6 Truths From the Agency D3 Scriptures

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There are so many wonderful truths in the Scriptures that are a part of this year’s VBS. Here are the ones that jumped out at me as I reflected on them.

  1. Jesus is God’s Son. – Matthew 3:17 – It’s true! Jesus is the Son of the God of the universe. The One who created everything. The One who sent His Son to Earth because He takes a personal interest in whether we know and love Him or not. How incredible that you and I and the kids we minister to can have a relationship with God’s Son!
  2. Seeing Jesus act invokes wonder. – Mark 6:2, 42-44, 51 – Whether it was the unbelieving friends and neighbors in Nazareth, the people who ate miraculous loaves and fishes, or the terrified disciples in the boat, everyone who saw what Jesus did was astonished. Mark 6:51 says the disciples “were completely astounded.” I do not stop in amazement often enough at what He has done. What has He done in your life?
  3. The crucifixion was truly horrific. – Mark 15:22-47 – I read this passage with a new shudder this week. As Easter approaches, I see clean pictures of empty crosses and puzzles with words like crucifixion, resurrection, and nailed. And I realize how often I see the cross like that. A simple activity reduced to a few words. But this year the picture is vividly before me. He went through the worst death imaginable, for us. For me. For all my sins. Let my wonder and thanks and praise never fade.
  4. We forget. ­– Luke 24:5-7 – The disciples shared amazement at Jesus’ wonderful miracles, and they heard Jesus’ words about His future. But they forgot pretty quickly. Their astonishment at His rising makes me chuckle. The angel asked the terrified women at the tomb if they had forgotten what Jesus said about rising from the dead. The answer was yes. Unfortunately, I forget Jesus’ words and promises all too often. Lord help me be more mindful of your words and your power.
  5. Jesus is Alive! – Luke 24:5-7 – Woohoo! Celebrate! Jump up and down!!! On Easter Sunday I’ll barely be containing myself with this knowledge, wanting to run and scream and shout the news. But I’m afraid the news doesn’t infect me that way all year round. That’s something I’d like to change in my life this year. Do you have any suggestions for how to keep the wonder of this fact alive year round?
  6. Being with Jesus changes everything – Acts 2:14-42 – Wow did those disciples change after Jesus’ death and resurrection. From mousy guys who ran to hide during Jesus’ trial and death, they sure turned bold once they saw the power of His hand over the grave. I’ve seen those kinds of changes stir in my own heart. And I’m thankful that now that I know Him, even on the days when I fail to acknowledge the wonder of His power and love, I’ll still never be the same because I have been with Him.

How about you? Share with us your own reflections on these Scriptures in the comments.

6 Must Knows for Working With Teens

carol_editedVBS it’s not just for kids. LifeWay provides VBS curriculum for Babies–Adults. Student VBS can be an awesome way for your church to connect with and attract students. However, many people only view VBS as a kids ministry. If you church already has or is interested in promoting Student VBS, these 6 tips will help equip your leaders.

  1. Teens are searching for their identity. VBS provides a great opportunity to introduce teens to the best place to search for the answers they need. Instead of turning to friends, social media, TV, and other worldly advice, teach teens to dig deeper into what God’s Word has to say about their true identity.
  2. Relationships mean everything to teens. VBS provides an excellent platform for teens to build relationships with positive role models within the church as well as deepen their relationship with God.
  3. Teens are beginning to explore and question their belief system. Many teens oscillate between believing in God today and doubting that belief tomorrow. VBS provides a safe place for them to find the answers to some of their questions and help them learn how to defend their faith.
  4. Teens are very experiential. They need times to put their faith into action. VBS offers a time to focus on Missions and practical ideas for allowing teens to fulfill the need to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
  5. Teens quickly jump from one topic to another and lose interest quickly if they are not engaged. VBS curriculum is intentionally written to help leaders transition between different types of activities to help keep teens engaged and on track.
  6. Teens are capable of and even desire the opportunity to lead. VBS provides opportunities for students to not only step up and lead in their own peer group, but they can also begin to lead and assist with the younger learners attending VBS.

 

6 Ways to Build Relationships

maryVBS is an unbelievable opportunity for adult leaders to build discipleship relationships. There may be kids who come to VBS that you have never had in your church group before, and building relationships with those kids is of utmost importance so that they feel comfortable and want to come back and continue learning about God long after VBS.

As you train your teachers and helpers, communicate the importance of connecting with kids by giving them these 6 ways to begin building relationships:

  1. Find common interests. Ask kids what they are interested in and build a relationship around the things you have in common. Ask kids what they love about those interests, what is hardest, or what has been their biggest success.
  2. Ask kids about their family and their home life. You will be amazed how much you can learn simply by asking kids what they like to do when they are at home or what their families are like. Use these as jumping off points to develop relationships that will point kids to Jesus.
  3. Talk with them as you walk to and from rotation sites. Every moment is a teachable moment and a moment that can be used to point kids to Jesus.
  4. Make connections to the Bible content and applications to life with each activity, game, snack, and craft. Discuss with kids how the content applies to their lives specifically. Ask questions and be flexible and discerning as kids may lead the conversation somewhere you hadn’t planned to go, but that they need to hear. Asking questions instead of simply stating the connection helps kids process the application and helps you begin a discipleship relationship with them as they realize that you really care and want to help them understand.
  5. Be available. Tell kids frequently that they can talk to you and ask questions. Explain that you can answer questions to and from rotations or another time during the week. Make sure that you train helpers and teachers to always be in sight of another helper or teacher when talking one-on-one with a child. Invest in kids by going out of your way to answer questions and get to know them.
  6. Connect with their parents. Learn more about each child that you are coming in contact with during VBS by touching base with their parent. It’s always a good idea to ask what the child gets most excited about so that you have a great jumping off point the next day!

Six Steps for VBS Workers

candace-1If you are new to teaching VBS or if it’s old hat to you, there are six things each worker needs to do to make VBS a success!

  1. Prepare Your Heart. Read the daily Scripture passages and pray for the kids you will teach. Also ask someone to be in prayer for you as you teach children about Jesus.
  2. Get the Basic Facts From Your VBS Director. Find out how long each rotation is everyday so that you know how long you have to prepare for. Also ask how many kids are expected so that you know the number to prepare for.
  3. Plan. Make sure that you have the materials you need in plenty of time to plan each session you are going to teach. Make a list of supplies you will need.
  4. Gather and Prepare. Gather all the supplies needed for VBS. If you have pack or CD items, go ahead and assemble them and print them out.
  5. Teach. Relax and enjoy the chance to build relationships with your kids. Be flexible and adjust your plans to make this the best experience possible for you and your kids.
  6. Continue the Connection. Make sure you have correct contact information for each child in your class. Keep the connection alive by looking for ways to stay connected to the kids you taught.

VBS Geek of the Week: Jennifer Watkins

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This week’s VBS Geek of the Week is Jennifer Watkins from Unity Baptist Church in Georgia!

  1. What is your role in VBS? This year my role in VBS is the Director, for the past 6 years I taught pre-k and 5 year olds. I love to teach children they are the future of our church and if we do not train them at the time they are young you may not reach them. This is a cruel world we live in I just want to equip them as much as possible with the Love of God and the love of the church.
  2. What was your “geekiest” moment? My geekiest moment would be I love to wear a hat to class and I try to look for one that goes with the theam with VBS. Last year I wore a hat that had springs coming out in all direction and different colors for the collosal Coaster VBS, the kids love it.
  3. You might be a VBS geek if . . .  you really get into the theme and just have fun and act like a kid enjoy what you do.
  4. What makes you keep doing VBS? What makes me keep doing VBS is just the joy and excitement on the children’s faces when they come in and see the decoration, kids coming to you and say I know my bible verse can I tell it too you. Can I help with the pledges I want to hold the bible, I want to hold the flag. The kids are so eager to just come sometimes its hard to get them to go home.
  5.  When we came back from Ridgecrest we had one of the church memebers dress up as Action Pack Jack and they the kids loved it. We started a facebook paige just for our VBS page. This is for our workers and our members can go there and see where we are and what we have done so far and what decoration have been done. This is the first year we have done this and so far we have several people joining.

Using Zip for Kids as a Follow Up to VBS

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Do you have an exit strategy for VBS this summer? How will you follow up with the kids and families who come to VBS? How will you intentionally continue the learning throughout the summer so that kids go back to school in the fall changed?

This summer at VBS, we are talking about who Jesus is and why we believe that He is who He said He is. The Lord was so sweet in the way that He lead us to develop Zip for Kids. We didn’t see what He had done until after we finished producing Zip for Kids, but as we looked back on the content, we saw that Zip for Kids is the perfect follow up for VBS!

Zip for Kids emphasizes who God is, and that He is loving, eternal, omnipotent, faithful, and trustworthy. What a perfect way to follow up who Jesus is and what He has done for us! Give kids the bigger picture of how the two lock together, in that God sent Jesus to us because He loved us so much that He wanted to provide a way for us to be made right with Him. We can trust that God forgives our sins through Jesus!

Consider using Zip for Kids to continue the Bible learning with kids in your community after VBS. You can use Zip for Kids as a day camp, your Wednesday or Sunday night programming, your “Wacky Wednesdays,” “Fun Fridays,” or “Terrific Tuesdays,” or a number of other ways. It contains 10 Bible story lessons, 5 from the Old Testament (life of David) and 5 from the New Testament (life of Peter), large group activities, small group plans, videos, music, 85 hours of track times (or activities like drama, art, basketball, or outdoor games), and tons of other options. It is completely customizable, and will be great for those who came to VBS or even for your older kids at VBS to go into neighborhoods and lead alongside adults. Check out the details about Zip for Kids and let us know how you choose to use it! Make sure to sign up for the free preview if you haven’t done that yet. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to do that today.

VBS C.R.A.F.T.S – More Than What You Think

VanCleave - new (1)Is crafts rotation one of your favorite parts about VBS? It is for lots of people. I’m one of those people and I get excited about picking which crafts I’d like to do at my VBS. However, it’s easy to get too focused on the end product and forget what we are really creating in the VBS Craft Lab – great experiences for kids.

Here’s a little reminder for those of us on the crafts team.

 

C – Conversation: As kids work on the their crafts, leaders have a great opportunity to get to know kids, learn about their families, and reinforce truths learned in Bible study. Keep those “Connecting the Evidence” bullet points from the first page of each day’s craft options handy!

R – Relationships: The conversations you have with kids will help build those important relationships. Listening to kids tells them they are important to you and that you care about them.

A – Art: The activities during crafts rotation hit the primary learning style of many kids. For kids who process visually or while using their hands, this may be the moment when the Bible truth really begins to sink in.

F – Feelings: Many kids are rarely made to feel valued or loved. How can they believe that a God they cannot see could love them if people they can see don’t express that love. Even if the end product a child makes looks like truck hit it, you have created something of value when the child leaves with a smile on his face and a heart that has felt love and acceptance.

T – Teachable Moments: Some of the best teaching times happen when you least expect it. Prayerfully approach each day asking God to help you spot those moments when you can help a child learn something important.

S – Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit: This is important to all of the things already mentioned. The Holy Spirit was sent to be our Helper, to help us remember the things we need to, and to remind us of things we have learned. Trust Him to guide you as you talk with kids and love even those kids who are sometimes a challenge to love.

Approach your day with an expectation of fun and let crafts rotation be a great experience for you and all the kids God brings to you this VBS!

 

Is Jesus Really Enough?

brown2Is Jesus really enough? Another way to ask it is, “Do I need something more or something else in my life to satisfy me, or is Jesus really enough?” 
 
That question came to mind recently when I was grumbling and groaning about things at home, things at church, things at work, and just about all the other things in my life.  
 
Colossians 2:6-10 came to mind as well, especially the part that reads “the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by Him…” I heard a sermon once about “being complete in Him” and “the fullness of the Godhead living inside us.”
 
2 Peter 1:3-11 came to mind next, especially this part: “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us…”
 
When I stopped grumbling about things long enough to realize that Jesus IS enough, the things that were causing all the pain and worry didn’t seem so overwhelming. 
 
So, “Is Jesus really enough?” It’s a simple yes or no question. He either is or He isn’t. I have no clue where to go if He isn’t.

We Will Sing

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cristy3“We will sing, we will shout, tell the news of His salvation.”
(lyrics from VBS 2014 Music Book)

This is exactly what First Baptist Church of Mt. Vernon, TX is doing with their time leading up to this year’s VBS. They’re uncovering the truth of Jesus Christ and preparing to share the evidence with their community! Each year, FBC performs a seamlessly choreographed, beautifully acted, winsome musical to go along with VBS. Laughter and warm hearts are a tradition as a packed house watches rambunctious, fun-loving kids sing about hope in Christ.

FBC is using LifeWay’s VBS 2014 Music Book as a guide for the drama, but with over 75 kids wanting stage-time, they adapted the play to include more speaking roles. They transformed the 7 speaking parts into 35 roles! Furthermore, FBC added 22 special dancers to perform choreographed dances that were not included in the original song choreography. Every child who auditions for a role receives one.

Check out the pictures below to see the glee on many little faces as they prepare to sing the news of His salvation.

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Nervous kids read over speaking parts before hopping into line for auditions.

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It’s time to audition! Kids wait in line for their turn at the microphone.

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Choir members gear up for choreography with their robot moves.

 

Share with us: What does your church do to bring VBS to life?

Five Reasons we Decorate

maryWhy do we spend time decorating for VBS? It takes a lot of effort and even some money to decorate. So why do we do that? Well, here are 5 reasons to decorate your space for VBS.
1. Decorations get kids excited about the week.
2. Decorations help kids feel that they have been prepared for and that the church is excited that they are there.
3. Decoration can remove distractions by creating one single environment or feel for the room. Decorations also can hide those things that kids might be drawn to like a chalkboard for them to write on or other items for them to play with instead of listening.
4. Decorating helps teachers be fully invested. It makes their classroom their own instead of it feeling like someone else’s Sunday School room.
5. Decorations take church kids out of the norm that they experience at church and beg kids to have a new experience with diving deeper with Jesus.

Even if you decorate with only a poster, help kids feel planned for and excited about VBS. Decorations aren’t the point of VBS. Keep the main point of Jesus the main point. Use decorations to drive excitement and remove distractions for your kids!