Foto Friday. . .What is it? Revealed!

tyrrellIn last week’s Foto Friday, I started a new feature titled, “What is It?”. We had some good guesses. Thank you to Ukulelegirl, Joyce and Sue for your guesses. You all were close. It’s a craft that you can eat! It’s one of our preschool crafts called, “Slice Specimens”. It’s vanilla pudding with food coloring made to look like a slide specimen! Stay tuned later today for your next assignment in. . .  ”What is it?”.

WHAT IS IT?

WHAT IS IT?

 

 

SLIDE SPECIMEN!

SLIDE SPECIMEN!

 

Day 1: Is Jesus Really God's Son?

bethanyAs a VBS team, we wanted to share with you what the Biblical content in Agency D3 means to each of us. I’m honored to get to go first in this series.

And there came a voice from heaven: “This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!” (Matthew 3:17)

Not long ago I found out from my mom that when I finished high school, some adults I knew well were worried about what college might do to my faith. They told my mom they were afraid college might make me cynical about the things of God. They weren’t totally wrong.

My freshman year made me question much of what I knew about the reliability of Scripture, the truth of a Biblical worldview, and the traditional Christian view of sin.

Thankfully God put people in my life who helped me see the truth and not grow hard or cynical on these subjects. In fact I think it helped me be more firmly grounded in the truth because I had a chance to question these things for myself.

But the one thing I never struggled with, never questioned or feared is the fact that Jesus is God’s Son.

During high school, which I completed at a school in East Africa since my parents were missionaries, I attended boarding school. Learning to be on my own from my parents was very difficult, but at those moments when I thought the rug had been pulled from my feet and I was falling toward a deeper rock bottom, God was there. Always there.

The truth of who He is and what Jesus did for me so that I could have that relationship became very real during that time of my life. A favorite college professor who really helped ground me in my faith and Biblical worldview liked to ask, “Do you really believe what you really believe is really real?”

Do you?

Is the fact that Jesus is God’s son a vividly true fact for you that colors all the other knowledge you have about the Bible and the world? It is for me. The Bible says it, the disciples died for it, and I’ve seen it to be true in my own life. During seasons of joy and trouble both then and now.

And I’m so so excited to get to share these truths with kids in Agency D3.

Imagine kids who enter not just their colleges and their high schools, but even their elementary schools really believing that what they really believe about Jesus is really real.

They’ll be unstoppable!

I’m praying you’ll be reminded this week of the reality of who Christ is, what that means for where you stand before God, and that you’ll be encouraged to share that with your kids, not just during Agency D3, but all year round.

When was a time in your life when Christ’s identity was confirmed for you?

VBS 2014 Tour Stop 2: Starter Kits

wooley1 2013For the next several weeks Tuesdays are for Touring! Join me as together we tour the improvements, updates and changes to LifeWay’s VBS resources you will discover with Agency D3: Discover. Decide. Defend!

Our first tour stop was last Tuesday with the all new Jump Start Kit that will be available in October. This kit contains everything you need to start planning, enlisting workers, and getting your church pumped for VBS 2014.

Tour Stop 2 is the Preschool Starter Kit and Kids Starter Kit.

As I said last week, “You spoke and we listened!” We have made getting the right resources to the right age-group leaders easier than ever. Inside the starter kits you will find one of every teaching resource for ages Birth through Kindergarten in one box, and one of ever teaching resource for Grades 1 through 6 in another. Unlike the Samplers and Super Samplers that contained Leader Guides but not Leader Packs, the Preschool Starter Kit and Kids Starter Kit each contain everything you need to get started, pre-packaged by age group in easy to identify and distribute zip-lock bags.

The Preschool Starter Kit (005610212) contains one of each of the following resources:

  • VBS 2014 Babies-2s Leader Guide, Babies -2s Leader Pack, and Kid’s Activity Pak: Babies-2s
  • VBS 2014 3s-Pre-K Leader Guide, 3s-Pre-K Leader Pack, and Kid’s Activity Pak: 3s-Kindergarten
  • VBS 2014 Kindergarten Leader Guide, Kindergarten Leader Pack, and Kid’s Activity Pak: 3s-Kindergarten
  • VBS 2014 3s-Kinderarten Rotation Pack

The Kids Starter Kit (005610211) contains one of each of the following resources:

  • VBS 2014 Grades 1-2 Bible Study Leader Guide, Grades 1-2 Bible Study Leader Pack, and Kids Evidence Kit
  • VBS 2014 Grades 3-4 Bible Study Leader Guide, Grades 3-4 Bible Study Leader Pack, and Kids Evidence Kit
  • VBS 2014 Grades 5-6 Bible Study Leader Guide, Grades 5-6 Bible Study Leader Pack, and Kids Evidence Kit
  • Missions Rotation Leader Guide with DVD, Crafts Rotation Leader Guide, Recreation Rotation Leader Cards, Snack Rotation Recipe Cards, and Music Rotation Leader Guide with DVD

Each Starter Kit also contains samples of cool Agency D3 swag and comes packaged in a convenient box that is easy to carry and super easy to store.

And as before, all resources will be available individually as well as in Starter Kits.

Next week, Tour Stop 3: Kids Evidence Kit.

 Learn more about Agency D3 at www.lifeway.com/vbs

Worship Rally Headquarters

thomas

 

Ready for some more decorating ideas? The VBS 2014 Decorating Made Easy book (available Oct. 1 in the Jump Start Kit) is packed with ideas from the basic to the elaborate, but today I wanted to give you something you won’t find in the book. Just for you, faithful blog readers… here and nowhere else. Are you ready?

 

 

worshiprallyscreen

This is the art created for the giant screen in our Worship Rally set. It’s designed to look like a bank of monitors for a high tech workstation suitable for the Agency D3 HQ. One simple way to decorate is to project this image on a free-standing screen, with a banquet table (or 3) positioned in front. Raise the back legs of the table(s) and cover the tabletop(s) with old joysticks, keyboards, calculators, buttons, gears, etc. like a giant control panel.

Want to see more? Check out this video tour through Agency D3 Headquarters and get your creative juices flowing. How will you decorate for Worship Rally?

Tales of a Secret Agent, part 1

I am Special Agent 43.5.

I am Special Agent 43.5

IMG_4908edit

My identity is a secret.

I track down the truth about questions like:
I track down the truth about deep questions like, what is our purpose on earth? How do I know that I can trust what God says? And, how DO I open this briefcase?

Today’s Mission: Pick up this package.

Today’s Mission: Pick up this package.

Memorize the address where it needs to be delivered.

Memorize the encoded address where it needs to be delivered.

And destroy it.

And destroy it.

Without choking.

Without choking.

And without being caught by the Legion of Doom (an evil subversive organization tasked with taking over the world.)

And without being caught by the Legion of Doom (an evil subversive organization tasked with taking over the world.)

According to the message delivered to my watch transmitter, under no circumstances am I to read the contents of this very dangerous package while I am trying to deliver it.

According to the message delivered to my watch transmitter, under no circumstances am I to read the contents of this very dangerous package while I am trying to deliver it.

I successfully gained entrance to the secret headquarters where the package was to be delivered

I successfully gained entrance to the secret headquarters where the package was to be delivered…

...using my authority as an Agent for Agency D3.

…using my authority as an Agent for Agency D3.

But that was where the easy times stopped.
But that was where the easy times stopped.

I was followed down the hallways by Legion of Doom Agents,

I was followed down the hallways by Legion of Doom Agents,

 

which I knew because of my highly specialized rearview glasses.

which I knew because of my highly specialized rearview glasses.

Ambushed by bubbles which always cause me break into violent fits of giggles.

Ambushed by bubbles…

which always cause me break into violent fits of giggles.

…which always cause me to break into violent fits of giggles.

and more giggles.

and more giggles.

and more...

and more…

And nearly hit in the face ...

And nearly hit in the face …

 

...with an exploding capsule...

…with an exploding capsule…

...containing a highly volatile material.

…containing a highly volatile material.
Of course all this trouble makes me wonder…

Of course all this trouble makes me wonder…

Just what is IN this secret package? And should I open it?

Just what is IN this secret package? And should I open it?

Next time in Tales of a Secret Agent: does Agent 43.5 open the secret passage? Just who are the agents behind the Legion of Doom? What do they want? And what other tricks will they use to get it from Agent 43.5?

Next time in Tales of a Secret Agent: does Agent 43.5 open the secret package? Just who are the agents behind the Legion of Doom? What do they want? And what other tricks will they use to get it from Agent 43.5?

 

VBS 2014 Tour Stop 1: Jump Start Kit

wooley1 2013Over the next few weeks I will be taking you with me on a tour of the improvements, updates, and changes you will soon experience with Agency D3: Discover. Decide. Defend!

The improvement that will be most noticeable at first – especially to VBS directors and pastors – is the absence of the Sampler and Super Sampler. For 17 years LifeWay has offered a Sampler, and more recently a Super Sampler, of the many resources designed for that specific year.

We said “Sampler” but many of you thought “Starter Kit”. While this may seem like a trivial difference, it can be a huge distinction, especially when a sampler does not include everything needed to get started. You spoke and we listened!

So out with samplers and in with Starter Kits! The first is the Jump Start Kit that will be available beginning in October (previously VBS resources, including samplers, have not been available until December).

 

I track down the truth about questions like:

As the name implies, the Jump Start Kit is designed specifically to give directors a jump start in planning, enlisting workers, and promoting the theme and dates of VBS.

The Agency D3 Jump Start Kit includes an Administrative Guide for Directors, a copy of Decorating Made Easy, Music for Kids CD, a sample of the Kids Evidence Kit for Grades 1-6, Special Agent Carabiner, Special Agent Rearview Sunglasses, Catalog, Jump Start Poster, Promotional DVD, a master of the new Takin’ It Home CD, an exclusive Director’s Badge, all packaged in an official Agency D3 metal attache case.

The VBS 2014 Jump Start Kit is $34.95. Except for the exclusive Jump Start (“save the date”) poster and Director’s Badge, all other resources of the kit can also be purchased separately.

My favorite part of the attache case is the way it is written into the Agency D3 worship rally script. Each day the director or pastor will be instructed to open the case to reveal information that is vital to the investigation for that day. In addition to the case, directors will want to wear their exclusive badge along with their rearview glasses and carabiner.

Agency D3 is a theme kids will love! But more importantly it is a theme that challenges kids, teens, and adults to explore God’s Word for themselves, decide what they believe about the truths discovered, and then have the ability to defend their beliefs.

Sure, VBS is about the fun of a theme that leaders as well as kids enjoy, but more importantly it is about the Bible content and the way it is presented to move kids into a transformed relationship with Jesus Christ. LifeWay has never produced a VBS resource that is more evangelistic then Agency D3. Beginning with day one the Gospel is clearly presented and kids will be challenged to respond.

Next week, Tour Stop 2: Starter Kits!

 

 

 

Decorating for Agency D3

thomasHow are you doing on your National Thrift Store Day challenge? Check out Friday’s post from Courtney to find out the details of the challenge and how you could win a VBS 2014 Starter Kit of your choice! To kick-start your creativity and maybe give you a few ideas, let me show you what we did with a few thrift store finds of our own.

 

dome light

This “cone of silence”/domed fixture was a prominent feature of our decorations for The Lab (crafts rotation). Check out this video walk-thru and see how many more “thrift store finds” you can spot! Come on, super sleuths, you can do this!

Decorating- Crafts (Lab)-web from LifeWay VBS on Vimeo.

 

Just Can't Wait to Get on the Road Again!

wooley1 2013This weekend is the start of one of the best parts of my year – VBS State Tour!

Yep! I’m on the road again and just might be bringing Agency D3 to a state near you!

Each year, from August through March, I have the fantastic opportunity to meet with church leaders across the Country to personally introduce them to LifeWay’s VBS resources and help prepare them for the life-changing excitement we call Vacation Bible School.

With Agency D3 we are introducing more improvements than ever. In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing many of them with you – just think of it as your personal tour stop as together we prepare for the best year of VBS ever!

Here in the office we are in the final days of getting everything to the printers and ready for the release of the new Jump Start Kit – which will be the first stop in your personal tour. The team would appreciate your prayers.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

 

In Plain Open Sight

ruth smallToday our friend and VBS writer, Joey Scruggs, Pastor of Preschool Ministries, shares a Colossal story from his church’s VBS at The First Family (First Baptist Church), Columbia, Tennessee. Joey will do just about anything to reach kids for Christ (as evidenced on Tacky Tourist Day!)

Tacky Tourist DaySometimes the best place to hide a special gift is in plain open sight. There are many times in our ministries we spend so much time recruiting and planning events that we overlook the obvious opportunities.

Such was the case in planning for Colossal Coaster World at our church this summer. Supplies were purchased, decorations were created, registrations were rolling in, our staff was recruited, and even special theme days were planned. This coaster was off the ground! It was at that point that I received a call from the pastor of our Hispanic ministry saying, “Do you think it would be possible to have a Hispanic class during VBS this year?” pic3

We have had a growing Hispanic ministry at our church for many years. For the most part, this ministry has worked parallel with all of our other ministries. As I pondered this minister’s question, I began to think, “Our church has supported their ministry, their children participate in our programs, they place their children in our nursery.” It was then that these seemingly simple thoughts brought me to complete halt. Their ministry is our ministry. We are not two church families, but one.

pic2Once I reached this revelation, plans began to fall into place. We acquired Spanish curriculum and our Hispanic pastor recruited bilingual teachers and assistants who were available just in case there were any language issues.  We established a Hispanic class for Bible teaching, but incorporated the Hispanic children into our rotations because we wanted them to have interaction with all of the other children.

We had great success! This overlooked, obvious opportunity became a very special gift and has now created a bridge between our ministries. pic1

 

 

Foto Friday–Door Decorating

carol-2We recently had a Door Decorating Contest for all of Kid’s Ministry. Of course being a member of the VBS team, I had to do a shout out to VBS. As I was working on my door, I realized that I have served in or worked on every VBS except for Good News Stampede. That was a very humbling realization that God has allowed me to be a small part of such a great ministry. Some of my favorite memories of my kids are coming home from VBS with the VBS music blaring and them singing their hearts out in the backseat. With all that said, here’s a picture of the finished project:

Door

I used the I Heart VBS Stencils and chalk to add the theme title for my door. Then I created a “word cloud” for each theme at Tagxedo. If you look closely you can see that within the words there is an image related to the theme. The words I used were all related to the theme. Can you figure out what each theme is?

I had a lot of fun walking down memory lane as I made each theme. I truly do “heart” VBS!