in the yard! Meet Harley and Molly!

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 Carol has two dogs, Pumpkin and Penelope. They keep watch over the house when everyone is away!

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Meet my dog-nephew, Peyton. Is he not the sweetest looking dog ever?! My nephews were young boys when they got him. They knew immediately what his name would be: Peyton Manning Prewitt! (As UT football fans, there was no other option.) Peyton and I had a special bond. When my entire family was together, he would bring his tennis ball or toy straight to me. He knew I adored him. Sadly, Peyton developed cancer. It was a heart-wrenching day when we had to put him to sleep. He will always be my favorite dog!

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Our family dog is Lola Coco (her official A.K.A. name). She is a 6-year-old dachshund (that’s 42 in dog years) and is affectionately known by her family as Lolabell. Actually, she is my youngest son’s dog that he brought home with him when he graduated from college. We don’t get to see her very often, but she does come to visit occasionally. Lola is very active and loving, especially with children. When it comes to my son, “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.” Yes, she is spoiled rotten!

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Gordon’s family has two dogs, Lucy and Buckley. Buckley is the newest addition to the family. Here’s his picture with Gordon’s son, Evan.

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Meet Courtney’s dog Milo. Isn’t he the cutest thing?

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Pam’s family has the sweetest dog, Vandy. Named, of course, for Vanderbilt University!

Have you heard about Silver Dollar City?

Well… we’ve got a great partnership going on with them for Colossal Coaster World in 2013.  We’re so thankful that they allowed us to shoot our 2013 video series inside their park in Branson, MO–they were truly the most gracious hosts!

I had the pleasure of traveling out there with our video team and capturing some behind-the-scenes content that I can’t WAIT to share with you.  When our director Bill called it a wrap, we even had time to ride two of the most awesome roller coasters around– Powder Keg and Wildfire!  Some of our videos were even shot with actors ON the rides!  Our whole team had an absolute blast spending a few days inside the park.  You seriously couldn’t ask for a cleaner, more family-friendly theme park!

If you haven’t heard yet, Silver Dollar City put together an INCREDIBLE giveaway EXCLUSIVELY for friends of LifeWay VBS.  We are patiently waiting to hear back from them about who won this amazing trip!

The Getaway of a Lifetime includes 4 days for up to 6 members of your family, including:  

Multiple Days at Silver Dollar City  |  Play all day – and the next, and the next! –  at Silver Dollar City, an award-winning 1880s-style theme park, presenting eight world-class festivals and events, and 30 rides and attractions including thrill rides and roller coasters, 100 demonstrating craftsmen, shows, hearty Ozarks food and even a tour of Marvel Cave. Plus lunch on us!

Multiple Days at White Water water park   |  Take your family on an island adventure at White Water, featuring 13 acres of tropical fun and rides from mild to wild, including the tropical river adventure Aloha River at Hula Hula Bay, the 7-story, 6-slide thrill ride Kalani Towers, and speed slides like Raging River Rapids, plus a 500,000 gallon wave pool and the interactive attraction Splashaway Cay. (Open May 26 – September 3).

Dinner Cruise aboard the Showboat Branson Belle  |  Take your family aboard America’s most entertaining dinner cruise, the 700-seat Showboat Branson Belle, presenting the new show Made in the USA, starring the world’s only violin-playing aerialist, Janice Martin, and the male vocal group, The ShowMen, with comedian and magician Christopher James as emcee. Each cruise aboard the authentic paddle-wheeler includes a 3-course dinner, show and lake cruise on Table Rock Lake.

3 Nights at a luxury Lakeside Resort  |  You’ll relax in style in a secluded lake resort with first-class amenities – a great place to rest after a day of fun!

Tickets to a Branson show of your choice  |  Famous as the Live Entertainment Capital of the US, Branson has 100 shows. The hardest part will be choosing just one!

$500 in travel (redeemable only with trip) to help get you here!  |  Total prize value: $2,500

Are you planning a trip to Silver Dollar City?

"Paint my foot blue!?" VBS Craft Idea Takes Flight!

Adam did not want anything to do with painting his foot blue! It was simply not going to happen—until Sally Cramer showed him that his blue foot would turn into a really cool blue airplane!

His shoes and socks were off in a flash!

Once the foot print dries, it is outlined with fabric paint pen—the kind that bumps up a little.

Every year during VBS, Sally Cramer tries to come up with a hand print or foot print craft for her 2 & 3 year old VBS class. Check out this year’s amazing fleet of little blue feet!

Dabbs gets a blue pedicure!

“Parents love to have foot prints or hand prints at different stages of their kid’s lives,” Sally said, “so why not bring that idea to VBS every year?”

The Blue Feet Fleet!

It started several years ago when Sally, Sherry Vick and Becky Clay helped their class of little people create hand/foot print tote bags! Sally recalled, “It was pretty cool to see the 4 year olds use their VBS tote bags to carry their stuff in when they promoted to BIG Church in the fall”.

Game Day tote bag!

To mix things up, Sally and friends decided to alternate tote bags with t-shirts. Tote bags on the even years—T-shirts on the odd years. The rest is VBS history!

Arctic Edge! Hands and feet—just don’t paint the toes!

Outrigger Island! Hand print palm trees. William’s hand is still green to this day! jk

Sally and some of the little people!

A bit about Sally: she is married to Steve, has two great kids, Alyson (9), and Lucas (10), owns and operates her own graphic design business Little June Bug Graphics from her home, teaches graphic design at The Art Institute, and loves VBS! (She totally qualifies as a VBS Geek of the Week!) …and she goes to my church, FBC Nashville.

Lance and Sally

Thanks Sally for what you (and all of you reading this blog!) do to make VBS happen for kids everywhere! Teaching kids about Jesus—doesn’t get any better than that!

Bonus: gotta give a little shout out to Lydia (Adam’s mom) who is pretty “crafty” herself. The airplane shirt Adam is wearing? Lydia made it! Also, Patrick (Adam’s dad) works here at LifeWay and led music at VBS this year! Thanks Patrick!

Today on Kids Ministry 101, We’re part of the Family Ministry Blog Tour!!

Monday Inspiration.

This Monday morning, I have been overwhelmed with the thought of how new and fresh this “ordinary” week is.  July turns into August in just a couple of days, and that probably means things are changing within your ministry and within the lives of the children you minister to.  Don’t waste the opportunity to embrace the change for the better!  Challenge the status quo within your ministry, learn from mistakes made, and make famous the name of Jesus!

Today I’m just going to leave you with this quote from Jim Wideman:

It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to start doing ministry differently. And it’s never too late to learn from the mistakes of others.

How has God been leading you to do things differently?

Awesome and Amazing!

This morning I complete an awesome and amazing week of CentriKid Camp at Ridgecrest Conference Center in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

I say “awesome” and “amazing” because just like VBS, this week we have truly witnessed an Awesome God and His Amazing Power. Last night we celebrated as a child who earlier in the week voiced disbelief in God, made a complete turn around and confessed Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He was one of many life transformations this week!

Can you tell we sang “A-M-A-Z-ING” this week?

I can also say “awesome” and “amazing” about this place – Ridgecrest Conference Center – and the surrounding Black Mountain and Asheville area. This week has afforded me a few hours to explore, both by foot and car, God’s amazing wonders. There may not be a Grand Canyon or Victoria Falls near by, but the majesty of God’s creation is in every stream and mountain peak.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit in October, and I sincerely hope you will join me right here at Ridgecrest October 8 – 10 for LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference. As awesome and amazing as this place is in the summer, I can only imagine the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Fall. I’m usually here in January, so this October will be my first time to experience North Carolina’s Fall wonders.

Sadly, camp ends this morning, but not the fun! For the afternoon I’m thinking about checking out the shops and terrific restaurants of Black Mountain, the Billy Graham exhibit at The Cove, a hike up Chimney Rock (I hear the view is truly one of God’s amazing wonders), a visit to the awesome and amazing Biltmore mansion in Asheville, or maybe just a leisurely drive to take in the sights of the Swannanoa Valley. So much to experience, so little time! I just may have to plan another visit before October!

One thing is for sure, you do not want to miss the awesome and amazing experience of Kids Ministry Conference. The worship leadership of Travis Cottrell, the tremendous speakers and breakout leaders, the terrific relationships, and Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains all combine for one awesome and amazing experience!

Looking forward to seeing you October 8 – 10!

Adventures in International VBS!

The following is a guest post from Ann Cretin, LifeWay International.
As our boys and girls have experienced the various continents and cultures this year during “Amazing Wonders Aviation” VBS, VBS volunteers have literally travelled around the globe training leaders in other countries in regards to Vacation Bible School these last few years.

Texas team goes to Malaysia!

 

II Timothy 2:2 “. . . commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” has come alive with VBS volunteers from TX, OK, AZ, TN, CO, AL, and others.  About 10 years ago teams began to travel to Malaysia to help churches there conduct a LifeWay VBS.  Churches got excited about the concept of VBS being an outreach for their church and their community.  At one particular church, boys and girls can only come to the VBS if they bring with them a friend that doesn’t attend church anywhere.  This church follows up through the entire year with these friends and families with special events to continue the relationship with them.  
So we’ve seen Americans travel to Malaysia.

Malaysian team goes to East Malaysia!

Then the Malaysians “got the concept”, and they then travelled to East Malaysia to help churches there train and conduct their first VBS.  Volunteers have travelled to the Caribbean countries with this same mission at heart.  Another team heads back to northern Malaysia in November.  The request came in this week asking for a team to come to Taiwan!

Testimonies:
“It was an amazing wonder for training!” writes Sabrina from OK who went to the Cayman Islands.

“From a small VBS group of 50 children in 3 classes – Kindy, Middle Children and Preteens (2011) – they are going to have 6 classes and about 120 children. (2012) PTL!!” writes Poh Gek who took the first team to Miri, East Malaysia

“We had 356 kids at Saddle Ridge Ranch and 118 of them said the Sinners Prayer for the first time at our VBS.  For the first time, we have seen growth in both our Sunday Schools due to the follow-up from VBS,”  writes a friend from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Teaching boys and girls about global missions is wonderful.  But have you ever thought about experiencing it yourself?

Ann Cretin
LifeWay International

VBS Preparation– How's it Going?

Hey there, VBS friends!

I want to hear what you’re working on for 2012 VBS!  Maybe some of you are still looking for ideas, and could gain some inspiration from hearing what others are doing.  Whether you’re preparing for Amazing Wonders Aviation or Space Quest, maybe you had a great idea for decorating…please share!  We’re all friends here, and sharing your ideas may just inspire someone else!

What are you working on right now?

What has been the biggest challenge in preparing for VBS?

What is your favorite decoration for VBS 2012?

How can we help you?

Don’t be shy! Share some ideas!

Pintresting Mother's Day Crafts

That’s right LifeWay Kids is on Pintrest! Check us out for lots of great ideas including these favorites for Mother’s Day.

You can go from the very simple like this cute Mother’s Day Card

Source: lets-explore.net via LifeWayKids on Pinterest


To the more elaborate like this Etched Family Tree Plate

Source: itstaylormade.com via LifeWayKids on Pinterest

And anything in between. Check out our Mother’s Day Board for more great ideas. And share your favorite Mother’s Day gifts or ideas with us. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Social Media as a Ministry Tool: The Basics

Some of you may be thinking, “Social media!? There’s no way I can use that as a ministry tool. I’m too far behind already.” But guess what… if you are reading this blog post, you’re already more savvy than you think.

YOU are reading a blog post– and according to our data, chances are good that you got to this blog by Google searching for VBS or clicking on a link on Facebook or Twitter. So how can you use what you already know about the Internet to connect with your parents, volunteers, and community? Let me show you the way!

1) Just have a social media presence. There are many options to choose from, but Twitter and Facebook are the most commonly used social realms. I would say most parents use Facebook rather than Twitter. But determine what your parents and volunteers are using and sign up. Make sure it’s clear that the Facebook page or Twitter handle belongs to your ministry. Be sure to use a familiar logo so that users can easily identify the account as yours.

2) UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE! Twitter and Facebook are FREE ways to communicate–great tools! But those avenues are useless if you aren’t using them. Use your “status” to inform parents and volunteers of dates/times and ministry needs. Make sure that you update regularly and respond to questions from parents and volunteers.

A good example of a status update might be: “Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS kicks off in just one month!! We’re looking for excited volunteers to help us take flight! Interested? Let us know! ”

Interested volunteers could then interact with that status by responding and expressing their desire to help with VBS. This is especially helpful if you use youth and college students to help with VBS; most students that age are constantly receiving information from social media outlets!

Here are some other great examples:

“Don’t forget!! VBS volunteer training TONIGHT from 6-7pm in the Fellowship Hall. Can’t wait to see your smiling faces!”

“Registered to send your little camper to CentriKid yet? Deadline for registration is May 30th! Scholarships available. Contact Katie for more information.”

3) Have fun! It may surprise you how much fun social media can be. When you show excitement about your new-fangled tool, others will be excited to communicate with you. Enjoy “being part of the conversation” and engaging parents and volunteers in this way.

4) Follow US! If you’re on Facebook, make sure you check out the pages for LifeWay Kids, LifeWay VBS, CentriKid Camps, and LifeWay PreTeens. They’re great places to get updates about the latest stuff going on, ask questions and get in on the conversation with other folks in ministry. If you’re on Twitter, make sure to follow @lifewayvbs, @lifewaykids, @centrikidcamps, and our new curriculum, @gospel_project!

So there are the basics. Think you’re ready to get started? If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here or email me: katie.decillo@lifeway.com. I’d love to help you out!

I’ll be back soon with more tips and tricks–stay tuned!