You've got this covered.

courtneyIt’s still September, but if you’re like me (type A), planning is already happening. I’m sure many of you have started thinking through ideas for next summer. Your list might look something like this:

- Purchase VBS JumpStart Kit

- Think through VBS leaders for 2014

- Ask ______ if she can help with decorating.

- Think through follow-up for VBS (Is there something we could do to continue the momentum after VBS?)

- When should we start promoting camp this year?

- Is there a VBS Preview Event I can attend this year?

Actually, I’m 100% sure your list looks a lot longer! We know that you love VBS, and we want to make sure you know about two other resources from LifeWay Kids that can help you reach the kids in your community. These are both great resources that along with VBS will make planning your entire summer easier!

CentriKid Camps

Have you ever taken your kids to camp before? There is nothing like taking your kids off for a week of dedicated time with God. It’s a great platform for helping set the foundation for spiritual milestones in lives of your kids. If you’ve checked out CentriKid in the past and we weren’t in your area, make sure you check again! CentriKid is always growing into new areas!

 

CentriKid Camps, R YOU IN? from LifeWay Kids on Vimeo.

Zip for Kids

Zip is a great way to continue the momentum after VBS is over. Zip for Kids is an event resource that can be customized to match the DNA of your church and community. If you’re looking to do day camp or sports camp or even your own one-of-a-kind event for preschoolers and kids, you’ll want to check out Zip. You can actually head over to the site and check out all the track time options, and even sign up to see a preview! Here’s a quick video to give you an idea of what Zip is all about:

Zip for Kids from LifeWay Kids on Vimeo.

We can’t wait to see how you use Zip for Kids this summer along with CentriKid Camps and, of course, VBS! I’ve already heard from several of you over on our LifeWay VBS Facebook page that you are well into planning. What have you done so far?

 

6 tips for making volunteers feel loved

maryWe all know those precious people who volunteer at VBS and throughout the year in the children’s ministry. They tirelessly invest in the smallest (and most energetic) of church attenders without a whole lot of accolade. As someone who has been the teacher when a child eats her take-home sheet or when only one out of ten kids can even tell you what you taught, I can tell you that your volunteers need a pat on the back every once and a while to remind them that what they are doing matters.

Here are a few simple ways to love on your volunteers:

1. Recognize their dedication and service to children. Create times to celebrate and encourage your leaders with a volunteer meal, dessert party, or thank you breakfast. (Food is ALWAYS encouraging.) Remind them that what they do is making an eternal impact in the kingdom.

2. Live life with them. Celebrate when their children get into the college of their choice or when they get married. Pray with them when a family member is sick. Know them, and let them know that you care about them, not just their presence in one of the classrooms with your favorite little people.

3. Remember their birthday. A card or a small thank you gift will mean the world, simply because you took the time to remember.

4. Ask them for feedback and help with vision. Let them know that their opinions matter. They are the expert on the hour they spend each week with their specific kids. Let them know you value them and the wisdom that they have.

5. Train them well. Communicate with them often and set them up for success. Your volunteers will enjoy serving when they feel prepared and can spend the majority of their time building relationships and investing rather than trying to figure out basics of classroom management.

6. Communicate often.  Touch base with them after they teach to hear what went well and what maybe didn’t go so well. Help them stay in the loop even if they have taken a week off.

More Decor

thomasJudging by the comments on Keith’s most recent Foto Friday blog, it seems the consensus thus far is leaning toward some kind of snack. We’ll find out for sure this Friday. In the meantime, while we all have snacks on the brain, let’s take a closer look at some ideas for decorating the snacks area of Agency D3—the break room. This one’s a fun one!

Be sure to check out the tutorial at the 1:24 mark. I’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of making screw heads out of Styrofoam balls to give your Agency D3 decorations an industrial feel. They’re so easy, yet add so much (and are incredibly inexpensive). Now that’s my kind of decoration!

 

Continue the Connection in September

vancleaveIt’s almost the middle of September! Do you know where your kids are? Your VBS kids, that is. Kids are back from summer camps, vacations, and trips to Grandma’s house. They are back in school and into fall sports and, often, in a bit more of a routine. How can you continue the connection this month?

Even in the age of text messages and emails, most kids are still excited to get something in the mail. What if each kid received a “thinking of you” or “praying for you” note from you or someone at your church. It may take longer, but a handwritten note lets each kid know he is special. Before you think, “No way! I’m too busy for that!” think about some of these possibilities:

Purpose of the cards:

  • Just to say, “Hi!”
  • Praying for you.
  • Hope you are having a great school year.
  • Thinking of you.

Sources of help:

  • Check with Bible study classes or small groups. Ask them to do a few before they begin their class.
  • Enlist the help of retired folks or stay-at-home moms who might be willing to be a part of this ministry by writing a few during the week.
  • Enlist the older youth to take this on as a mission project for the month of September.

You provide:

  • Blank note cards and envelopes
  • Lists of addresses
  • Stamps or instructions about where to bring the completed note cards so you can mail them

Consider:

  • Set a deadline for the cards to be mailed.
  • Think of something simple (like a coupon for an ice cream cone) to include with the note.

What are some great “Continue the Connections” that have worked for you? We’ll try to share one a month, so stay tuned!

 

 

Looking forward to VBS 2014: Day 2

mary

I am so excited about Day 2 of VBS for the summer of 2014!

I have always loved the last half of Mark 6. Jesus’ miracles are such a beautiful picture of His ability to provide for our needs and His desire to help us understand who He is.

The apostles were just returning from performing miracles and teaching, and yet they still questioned how food would be provided for all of the people. Sometimes I wonder how Jesus felt when He taught them over and over again, and yet they just didn’t really get it. I wonder if He ever just shook His head and laughed because they were so far off target.

Just in case they had missed His power before, Jesus fed 5000+ with just five fish and two loaves of bread. I love that Jesus gives this food lavishly, as He gives so much to us. He didn’t just feed the people until they were full. There were twelve baskets of leftovers! I’m so glad we serve the God of excessive grace and provision. I am so frequently reminded that He gives us so much more than we deserve.

I’m often reminded that I am just like the disciples. I forget that God will provide for my needs and that He wants to know me and to be known by me. I forget that God wants to lavish grace upon grace on me, even though I have nothing to offer in return.

I look forward to kids learning about God’s provision and lavish grace through this passage! I hope that it really sinks in for kids that through Jesus, we receive God’s amazing power and perfect provision!

Decorating for Bible Study

thomasHappy Monday! Let’s celebrate with another decorating demo!

Today’s decorating video features a sneak peek at the location for Bible Study at Agency D3—the Evidence Vault. And for all of you VBS DIYers out there, be sure to check out the technique demonstration around the 2 minute mark.

 

 

Foto Friday. . .What is it? Revealed!

KeithWell, it’s that time of the week again. . .Foto Friday!

You all had some good guesses! But I mustache you a question! Who all said it was a craft? Raise your hands. . .higher! Okay, I can’t see you all. It is a craft! It’s our “Agent in Disguise” craft!

Photo01

 

Agent in Disguise

 

 

Stay tuned later today for your next assignment of. . .”What is It?”!

 ”The Kids Ministry 101 blog today is about the importance of teaching kids apologetics. Check it out here.”

Register Now For Kids Ministry Conference!

KMC_Header

Andy Dukes, Event CoordinatorIt’s hard to believe that October is almost upon us.  And that can only mean one thing here at LifeWay Kids – an awesome opportunity for you to get connected with our national Kids Ministry Conference! An annual conference hosted by our LifeWay Kids team, we build it to truly be a transformational experience for you and your children’s ministry team. We want to provide you with great training and content through our workshops, great worship, and inspirational messages, in addition to loads of fun!

We feel that this year’s event is going to be the best one yet. You need to act now because space is filling up fast. Some of the featured guests this year include Anthony Evans, Eric Geiger, JD Greear, Angie Smith, Jeffrey Reed, and Jennie Allen. And for 2013, your registration fee also includes a ticket to the historic Ryman Auditorium for a special concert on Tuesday night! That’s almost worth the price of admission right there! If that wasn’t enough for all you VBS fans out there, if you come to KMC 2013, you will get the chance to take part in an exclusive preview of our 2014 VBS theme, “Agency D3″!

So what are you waiting for? This is a great opportunity to network with others, be challenged in your own ministry, and be inspired by the Lord to continue following the call He has placed on your life.

For more info, check out our website HERE.

Don’t Delay! Register Today!

For more info or if you have specific questions, contact our Event Coordinator- Andy Dukes (andy.dukes@lifeway.com)

Save the Date for VBS 2014

candace-1VBS 2014? Yes, you read that right. It is never too early to think about VBS 2014. Make sure to mark your calendars for October when you can begin purchasing the VBS 2014 Jump Start Kit. From there the possibilities are endless. You can begin enlisting teachers, thinking about decorations, and just any general planning for VBS. Here at LifeWay, we live VBS 365 days a year and we don’t want you to miss out on any of it. Below you will find a VBS planning calendar. This calendar will help you make plans for your own VBS! As always, if you have any questions, let us know. We love to help!

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Thrift Store Challenge Results!

A few weeks ago, we posted a challenge to those out there that love VBS. Your mission? To create a gadget out of thrift store finds. We received many entries that blend seamlessly with our Agency D3 theme for 2014! You did an amazing job! Here’s a few of our favorites:

VBS Thrift Store GadgetDana Whittaker created this gadget, complete with high tech monitor, out of an easy bake oven, a few toys, PVC pipe, a Blokus game board, and some silver spray paint. Don’t you love it?!

VBS Thrift Store Gadget This lab analyzing machine came from Bethany Johnson. An old popcorn maker, spray paint, Tinker Toys, and a glow stick combined to make this final product. We’re positive the kids are going to be thrilled!

1149720_10201860190096214_833467647_o Lisa Moore shows us her skill with a metal bowl, toy microscope complete with a screen, and a light. By the time Agency D3 starts in her church, she’ll have this light flashing off of all the walls! Follow Lisa’s example for some of your own gizmos!

VBS Thrift Store Gadget One more outstanding entry came in the form of  a thrift store purchased beverage dispenser and a plastic water bottle filled with oil, water, and food coloring. Add on a few crazy straws and you’re ready for the lab!

Remember when we said we’d randomly select a winner from all of our participants? Of course you do! Well, our lucky winner of a VBS 2014 Starter Kit is Lisa Moore. Congratulations Lisa! (We used random.org to determine who would receive the prize.)

We were overwhelmed with the amazing gimmicks we received through email and Facebook posts. Thank you so much for participating! Decorating for Agency D3, as you’ve seen in prior videos and posts, can be easy and inexpensive. We hope you’ve found some inspiration today!