How Do You Collect a VBS Offering?

candace-1We want to hear how you get your kids involved in helping to collect an offering during VBS. We know many of our own churches make the offering a competition between boys and girls or each grade to see who can bring the most. Some churches set a goal and if that offering goal is met, then the pastor or other staff member gets a pie in their face! It is also great to hear stories from churches who do not take up money as an offering, but collect school supplies, canned food, and so forth for a local ministry. There are so many options out there, but the most important thing is getting your kids involved. We would love to hear how you do this!

For a little incentive, we want to have a giveaway! We will pick one winner from our comments and send you five Agency D3 bags from our Preview events. Can’t wait to hear your stories!

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Shining in Your Sweet Spot

VanCleave - new (1)A couple of years ago we had one of “those” VBS weeks. Unexpected illnesses and surgeries and countless other things derailed our VBS plans. Thankfully people rallied and jumped in to do things outside of their norm. We “accidentally” discovered something great. We found a lot of people’s VBS sweet spot. One lady who “always” teaches jumped in to run the kitchen (we do a full meal each night of VBS). She doesn’t want to do this particular job all the time, but for one week she loves it!

Leaders who teach preteens throughout the year have a blast with kindergartners during VBS. Many couples have found that they enjoy being a team during VBS. Each year since that “accidental” year, we have discovered one or more people who have found their VBS sweet spot in an unexpected role.

The bonus of all this is that we are almost fully staffed for next year because people want to keep “their” jobs. And, a couple of people who did not see themselves as “good with kids,” now have a regular role in our kids ministry.

While this year is fresh in your mind, make of note of people who seemed to really enjoy what they did and enlist them now! Then, as you look to fill the rest of your slots for next year, give people a chance to try something different. The results can be … well, SWEET!

Making VBS Your Own

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Nothing says summer like a cardboard slide.

Every year when I edit the grammar and style of the VBS material, I pause over the paragraphs about making VBS your own and smile.

 

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It’s more fun if it twists sideways, or even backwards on the way down. I promise.

These sections tell you that you don’t have to use VBS curriculum just as it’s written, but can adjust it to fit your schedule, age groups, number of teachers, and any other needs you have.

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An excellent model of proper slide sitting procedure.

And I smile because I know so many people who already do this so well. From stories of a helicopter landing at one Agency D3 this year to the rumor of a VBS villain trying to stomp out truth until he was thwarted by a Special Agent who had come to teach the kids the real truth, I know that so many of you get this concept so well!

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See, I told you, backwards!

One of my favorite examples is my home church where my dad pastors, Witt Baptist Church in Morristown TN. Every year, regardless of the theme, the kids most look forward to the giant cardboard slide. Someone with access to a lot of cardboard at work brings it every year, enough to cover the huge hill in front of the church, with a few more pieces to use as sleds. It’s better than a snow day if you can believe some of their faces. This wouldn’t work at any other church in the community, because no one else has that generous person who works with a lot of cardboard, not to mention a giant hill to put it on. But rather than cutting it out because it didn’t match the theme, the church decided to make it a tradition.

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Laying down and pulling on the front may increase velocity. Maybe.

There are other things churches do, from hosting VBS every Wednesday night for five weeks because of a hectic summer schedule, to serving supper instead of snacks to help kids who usually depend on school lunches, to using one master teacher for all 6 elementary grades because of the unique skills of a church member; that make each VBS special and different.

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At this point the grass has so much more traction, you often vault over the “tongue” of the sled. Grass stains anyone?

It’s easy to fall into a rut of wanting everything to come about just like the checklist in your Administrative Guide or Leader Guide says it should. But with a little flexibility and an openness to letting the DNA of your church and community shine through your VBS, I think you’ll open up more room for God to move and work.

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And it would be fun if Agent 001, AKA Pastor Doug (my dad) didn’t join in!

And it might just be a ton of fun!

How do you make your VBS fun and different? How is it tailored to the needs of your church and community? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

VBS Geek of the Week: Patty O’Shea

vbsgeekoftheweek21. What is your role in VBS? This year I am the VBS Director. I have been involved in VBS in some way since 1996. With the exception of 2002, I have used a week of vacation from my day-job to be at VBS since 1997.

1996: Registration/Attendance (went to work in the afternoon)

1997: Registration/Attendance & Newsletter

1998-2001: Director, Hazelwood Baptist Church

2002: Taught Director Workshops for Baltimore Baptist Association

2003-2008: Director, Hazelwood Baptist Church

2009: Offering counter/”Go-Fer” (moved membership in Jan 2009)

2010: Assistant to Director, White Marsh Baptist Church

2011-Present: Director, White Marsh Baptist Church

2. What was your “geekiest” moment? Geekiest moment would have to be when I did an announcement in church for VBS 2000, Ocean Odyssey. I wore a scuba diving suit, flippers, and mask to advertise an association meeting that was going to be held at our church. My husband had to help me navigate the two steps from the floor to the platform because the flippers were hard to walk in. My tag line that year was “It’s going to be deep—really deep!” I have been able to pull together some sort of costume (sometimes more than one!) for just about every theme so far.

3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? It’s really hard to pick a favorite VBS theme since I have enjoyed stirring up excitement for so many of them. One of my favorites was VBS 2004, Rickshaw Rally because I dressed up in a black wig, kimono, obi, socks, and wooden sandals for my announcements. I was unrecognizable by most of the congregation. Also that year we teamed up with a couple of other churches to make large decorations (a rickshaw and a bridge) plus we were able to borrow a gong from the local school system. I particularly enjoyed Jeff Slaughter’s music over the years and I’m really glad that I had a number of opportunities to meet him at Ridgecrest and at our state convention VBS workshop.

4. You might be a VBS geek if . . .

 The people working at the local LifeWay recognize you.

Your living room looks like VBS Central.

Church members know that emails or calls from you are going to be about VBS.

You love spending a couple of days in January at Ridgecrest.

Your T-shirt drawer is mostly official VBS T-shirts or VBS theme-related T-Shirts.

Your husband has learned that you love to get VBS theme-related gifts for Christmas.

A child sees you coming down the street and yells, “It’s the VBS Lady!”

5. What makes you keep doing VBS? God keeps me doing VBS. I have learned over the years that He has gifted me to lead this particular ministry. He has taught me flexibility, spontaneity, and to depend wholly on Him. He brings me someone to give me a hug and pray for me when the evil one attempts to steal my joy or I begin to stress about some of the details. If I was “independently wealthy”, I would be a “professional” VBS-er!

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Welcome, Klista Storts!

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Today we’re pausing to welcome a new face to our LifeWay VBS team! We’re really excited to welcome Klista Storts on board. Klista has been at LifeWay for 7 years as a Kids Ministry Specialist and I’ve gotten to see how awesome she is at what she does! A few weeks ago we had the privilege of seeing Klista move over to the VBS team. I asked her a few questions to help us all get to know her better. Without further ado, give a round of applause for Klista! You’ll be hearing some great wisdom from her on the blog in the next few months! Welcome Klista!

When did you begin working in Kids Ministry?

I began working in Kids Ministry upon the arrival of my first child!  I started getting paid for it in 1991 when I began working in the weekday program at my church.  I started serving full-time in kids ministry in 1994.​

What’s your favorite thing about Kids Ministry?

KIDS!  I love seeing the Word with their fresh eyes and watching the “lights” come on!

What excites you about being on the VBS team?

First of all, I love VBS.  Always have, always will!  I love the creativity of this team.  I’m amazed – not surprised, but amazed – at the incredible talent on this team.  I am excited to be a part of a resource that will impact so many kids that might not otherwise be reached with the Gospel.​

Tell us about your family!

I celebrated 30 years of marriage with my best friend, Gary, this past February.  We have been blessed with two fantastic boys, who somehow have overnight turned into young men.  Not sure how they got older but I didn’t!  Brett is 26 years old and is married to Britney.  My younger son is Blake, who is 23 years old.  We have one precious granddaughter whom I adore and love finally getting to buy pink, girly stuff for!  ​

What are your hobbies/favorite things to do?

​I love working outside in our flower garden. Every night when I water, I look for new surprise flowers to pop up.  It’s like my own personal Easter Egg Hunt every time! My love language is time, so any time I get to spend with my family just makes my day.

 What are your favorite candy, Starbucks drink, and restaurant?

​Anything chocolate! I even order it in my Diet Coke from Sonic!  My favorite Starbucks drink is the Salted Caramel Frappuccino (or hot in the winter!).  I love Mexican food, so maybe Chuy’s or something similar.  Tex-mex is the best!

If you were a kitchen appliance, what would you be and why?

Hmmm.  Maybe a blender.  I like to stir things up and just want everyone to blend together and have fun! 

Thanks Klista! We think you’ll “blend” in well with the VBS team! Welcome!

VBS Geek of the Week: Traci Rogers

vbsgeekoftheweek2This week’s Geek of the Week so from Amarillo, Texas. Welcome, Traci Rogers!
  1. What is your role in VBS? Children’s Minister
  2. What was your “geekiest” moment? Making the theme song into a ring tone in January
  3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? Amazon Outfitters or Outrigger Island
  4. You might be a VBS geek if . . .  you know that spray adhesive on a church night is a bad idea (even if in a closed office).
  5. What makes you keep doing VBS? LOVE LOVE LOVE IT
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Involving Teenagers as Leaders in VBS

20140114-075705.jpgMy first VBS “worker” assignment was at the ripe old age of 12. My aunt was the teacher of the five-year-old class and she desperately needed a helper. We conducted VBS in the morning, ate a sandwich, and then spent the afternoon getting ready for the next day. We had 10 kids in an 80-square-foot room. For me the week was a huge lesson in flexibility!

While using teenagers – or in my case a pre-teenager – is not ideal for multiple reasons, mature teenagers can be the solution to a worker shortage, plus the week is an excellent opportunity for teens to begin serving and exploring their gifts and interest. Following are six tips to involving teenagers as leaders in VBS .

 

1. Training is of utmost importance. Failure to train results in frustration for teenagers and adult workers alike.

2. Training begins with the enlistment process. Establish expectations and accountability early and clearly.

3. Make sure teens are looked upon as full members of the team. If teens are mature enough to be enlisted for the team they are mature enough to be treated and respected as a member of the team.

4. Teens are more likely to become discipline problems when they are not given meaningful ministry tasks and the opportunity to contribute to the team.

5. Adult members of the team should assume a mentoring mentality as they work along side the teen leader, respecting the teen’s ability to make decisions with some guidance.

6. Give teens opportunities to grow and stretch in their abilities. With a little discretion on the adult leader’s part, teens should be allowed to experience what are sometimes seen as “adult” roles.

Jerry Wooley, @vbsguy, serves on LifeWay’s VBS Team as a Ministry Specialist responsible for training and events.

Geek of the Week: Jennifer Pyne

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This week’s VBS Geek of the week is Jennifer Pyne and she is from Providence Baptist Church in Harrisburg, NC.

  1.  My role in VBS: Director
  2. My geekiest moment: Wow, there are so many! Dressing up in various costumes, holding a prop making sleepover at church so we could get more work done, kissing a pig… but the geekiest is probably performing the Agency D3 theme song wearing a cardboard bobble head of our pastor! 
  3. What was your favorite theme? I have enjoyed all if the themes, but Big Apple Adventure was my favorite!
  4. You might be a VBS geek if… you follow the custodians around and pull things out of the trash because it would be “perfect for VBS”.
  5. What makes me keep doing VBS is reaching children for Christ in an exciting, meaningful, life-altering way!