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!




Strengthening Families with Bible Studies for Life: Kids

katie2One of the things we love most about the new Bible Studies for Life: Kids are the elements created specifically to strengthen families and encourage discipleship at home.

  • Kids study the same biblical concept, or “Life Point”, each week as the rest of their family – from babies to adults.
  • All-church alignment, twice per year – In addition to studying the same concepts each week, twice a year kids studies fully align with students and adult resources to make church-wide campaigns even easier to do.
  • Every Kids Activity Page is filled with a helpful overview that connects the content from the adult, student, and kids session. Bible Studies for Life: Kids makes it easy for parents to keep the entire family engaged in “One Conversation” surrounding Scripture.

To learn more about Bible Studies for Life (for all ages!) and to preview three lessons of the material for free, visit biblestudiesforlife.com.

And this week only, (contest ends at 11:59 PM CDT) enter to win a year’s worth of Bible Studies for Life for your church.

Do you want in on that giveaway? Click here to learn more. Hurry! The giveaway ends tonight!


Catching a New Vision: VBS 2013

photoHappy Thursday, VBS friends!

I love Thursdays, don’t you?  If you’re anything like me, (busy!) you’re looking forward to the weekend and a couple of days of rest, but you’re thankful to still have two more days in the week to get everything on the “to-do” list done!

How’s your planning coming along so far?  What are you working on right now?

I’ve got a couple projects on my plate right now (including a brand new social media feature for sharing ideas you guys are gonna LOVE!) that I’m really excited about seeing come to fruition.

Speaking of seeing… do like my new specs?

Even though these Fun Glasses don’t have special lenses, I think wearing them is helping me catch a new vision for the work ahead. Maybe you could use a pair to help your team catch the vision for VBS 2013?

And of course, if YOU have them, your kiddos are going to need a pair for themselves, too!


Tabletopper, Photo Prop, or Something Else?

tomlinsonIs it a tabletopper, photo prop, or something else? It’s all these and more.

In case you haven’t heard there is a really cool, new product in the LifeWay VBS lineup. It’s our VBS 2013 Tabletopper! And for $6.99 it’s a lot of bang for your buck.

Just check out how we used these at our Preview events this year.




Of course these are great tabletoppers for any table you need to set up. You can use them on your sign up and enlistment tables, registration tables, snack tables, and the list goes on. Here you can see we used the side with the park scene to conceal our extra supplies in the Cotton Candy Cafe.



But wait! You can turn them around to use the coaster car side as a photo prop. As we’ve done here:


Would you like to see how we created the coaster car “seatbelt?” Well, you’re in luck, we just happen to have a few pictures to show you how.

First we cut two slits at the bottom of the safety bar on each side. Then we ran some grograin ribbon through the slits. You may want to but a small piece of tape over the end of the ribbon to help you thread it through the slits. We used black ribbon at our events, however I only had blue available when I made these for the post. You can use whatever color you wish.


Next we stapled the ribbon on one side of the tabletopper. We only stapled one side so that folks could “adjust” the seatbelt by pulling the opposite side longer for large groups or shorter for small groups.


See how easy that was to give the tabletoppers another use? We would love to hear your ideas about how you plan to use the tabletoppers or any VBS accessory in an unusual way.


On Today's Agenda . . .

As a member of the VBS Team, I get this question a lot: “You mean you have stuff to do all year?” Yes, yes, and yes! I was at the dentist office recently and the receptionist said to me, “Now that VBS is over, I guess your work has slowed down.” Au contraire, mon ami! We are in the crunch of trying to get 2013 ready and to the printer, and beginning development of 2014, all while churches are wrapping up and evaluating VBS 2012!

I keep a set of index cards, one product per card, and I write on each card what steps have been completed so I can keep up! Here’s my current rundown. . . .

1) Worship Rally DVD

• THE DRAMA: Working with the video editor on a daily basis right now; got approval from my management team on the content and overall appearance just a couple of days ago. Waiting for the editor to make final tweaks and send me an approval copy.

• THE CHOREOGRAPHY: Performance segments have been approved. Viewed the instruction segments over the weekend, and three corrections need to be made. I’m waiting to see those ASAP.

• ABC segment: Video editor #2 is working on that now. It’s due to me any minute for my approval.

• Still waiting to see “Scenic Footage” segment and the “Video Trailer.”

• I’ve created the DVD menu and just sent it to the DVD author.

2) Music Rotation Leader Guide

• Received a final approval copy from the graphic designer. This is being routed through our production editor and editorial project leader first, then will come back to me with any needed corrections marked.

3) Club VBS: Jungle Jaunt DVD

• This is due to me from the DVD author today. If everything looks OK, it will go on to the duplicator.

4) Spanish VBS Choreography DVD

• Talent enlisted. Waiting to receive Spanish recording and typeset music to send to her so she can create the choreography. (It has to be different because many of the words differ from the English versions!)

There are more products on my list, but this is probably more info than you care to read already! I will say, though, that everyone on my team feels fortunate to be able to work on VBS products. So, next time you’re wondering—yes, we have enough to do all year (and we are thankful for that)!

2012 Club VBS: SpaceQuest!

Hey guys!  I’m thrilled to be bringing you a little bit of fun info about this year’s club VBS, SpaceQuest!  I think space is AWESOME, and I’m excited to see what you guys are coming up with to help bring the whole theme together this year.

If you aren’t familiar with this year’s theme, it’s based on John 14:6 (HCSB), “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  Kids will have a galaxy full of fun as they learn all about Jesus’ mission for them.

One of the things I love about Club VBS is the flexibility of the material– not only does it work in a traditional VBS setting, but you could also use it over Spring Break, Fall Break, or even for a midweek gathering!  The material provides a two-hour schedule for five days, or one-hour schedule for ten days!  You could even use SpaceQuest as your material for a fun day camp.

Like the main VBS theme, there are Bible study, craft, and recreation/snack rotations.  During the two-hour daily SpaceQuest plan, kids will attend Worship Rally and travel to three rotation sites.

Flexibility is key here; the materials are usable with any Bible translation, and mission stories are available on the Web as a free download.

So what are we learning about this year as part of SpaceQuest?  Well, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

Preschoolers will learn that they can thank God for Jesus, show love to Jesus and others, remember what Jesus did, learn that Jesus showed God’s love for all people, and tell others about Jesus.  (Life Application, Days 1-5)

Older children will learn they can celebrate and worship Jesus, give their best to Jesus, choose to do what God wants them to do, accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, and tell others about Jesus!  (Life Application, Days 1-5)

The best part?  You can find everything you need to get started on your space journey right here!  And isn’t the art super cute?

Is your church using SpaceQuest this year?  Tell us how you’re utilizing the materials and share some of your planning and decorating tips with others who may need some help!

Door hanger Template

Hi guys, I fielded a question regarding our VBS 2013 Door hanger template that is usually online in our downloadable section of the website. Unfortunately it’s not there yet, so I wanted to post it on the blog in the meantime. :)

We changed the designed this year, so the old template will no longer work.

Here are the templates! Enjoy!



Template Instructions


Hi guys, Keith again.  I noticed a function was not working correctly on the 12_Door_Hanger_TEMPLATE_2 and so I have gone back in to fix it. If you downloaded it before today (March 6, 2012), the file will not work correctly. Thanks all!

Join Us Tomorrow for "The Show"

Tomorrow – November 9 – begins a new chapter in LifeWay’s Kids Ministry 101 with the introduction of our first web show. Each monthly installment, hosted by Bill Emeott, Klista Storts, Andy Dukes, and me!, is designed to educate, encourage, and engage by providing bite-sized training segments, nationally recognized guests such as Jon Acuff and Jim Wideman, and great tips on everything from preparing parents for camp to creating VBS decorations.

Join us tomorrow, 10:00 a.m., at lifeway.com/kidsministry101show. We’ll be watching for you!

On another note, we’re looking for a few awesome, amazing, and wonderful volunteers to help with our January VBS 2012 Previews at Ridgecrest, Fort Worth, and Nashville. You’ll have the opportunity to work in our amazing VBS EXPO, serve as a greeter, help out at the registration desk, and just be part of the team! I promise you’ll have fun.

In exchange for volunteering you will receive free registration for the event, meals, and an arm load of VBS shirts. Sorry, but we are unable to provide transportation or housing. For more information contact me at jerry.wooley@lifeway.com. If interested reply by noon, Thursday, November 10.

A Picture's Worth……..

LifeWay employees took a break Friday morning for an impromptu adaptation of Four Square using the VBS 2012 Amazing Wonders Aviation Giant Inflatable Globe. While designed for decoration and promotion the globe (approximately 44 inches) obviously makes a fun addition to recreation as well. The globe ($29.99) will available October 1 through LifeWay’s Customer Service – 1.800.458.2772.


Lots of Dogs!

Hello! As the editor of the VBS Missions curriculum, I cannot tell you how excited I am for boys and girls to have an opportunity to meet Andrew Mann and his dog, Proof, in VBS this summer. Andrew will be sharing his story and how Proof is involved in his ministry on the VBS blog over the next few days! So let me just turn it over to Andrew and Proof!

In a city of 8 million people, there are hundreds of thousands of dogs: big dogs, small dogs, furry dogs, hairless dogs, mean dogs, and nice dogs. Up in the Bronx though, is one very unique dog. In fact, she is the first of her kind. Working with a ministry and church called Graffiti 2 www.graffiti2ministries.org, she is a missionary dog.

Graffiti 2 is in a borough of New York City called the Bronx, long infamous for the devastating circumstances that are faced by its residents. Graffiti 2 is sharing the love of Christ and watching as He revolutionizes not only individual lives but a neighborhood.

As kids go on the Big Apple Adventure this summer, they will have an opportunity to see how God is revolutionizing lives all over the world through missionaries. On Day 3, of the mission’s curriculum, kids in VBS will learn more about the ministry of Proof. Meanwhile, share a day in the life of Proof in three installments (beginning today and continuing in 2 subsequent postings).

Proof God Exists*

Shhh!  She’s asleep. Laying on her brown, corduroy pillow, worn from several years of use one might not think anything unique about this mild-mannered pooch, but that is often the case for the most remarkable among us. Just as many dogs do she quivers and turns during her nightly snooze. She even drools like many of you. With the sound of an alarm, her master awakes and she hears her favorite words, “Good Morning Proof.”

That’s right, her name is Proof.  It is unlikely to find another dog by the same name, but if one did it is doubtful that such a search would reveal another as skilled as Proof. Of course she can fetch, sit, lay, and roll. She can shake, crawl, jump, and even hug to warm the coldest soul.  All of that is handy as she performs her work.  Some dogs like her are trained to help smell, search, and find. While others’ duties involve helping the blind. Proof is unique, though, she is a missionary, maybe the first of her kind.

This morning is much like all the others. Proof expectantly awaits her master’s approval to devour her morning breakfast. Unlike many of her canine companions she patiently waits . . . and waits . . . and waits . . . until she hears . . .”Okay, Proof.”  The hard, dry food is gone in a flash.

Descending four flights of stairs, Proof and her master step out on the stoop of the building and head down the street. Proof steps off the curb and on another as she crosses the street trotting alongside her master’s feet. They continue past a colorful wall tagged with graffiti, that’s the art of the city.

Turning the corner reveals a long, straight street of six-story buildings. Walking below black fire escapes which hug the front of each building, they proceed past many stoops which lead to black doors. Behind each of these black doors are many more black doors, the doorways to hundreds of homes. From these stoops many watch Proof gait by, some sitting, others standing, some young, others old. Ms. Whittie and Mr. Cruz each say, “Hello, Proof!”

Continuing down the sidewalk, Proof hears her name, “Proof.”  Looking around, it comes again, “Proof up here.”  Proof’s gentle gaze looks past a power line strewn with sneakers. Who knows how they got here, but now abandoned by their owner, they become a backdrop in the city, one of much lore. Above these hanging shoes to a window on the sixth floor, a hand is waving vigorously back and forth. This is the typical morning parade.

After a friendly wave and what seems to be a smile from Proof, the two move forward past a concrete clad park where children often play. Today with the children in school, no children are afoot but two squirrels squabble over an acorn, one chasing the other to a towering elm. Turning the final corner they arrive on the block where behind the green door Proof daily works . . .

To Be Continued . . . In the meantime, visit Graffiti 2’s Web site www.graffiti2ministries.org to find out more info about the work that takes place in the South Bronx. Also, click on the following link to download an order form for your very own Proof t-shirt. Proof Order Form Proceeds benefit the ministry of Graffiti 2.

*”Proof God Exists” is an original work of Andrew Mann. All Rights Reserved.