The Journey to VBS 2015 Begins!

Journey Off The Map™

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Set out on a journey to uncharted territory where kids will encounter the unexpected waiting around every bend. Imagine discovering new plants, flowers, or trees and seeing amazing scenery from brand new vantage points. What excitement! Sounds beautiful, right?

 

In 2015 God has led us to take our content outline a little “off the map.” We jump in with both feet on Day 1 by introducing Jesus as our ultimate Guide and sharing how to have a personal relationship with Him. On Days 2–4 kids will explore stories from the Book of Daniel. These Bible stories show how Daniel and his friends followed God as their Guide. Kids can discover from these examples how to follow Jesus as their Guide. On Day 5 kids will learn that, even though the journey may be unknown to us, it is known to Him. The vision God gave Daniel and the promises Jesus made to His disciples give all of us hope for now and forever.

 

Just as Daniel and his friends stepped into uncharted territory and found that God still had a plan, kids can begin to understand that obedience to God does not always lead to the expected. The journey of a lifetime begins with an exciting relationship with Jesus that continues into eternity. Whenever faced with the unexpected, kids can know to listen for God’s command: “This is the way. Walk in it.”

 

Bible Content Point of the Week

God is faithful. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, he walks with us along the journey of becoming more like Him. God’s story of redemption includes the promise of eternity with Him. Our faithfulness to God is important to insure that the relationship grows as we journey with Him.

Day 1 Know Your Guide

Jesus’ birth was announced and angels declared that He is the Messiah. Jesus spent time teaching and healing people. He died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day He arose. Jesus is our ultimate Guide. (Galatians 4:4–5; Luke 2:8–11; Matthew 4:23–25; 1 Corinthians 15:3–5)

 

Day 2 Follow Your Guide

Daniel and his friends were among the Jewish captives chosen to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. The food provided for the friends broke the laws God had given the Jewish people. Instead of breaking God’s laws, Daniel chose to follow his Guide and requested permission to be given vegetables and water instead. (Daniel 1)

 

Day 3 Trust Your Guide

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow and worship the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had built. As a result the three friends were thrown into a fiery furnace. They trusted God whether He chose to save them or allowed them to perish. God protected the three friends in the fire and they emerged unharmed. (Daniel 3)

 

Day 4 Stay On Track

Daniel consistently did what was right and kept his focus on God. Even when the king signed an edict that made it illegal to pray to anyone but the king, Daniel continued to pray openly to God. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den for refusing to pray to the king. God closed the lions’ mouths and rescued Daniel from the lions. (Daniel 6)

 

Day 5 Keep Watching

Daniel received a vision of things to come. Jesus also told His disciples about things to come. God tells believers to keep watching for Jesus’ return and to obey His Word. (Daniel 10:7–12; 12:13; John 14:1–4; Revelation 22:7)

 

Up next: The Journey of a Lifetime

VBS 2015 – Already?

VanCleave - new (1)What were you doing last week? Were you making plans for the holidays? We were working with writers and getting VBS 2015 rolling. Yes, I really mean 2015!! Long days, lots of coffee and chocolate, laughs, and some very serious hard work by God-gifted writers.

For the second year in a row we have returned to the “write onsite in a week” approach. It is an intense week, but having creative folks at your elbow to bounce ideas around is a huge blessing!

What now? Just like other super heroes, the writers have headed back to family, jobs, and teaching kids at their churches. They are back where people have no idea that the past week of their lives will impact hundreds of thousands with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

… but God knows.

And what will VBS 2015 be? Here are some sneak peeks. Wonder if there are any clues.

Is it a Lots o' Coffee theme?

Is it a Lots o’ Coffee theme?

Or is it a Color My World theme?

Or is it a Color My World theme?

Whatever the theme is, rest assured it was covered with prayer, planning, and pondering.

Whatever the theme is, rest assured it was covered with prayer, planning, and pondering.

 

 

Calling all VBS Geeks!

Those of us on the VBS team eat, sleep, and breathe VBS all year long! We love getting to work on a product that reaches so many people and we want it to be the best that it can be. And we know that there are those of you out there who also love VBS as much as we do! We are looking for you! We want to hear your stories. You spend hours organizing, planning, decorating, building sets, and so much more to make this a meaningful event for your church. Leave a comment with a name or nominate yourself to be one of our VBS Geeks of the Week. We will share the stories and send them a cool T-shirt!

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KMC is Approaching!

It’s beginning to look a lot like the best conference you will ever attend around the LifeWay building today!

Our Kids Ministry Conference kicks off on Monday and will feature tons of inspiring speakers, engaging worship, and practical break out sessions. It’s not too late to join us!

Check out the details here: http://kidsministryconference.com/

Here are some photos from the setup:

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It’s going to be a fantastic week and we pray that the Lord uses it as a catalyst to move in the lives of children’s ministers who serve around the country. If you can’t join us, spend some time praying for those who will be here, asking God to refresh them in their ministries.

Also, if you can’t be there for KMC, consider coming to a VBS Preview sometime in early 2014. You’ll get an insider look at next summer’s VBS with tips and advice from those who wrote the content! Check it out by clicking here.
We hope to see you at both KMC and VBS Previews!

VBS 2014 Jump Start Kit Available Today!

Let the celebration begin!!!

LifeWay’s new VBS 2014 Jump Start Kit is available at LifeWay Christian Stores today!

jump start kit

Pre-orders started shipping last week so many of you have already had a chance to explore this great new resource.

We would love to hear your reaction to both the Jump Start Kit and the new Takin’ It Home CD.

VBS 2014 Tour Stop 6: Takin' It Home

wooley1 2013The newest addition to LifeWay’s family of VBS resources is the VBS 2014 Takin’ It Home CD. You may have read about it back in June.

Takin’ It Home is truly one of the most exciting aspects of VBS to come along in years. VBS leaders and pastors are constantly trying to figure out ways to connect with parents, and this is it!

Takin’ It Home CD is designed for families to listen to in the car on the way home from VBS. A segment for each day not only serves as a review for the the kids, but introduces the content, life application, and memory verse to the parents as well. Each day families will be challenged to have intentional conversations with each other. Families will also be challenged to pray together and return the following Sunday for Bible study and worship.

We tested Takin’ It Home with four churches this summer and have heard great stories such as the parents in Florida who made professions of faith as a result of interacting with their kids and the CD. Or the mom in Tennessee who rushed into the church office wanting to know where she could get a copy for a neighbor family. We also heard from a mom who said she had never had such meaningful conversations with her kids.

We believe so much in this resource that we have done everything we can to make it possible for every family to have a copy of their own. Every church will receive a copy in the Jump Start Kit, along with permission to make as many copies as needed. In a few weeks  there will also be free downloadable files at lifeway.com/vbs. Again, make as many copies as you wish.

If you do not have a way to make copies, or if you would just enjoy the convenience of having them made for you, we have taken care of that as well. You can choose to purchase Takin’ It Home CDs in 10 packs.

For a few extra dollars you can have the message of Takin’ It Home customized especially for your church. Our actors will record the segments specifically for your church, along with a message of invitation to attend future services and events. You will receive a master copy and permission to reproduce as many copies as you need.

VBS continues to be one of the very best ways to connect with unchurched families, and now Takin’ It Home makes it easier than ever to connect with parents.

 

 

5 Things I Learned from Mom

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Happy Monday! Hope you had a marvelous weekend! I spent it traveling for my mom’s birthday, and it was a special time of celebrating her.

Which gets me thinking. My mom was more excited than anyone else when she found out I was moving to Nashville to work on VBS. That’s because for as long as I can remember, my mom has been a teacher, but her secret identity is VBS Super Woman.

Not many days go by that I don’t remember and use her advice. In honor of my mom’s excellence as a VBS mentor, here are some lessons I’ve learned from her.

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1. Get excited! My mom has childlike excitement down to a science, which taught me not to grow up too fast. She proved the point on her last visit. It was just after the Giant Inflatable Game Cube (005630803) released and I left it in my living room floor. As I expected, it was the first thing she went to after hugging me. Her excitement was second only to…well, mine!

2. Plan too many activities; know you won’t use them all. As a new teacher, I was terrified of running out of activities. My mom told me to go ahead and prepare a lot of activities, but not to be upset if we didn’t finish everything. It’s more important to get Biblical truth across to kids than to finish a to-do list.

3. Make decorations interactive and reusable. My mom’s a simple decorator for VBS. But what she does is memorable. Her yellow wagon shows up every year as a train car, taxi, roller coaster, and more. Kids love to be pulled in it, not to mention that it’s handy for packing supplies.

4. Don’t focus on decorations. My first year teaching, I obsessed over making my decorations impressive, complex, and unique. I’m sure my 3- and 4-year-olds appreciated it. My mom urged me not to stress but to spend more time learning Bible content and loving my kids. She was right of course. My kids will never remember what their room looked like that year. They will remember that I loved them like my mom taught me. Like Jesus taught us.

5. Love is the same in every language. It’s not easy to ruffle my mom. Was she phased when half her kindergarteners spoke only Spanish, a language she’s barely heard? Nope. She called me that year, excited over new friends and new words she was learning. Only God knows how instrumental her willingness to be flexible has been in the spiritual lives of so many kids.

I love and respect my mom a lot. Whoever it may be, I’m guessing you also had someone who mentored you as you learned to minister to children. Share their name in the comments and then share this post! Let them know how thankful you are for what they’ve taught you. Speaking of which, I think I’ll go call my mom. Some things can’t be said too often.

Foto Friday. . .What is It? Revealed!

tyrrellIn last week’s Foto Friday, I gave you two images to Discover, Decide and Defend. One was for real and the other one was “something” else. . .I’m testing you and can I say, you are GOOD! I can’t seem to pull one over on you! Great guesses from Marsha, Trici, Jeni, Susen, and Debbie. Some of your guesses are almost right on. . .do we have a mole? Is my office bugged? Are you using some kind of cool gadget to figure out what I’m up to? Say…… something like this?

Agent Locator

Agent Locator. . .clip art?. . .maybe. . .wink wink!

Enough of sneakily giving you a piece of clip art, here’s this week’s “What is It? Revealed!”.

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This is a VBS craft called the Critical Information File Cabinet.

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Now this one was the image that I was trying to “get” you with. Yes, Trici and Debbie. . .it is Superman! Superman Socks that is! With a cape!

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photo-26No, this is not me. This is Henry. . .and I love his socks!

Stay tuned for your next assignment!

Coming to a location near you…

mary2013′s VBS season is wrapping up and we have loved hearing the stories about the impact that Colossal Coaster World had on the kids who attended VBS at your church this summer!

We can hardly believe that it is time to start planning for 2014 now! The best planning and training that you can get takes place each year at the VBS Preview events. If you’ve been, leave us a comment and tell us why it’s a “can’t miss event.”

If you haven’t been before, here are 6 reasons to sign up today:
1. Be one of the first to truly experience and be trained for your time at Agency D3 in 2014.
2. Hear from writers and editors about best practices and creative ideas to engage the kids who attend.
3. Ask any question that you might have to those who developed the curriculum for Agency D3.
4. Have a blast networking with other leaders and hearing their ideas about decorating and training teachers.
5. Hear from experts about child development, discipline, and classroom management to pass on to your VBS volunteers.
6. Take home a ton of ideas, notes, and swag that will give you a jumpstart into the summer!

VBS Previews are coming to a city near you! We have events in Ridgecrest, North Carolina; Fort Worth, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Kissimmee, Florida!

Check out more details and register here. 

VBS 2014 Day 3: Was Jesus' Death Real?

candace-1In VBS 2014, Day 3 answers the question, “Was Jesus’ Death Real?” It is a day where kids will read the story of Jesus’ crucifixion from Mark, and will learn what happened next. There have been many theories of what happened to Jesus’ body when He was taken from the cross. Some believe that the disciples hid him away and that He didn’t really die, and others believed His body was stolen from the tomb so that we would think He rose. How do we really know what happened to Jesus’ body? We can find the answers in the Bible. Kids can know that the evidence proves that Jesus’ death was real. There were many witnesses there who could testify to that. We know that Joseph of Arimathea asked for Jesus’ body to bury, and He did just that. The body could not have been stolen because a huge stone was rolled in front of the tomb, and guards were posted outside to keep anyone from taking the body. Jesus had told His disciples He would die and that He would rise again. He knew what God’s plan for Him was.

How amazing is it that we have a heavenly Father that loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins? I am also thankful that God gave us the Bible to go to when we have questions. In this day and age people are always questioning and trying to prove or disprove what they have been taught. Thankfully we know that every word in the Bible is God’s Truth, and therefore we know that Jesus really died and rose again.