What Are You Reading?

bethanySomething I love about working at LifeWay is the frequent emphasis on training and improving. We’re often reading and studying new resources, whether for education or inspiration, that help us improve what we do. So I thought I’d take an informal poll of what the VBS team is reading right now.

I’m reading the audio book of Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers, which is a fun step into the whimsical mind of a child, as well as some thoughts about discipline. The original Mary Poppins of the books was a lot more stern and less fun than the one in the Disney movie, but still the children adore her and do everything they can to please her. Of course we should always be kind to the children we teach,  kinder than she is I would think, but it helped me realize children yearn for boundaries and rules to help their world be ordered and feel safe. This is something that’s easy to forget. I also love the Money Saving Mom blog. I’m not a mom, but I love her tips for saving money and spending quality time with kids. I’ve found lots of ideas that translate well to kids’ ministry through her. Her writings on homemaking, grocery savings and faith and identity are also really helpful to me personally.

 

carol_editedCarol Tomlinson: “I just finished reading Teenology by Jim Burns. Great parenting resources for parents of teens and for student leaders.”

 

 

 

 

brown2Gordon Brown: “I’m currently reading: A Gospel Primer—for Christians by Milton Vincent, a cool little book about the power of gospel; allowing it to color the way we look at the world and The Reason For God—Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller.”

 

 

 

 

DSC_0009Andrea Spikes: “A book I’m reading right now is Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Its about seeing the work and life of Christ as something to contemplate every day; I’m also reading City of God by St. Augustine.”

 

 

 

 

 

VanCleave - new (1)Rhonda VanCleave: “I’m currently reading: 66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God That Invites You Into His Story by Larry Crabb (I’m really enjoying it, but it is a read that will take a while. It is a good book to read a bit, then stop to ponder.) I also follow a quilter’s blog. I have no time to play with with my stash, but I enjoying dreaming as I watch her designs. She does heart strings quilts for charity. I also love Ree Drummond “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” blog (and TV show). I’ve actually made some of her recipes with success!

 

 

 

chalkboard headshotI am reading Crashing the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick.  It’s a book that reminds you to know your worth to God and to listen to His voice above all others.

 

 

 

 

Wow! Such deep minded team mates I have! I’ve added a few to my reading list and I hope you have too! What are you reading right now? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

 

 

VBS Team Geek of the Week: Carol Tomlinson

vbsgeekoftheweek2Today’s VBS team member Geek of the Week is Carol Tomlinson. Hope you enjoy getting to know her!

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  1. What is your role on the VBS team? Content editor for Preteen, Students, Crafts, and Missions
  2. What was your “geekiest” VBS moment? Visiting the Goodwill Outlet with my team to rummage through large bins of stuff that could be use to make gadgets for Agency D3 Previews.
  3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? Outrigger Island & Agency D3 loved that both of these could simply answer the truth about who Jesus is and helped kids learn to answer the tough questions.
  4. You might be a VBS geek if . . . you think of how the food on the grocery aisles could be used in a trail mix.
  5. What makes you love working on VBS? I love working on VBS because it speaks to all generations. Young and old always have a favorite VBS memory to share. I love that God allows me to have a small part in spreading His word in such a fun, memorable curriculum.

 

What to Save for 2015

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Want a jump on prepping for VBS 2015 decorations? Here’s a list of things you can start saving (and collecting) now for next summer.

  • Giant, colorful flowers (stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and JoAnn’s have tons of summer decor on sale at the end of the season)
  • Natural grass skirts or tablecloths
  • Palm fronds
  • Sticks, branches, bamboo poles, and the like
  • Green plastic tablecloths (for vines)
  • Green vinyl tablecloths (for lily pads)
  • Blue foil curtain (door curtain available from party supply stores)

Be sure to check back on August 29th for a list of craft supplies to start saving!

Why the “B” Word Might Not Be Such a Bad Thing

By Klista Storts

Maybe the “B” word has never bothered you at all, but it has me.  “Babysitting.” Doesn’t that just go all over you sometimes?  Especially when someone uses it to refer to what we do in kids ministry at church?  It makes me feel as if our ministry is viewed as unimportant to the Kingdom. Could it be that it’s just terminology and maybe just a misunderstanding of what we do? This video of how a family came to Christ as a result of one church “babysitting” their kids through Vacation Bible School may change your mind. It did mine. Now I’m thinking, “Who cares what they call it? Just bring me your kids!”

 


VBS Team Geek of the Week: Gordon Brown

vbsgeekoftheweek2Today we are doing Geek of the Week a little differently! We are going to be highlighting the different members of the VBS team and see what makes them a VBS geek. Today we are starting with one of our graphic designers, Gordon Brown!

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  1. What is your role on the VBS team? Graphic designer
  2. What was your “geekiest” moment? Almost wearing the kangaroo costume—and almost being sad that I didn’t.
  3. What has been your favorite VBS theme? Saddle Ridge Ranch—cowboy boots are cool!
  4. You might be a VBS geek if . . . you think wearing a kangaroo costume is cool.
  5. What makes you love working on VBS? Knowing that you are a part of sharing the gospel with kids. 

 

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!

Sequence 01_3

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.

Sequence 01_5

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.

Sequence 01_1

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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