This year we have an Agency D3 App that is available in the app store. It’s a great tool to help your kids enjoy VBS. The app is available for the ipad, iphone, and android devices. It is only $2.99 and has theme-related games, devotions, activities, how to share the gospel, and the choreography videos. Kids and adults both can listen to the songs they learned in VBS and watch the motions. We want to give one lucky blog reader the Agency D3 app for free. So, leave a comment on this blog, and we will select one winner randomly. Even if you don’t win, but sure to check it out!
- What is your role in VBS? VBS Director
- What was your “geekiest” moment? When I was recognized at the local Target by a little boy who had come to VBS, but didn’t attend our church. He recognized me as the “Kangaroo Lady”. I heard him tell his mom to look, there’s the Kangaroo Lady. I had dressed up like a kangaroo and hopped throughout VBS all week during Boomerang Express.
- What has been your favorite VBS theme? Hard to say as there are many that I like alot, but Ramblin Road Trip was alot of fun, had great music and a great message for the kids.
- You might be a VBS geek if. . . You start planning the next year’s VBS during the current year’s VBS week.
- What makes you keep doing VBS? The excitement it generates in myself and most importantly, the kids. To see them enthusiastically learning about God. To know that being a christian isn’t boring and dull. It’s full of excitement and fun. To see how simple it is to ask Jesus into their hearts.
At first, I had no idea what these three words meant. Quickly, however, my mission trip coordinator explained that we were doing a “VBS of sorts” for the kids we would be serving in Soweto and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Our Holiday Bible Club was limited. We took a parachute, three kick balls, and two Frisbees for rec, told a ten minute Bible story, and gave out stickers and oranges for the kids to eat as they walked back to their homes. Throughout these activities, one thing stayed at the forefront of our minds: We would love these kids because Jesus loves us.
Throughout the week, we saw delight splashed across dozens of little African faces, and our faces responded the same. We witnessed excitement as kids raised their hands to answer who told Eve to eat the fruit and where Jesus was born. And we watched hope envelop hearts as we explained the true story of Christ’s death and resurrection.
You’ve witnessed this exact thing. You – as VBS directors, kids ministers, parents, and volunteers – know that the secret behind a successful church event is not the perfect combination of curriculum, schedule, and snacks. The secret is love.
Sometimes when I’m writing, I get aggravated at myself for using verses that seem to be “cliché.” But the truth of the matter is – nothing from the Bible should ever be considered trite or overused. So today, I’ll end with a verse that is well known, full of truth, and life-altering, but anything but cliché.
“If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Happy Thursday all you Agency D3 Special Agents! I hope you’re having fun as you start preparing for VBS. Last week we showed you how the Kids Starter Kit has everything you need to get started in one box. This week we’re going to take a look at the Preschool Starter Kit. Let’s watch as Melita unpacks it.
You can pick up your Preschool Starter Kit today!
1. I am the Elementary Music Rotation Leader and a singer in our VBS Band!! We play the music live in worship rally and rotation every year. I love teaching the kids the music and motions each year. I am in college studying Music Education, and I am an American Sign Language interpreter. The combination of singing, signing, and dancing is so much fun for me!
2. My “geekiest” VBS moment was the time I told the kids why we sing “Big House” by Audio Adrenaline every year–I grew up singing it in VBS when I was a kid, and it is just so special to me! I explained the meaning of the song and taught the kids the standard motions for “Come, and go with me, to my Father’s House!” I was so nostalgic. It was great.
3. My favorite VBS theme as a little girl was Ocean Odyssey. I was probably in preschool, but I vividly remember the decorations. My favorite theme as an “adult” has to be Saddle Ridge Ranch. Wearing cowgirl boots everyday was a blast, and “Tumbleweed” is a hard song to beat.
4. You might be a VBS geek if…every VBS t-shirt you’ve ever gotten (and that’s A LOT of shirts) is safely stored in your room.
5. I do VBS every year because I know I am using my gifts for God’s glory and serving children and their families. In just one week, children hear the life-changing message of salvation. Some choose to become Christians in that week and then talk to church leaders about this decision, just like I did as an elementary school student. VBS is fun, exciting, and rewarding, but the best part is seeing the way children look at you as you explain the message of a song like “I Will Trust in You.” The way they light up as they walk into the Fellowship Hall, ready to praise God in the Worship Rally. I hope I always have a job at Vacation Bible School. What I see as “the little things” could ultimately have a big impact in a child’s life!
We’ve all had them, those moments when some little something derails our whole lesson. We’ve prepared, recited in our minds how things are going to go, imagined how we’ll see the “lightbulbs come on” when the kids get it, then Wham one kid derails the whole shebang. This happened to me recently. I actually even anticipated that the picture of Baby Jesus that looked like a picture of Charlie Brown could cause problems. I decided to head things off at the pass and find a more realistic picture of Baby Jesus to use. Armed with my picture and lesson, I set off to church feeling quite confident that the lesson I had envisioned would come to fruition. Only one little problem, I had forgotten that the Charlie Brown picture would show up again later in the lesson. And as predicted, when the pictures were handed out for the last activity, my one rambunctious child immediately yelled, “Hey, it’s Charlie Brown!”
Then a discussion ensued as to whether or not Charlie Brown had hair because the baby in this picture had a little hair. And in God’s infinite wisdom, He saw fit to send one little girl to the library before coming to church. Guess what book she checked out. Yep, it was a Snoopy book. Yes, she did indeed bring it to class instead of leaving it in the car, so she could show an actual picture of Charlie Brown and put the matter to rest. He does indeed have a little swirl of hair. So what to do now that all the kids were labeling their pictures “Charlie Brown” instead of “Baby Jesus?”
We tried reminding the kids that this was just supposed to be a picture to help them remember that Baby Jesus was special even though He looked and acted like all the other babies. We told the kids that Jesus was better than Charlie Brown ever could be. We asked if Charlie Brown would die on the cross for us. Now some kids reasoned that he might die on a cross for us. At this point we reminded the kids that even if he did, it would never be enough. Only the sacrifice of a sinless person, only Jesus would ever be enough. And then they began to focus less on Charlie Brown and more on the true meaning of how special Jesus is and how we need Him to be our Savior.
So in that moment when your lesson is derailed, do not fear, do not feel defeated, this may just be the teachable moment God has planned.
Tips for Moving from Derailed to Teachable Moment
1. Anticipate and plan for things that could derail your lesson. It can be something as small as the artwork you use, but know that kids will pick up on the small things.
2. Turn the moments around by asking questions and guiding discussion. Lead the kids back to the biblical truth that you are trying to drive home.
3. Take a “time out.” Stop for a moment, take a deep breath, regroup, and start again. The more flustered you get about the situation, the more kids will want to continue the distraction.
4. Remember that this may not have been in your plan, but it very well could have been in God’s plan.
Share with us your tips that get you moving from a derailed moment to a teachable one in the comments.
As with most things as big as VBS there are many components and individual pieces of the puzzle. This is definitely true with the resources LifeWay creates for teaching every age from babies to older adults.
Pre-packaged kits such as Super Samplers or LifeWay’s new Jump Start Kit and Starter Kits are a fantastic way to get started – providing you are going to use all of the pieces. If you will be using all the resources contained in the kits you are most likely saving a few dollars (about $12.00 for the Kids Starter Kit) and you are definitely enjoying the convenience of someone else collecting all the needed resources and making them available in one container.
However, if you are not using all the resources you are wasting money – sometimes big money that outweighs any potential savings of dollars or convenience.
Teaching resources (including worship rally guides, CDs and DVDs) are always sold independently from the kits and is often a more economical way to purchase. For example, if you are only offering VBS for kindergarten then it is much better to only purchase the Kindergarten Leader Pack, Leader Guide, and the Preschool Rotation resources. You will save approximately $50 that I am sure you can find another use for.
Before heading to the store or ordering online, do the math! Your church finance guy (or gal) will thank you for it.
We have just finished our first preview event and it was great to see so many of you there. We even spotted some of our past VBS Geeks of the Week, and some were wearing their T-shirts! We love getting to meet you and hear all about your VBS. So, today I am going to leave you with a picture of some major VBS Geeks, part of our VBS Team! Hope you enjoy and hope to see more of you at the other VBS Preview Events!
It’s one of those times when long-awaited movies have been coming out right and left and as I scrape my budget for ticket money and my schedule for matinee times and friends who are able to go at the same time as I am, I find myself thinking about worldview a lot.
Worldview is one of those things like the price of milk or gas. We don’t seem to notice a problem with it unless there’s a really drastic change all of a sudden.
If things change just a few cents, or a few degrees in ideology, no one realizes the difference until a long way down the road. And that’s why I think alertness during movie watching is so important. Because one movie makes thousands of truth claims about the world, rapid-fire, in alluring visual images and smoothly delivered lines that somehow creep into our hearts, and those of our children. And they’re often pretty close to what we believe. But not quite on target.
For example, the fairy-tales I had access to as a kid and their “follow your heart” claims are a big part of why I and others in my generation struggle with handing control to God and letting Him steer, especially during tough times. Modern media are also a part of an identity crisis for young women in regards to their body image. I’m sure you can think of more examples.
So am I saying to keep yourself and your kids out of theaters and away from your TV?
Actually, no. Just the opposite.
I think it can be really important to watch age-appropriate media with our kids, even when they don’t match up with the truth from the Bible.
There are just a couple of things we cannot forget to do.
The first thing is to learn ourselves, and to teach our kids, what Peter tells us we need in the second part of our 2014 theme verse.
“Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15b
How can we know something is a lie unless we know the truth about what we believe?
That’s why I’m so excited about this year’s VBS theme! It’s so important because it will help us equip kids to know the truth about God and the world and to identify lies.
Secondly, we need to take the time to talk to kids about what they’re seeing. Rather than avoiding lies, which is virtually impossible in today’s culture, what if we sat down after each movie and TV show and talked about what is and isn’t true and good in that particular story?
Imagine a generation of kids taught at home to be experts in distinguishing between the truth about the world and lies. Imagine what they can do!
So take the time to engage culture with your kids. But don’t forget to help them be ready to give an answer first! Happy movie-going in 2014!
Here at LifeWay VBS, our team is always looking for decoration inspiration. This year we’ve had a lot of fun finding items we can repurpose for the Evidence Vault, Crafts at The Lab, and so on. Last fall at Kids Ministry Conference, we put some faithful kids ministry leaders to the test. Their mission – to create Agency D3 gadgets out of, well, junk. Take a look at how it turned out.
First up, we have a special agent x-ray camera from Debbie Lee at First Baptist Church in Groveport, OH.
And how about this laser motherboard station that April Johnson from Life Church in Winnsboro, LA and Vickie Czlapinski from First Baptist Church in Bloomfield, NM made?
Diane Jacobson from Clear Springs Baptist Church in Johns Creek, GA and Tommy Marsh from Flint River Baptist Church in Hazel Green, AL made this interesting “laser sonar dealy.”
And finally, we have the DDIR- Digital Deputy and Investigative Robot- from Alan Hale at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, MO.
I think we can all agree that kids ministers are definitely creative! Check back soon for more fun gadgets. And if you plan on attending one of our upcoming VBS Preview events, stop by the Creative Zone for a chance to create your own. There’s still time to register!