VBS by the Numbers

wooley1 2013It has taken a little longer than usual, but we finally have numbers from VBS 2012. Yep, you read it correctly – 2012.

We always run a year behind in the numbers department to allow time for every church to submit there VBS data. For 2012 a total of 28,187 churches and missions reported hosting either a traditional VBS, and Backyard Kids Club, a mission VBS, or a combination of all three. This is a tremendous increase of 3,246 more Bible schools than 2011, and the largest number of schools since 2004!

A grand total of 2,759,014 kids, students, adults and workers enrolled and there were 79,588 professions of faith! These are numbers to celebrate!

There were also 2,411 people who publicly announced their intention to respond to God’s call for vocational ministry. This is an increase over 2011 of 130 people. VBS is – or at least should be – extremely evangelistic, but the missions rotation component has been used in a mighty way to connect people of all ages with ways they can personally be on mission in their communities and abroad. Since 2004 alone, 19,349 individuals have committed themselves to full-time ministry as a result of VBS. Today many of these individuals are involved in VBS and other ministries around the world.

However, a deeper look shows that both enrollment and professions of faith are slightly lower than 2011 even though an additional 3,246 schools were conducted. The average enrollment of 113 per school dropped to 97 per school. This is not necessarily a bad thing since the reports reflect an increase in the number of churches conducting Backyard Kids Clubs, which by their nature would have smaller attendance.

A surprising shift to a trend that has been increasing for over a decade was the number of churches that returned to morning Bible schools.  Sixty percent of churches reported an evening school, but this is down from the 67 percent reported for 2011. Based on a upward trend I had predicted that 70 percent of 2012 Bible schools would have been conducted in the evening. It is going to be interesting to see what happens to this number for 2013.

Thank you for taking the time to submit a Church VBS Report form. Each year we mail out 48,000 forms plus provide one in the Administrative Guide for Directors. Like an annual physical, this data diagnoses the health of VBS as well as helps us at LifeWay prepare resources that corresponds with changing trends. VBS continues to be the largest evangelistic outreach collectively conducted by churches. We can definitely say Yes! to VBS!

Back to (Vacation Bible) School!

Where did the summer go? If you are like me, the last couple of months have gone by in a blur of events, wacky schedules and, well, just stuff! But the smell of new school supplies is back in the air! (I just love the crisp feel of a new notebook and the smell of a fresh box of crayons. Please tell me I’m not the only one.)

As families get back in the school groove, it’s a perfect time to reconnect with kids who came to your VBS.

Here’s an idea or two:

1. Send a letter or email to kids who attended VBS and tell them something fun their Sunday School class will be doing the next Sunday on in the coming weeks.

2. Put together a “Back to School Pack” (school supplies, snacks, and other fun items) and make a quick visit to drop off the pack and invite kids to a children’s event at your church.

3. Send a newsletter to the families you discovered in VBS with a list of “Fun Things Happening at _______ Church.” Describe the events and tell how to discover more information.

What are some great “Back to School” things you have done to reconnect with kids and their families? Please share! We love to pass along great ideas!

Foto Friday: Church on the Queensway!

I’ve decided to mix it up a little bit for Foto Friday!  Last week I promised you the full scoop on Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS at Church on the Queensway in Toronto, Ontario, Canada!  It’s always incredible to me to see how VBS comes alive in small and large settings alike!  And of course, God is present no matter what size the church!  Michael Read provided the following information about their day camp VBS, and lots of great pictures.

Amazing Wonders Aviation Vacation Day Camp was absolutely phenomenal Church on the Queensway in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was an awesome opportunity to bring in our community and show them Jesus and tell them about God’s amazing power and love for them.

We had a Mommy & Me program for children birth to 3 years old and their moms. They would play together and then the moms would be treated to a devotional while their little ones received an age specific teaching time.

On Sunday, July 22 we conducted our AWA Grand Finale with an intergenerational family worship service complete with a 1940’s flavour and an incredible message from our senior pastor. We saw over 2, 200 parents, friends and children in attendance. Our drama team incorporated the daily Bible Story and Bible point into a phenomenal drama in which the characters learned about God’s Amazing power!

We also designed our set in the sanctuary to resemble an airplane hangar and had our band dress up in period appropriate costumes. This was our first time doing our Grand Finale during our Sunday services and it went extremely well. Everything in the service was geared towards families and introducing our community kids to Jesus. To end the morning every child in attendance received a candy bag accompanied with a Bible. All in all we had a fantastic time!

If you’d like to share your VBS photos and stores, post them to our Facebook page, or send them to me in an email at katie.decillo@lifeway.com.  Make sure you include the name of your church and a description of the photo!  Image size must be a minimum of 1024×678 in order to be shared on the blog.  Happy weekend!

 

"Paint my foot blue!?" VBS Craft Idea Takes Flight!

Adam did not want anything to do with painting his foot blue! It was simply not going to happen—until Sally Cramer showed him that his blue foot would turn into a really cool blue airplane!

His shoes and socks were off in a flash!

Once the foot print dries, it is outlined with fabric paint pen—the kind that bumps up a little.

Every year during VBS, Sally Cramer tries to come up with a hand print or foot print craft for her 2 & 3 year old VBS class. Check out this year’s amazing fleet of little blue feet!

Dabbs gets a blue pedicure!

“Parents love to have foot prints or hand prints at different stages of their kid’s lives,” Sally said, “so why not bring that idea to VBS every year?”

The Blue Feet Fleet!

It started several years ago when Sally, Sherry Vick and Becky Clay helped their class of little people create hand/foot print tote bags! Sally recalled, “It was pretty cool to see the 4 year olds use their VBS tote bags to carry their stuff in when they promoted to BIG Church in the fall”.

Game Day tote bag!

To mix things up, Sally and friends decided to alternate tote bags with t-shirts. Tote bags on the even years—T-shirts on the odd years. The rest is VBS history!

Arctic Edge! Hands and feet—just don’t paint the toes!

Outrigger Island! Hand print palm trees. William’s hand is still green to this day! jk

Sally and some of the little people!

A bit about Sally: she is married to Steve, has two great kids, Alyson (9), and Lucas (10), owns and operates her own graphic design business Little June Bug Graphics from her home, teaches graphic design at The Art Institute, and loves VBS! (She totally qualifies as a VBS Geek of the Week!) …and she goes to my church, FBC Nashville.

Lance and Sally

Thanks Sally for what you (and all of you reading this blog!) do to make VBS happen for kids everywhere! Teaching kids about Jesus—doesn’t get any better than that!

Bonus: gotta give a little shout out to Lydia (Adam’s mom) who is pretty “crafty” herself. The airplane shirt Adam is wearing? Lydia made it! Also, Patrick (Adam’s dad) works here at LifeWay and led music at VBS this year! Thanks Patrick!

Today on Kids Ministry 101, We’re part of the Family Ministry Blog Tour!!

Catch a Connecting Flight with Parents of VBS Kids

ImageWhile your Amazing Wonders Aviation flight has probably landed, your bags are unpacked, and you are already dreaming about your VBS 2013 destination, some essential follow-up can still take off for 2012. Candace offered some great follow-up suggestions last Wednesday at http://lifewayvbs.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/vbs-follow-up/.

Here’s another great way to consider connecting specifically with the parents of VBS kids. If your church did not purchase the VBS 2012 Family Flight Log Parent Guide: Logging Time Together to Discover God’s Amazing Power! (005404243), mailing a copy of this small “flight log” that reinforces the Amazing truths kids learned about God’s power can be a great way to connect with parents.

The guide contains five daily devotions for families, fun activities to do as a family, and the ABCs of Becoming a Christian. It’s a great way for parents to reinforce what kids learned during VBS, and it’s an excellent opportunity for churches to let parents know they care about their kids and them as a family. The guide is an inexpensive way, priced at $3.49 for a package of 10, to connect with parents as the summer comes to a close and families begin to get back in normal routines.

Visit your local LifeWay Christian Store soon while VBS supplies are still available and purchase enough packages to send to all your VBS kids. Don’t miss this opportunity to make another connecting flight on AWA airlines!

Foto Friday!

The summer is beginning to wind down, but that hasn’t slowed down the photo-sharing!  Many churches are still in the midst of VBS, so the pictures just keep coming!  Big church or little church, it’s really cool to see how God uses VBS in so many different ways to convey one simple message:  Jesus saves.  I’m so excited to share another round of VBS 2012 photos with you!

Fanny Grote shared these photos from East Shore Baptist Church, Harrisburg, PA. They used VBS materials while on their mission trip to Jamaica! They reported 6 decisions for Christ from their VBS.

Another great photo from East Shore Baptist Church, Harrisburg, PA who used VBS materials on their trip to Jamaica!

Sally Crank shared this photo from water day at Sparks Christian Fellowship in Sparks, NV. “Our Amazing Wonders week was July 9-12, 2012. We ended with 193 kids and 161 volunteers. It was an amazing week full of Gods awesome power!!! The kids had a ball, the volunteers went above and beyond. Cant wait until next year!! It is definitely my favorite week of the summer!!”

DezaRay shared this photo from New Pilgrim Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, Utah. I thought it was so creative of them to decorate outside for recreation! How creative! “We had an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G time decorating in and outside our church for VBS!”

Neal Cox shared this photo of an AWA plane at The Bible Temple in Coward SC. “The plane is made from insulation foam and covered with conact paper and is assembled like a giant balsa plane.”  Very cool!

Cathy Mattingly and Brenda Nelson, co-directors of VBS at West Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, KY shared that they included radio-controlled airplane flight simulator training with their Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS. WOW! Cathy said the kids had an absolute blast!!

Here’s another fun photo from Cathy and Brenda at West Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, KY.  Love that propellor! 

Marsha Henderson from Bear Creek Baptist Church in Houston, TX shared this photo with us. “Here is our version of the Great Barrier Reef. We had such a great week with over 1000 kids. 100 kids accepted Christ as their Savior!!!! Can’t wait till next year!!!!”

Here’s a teaser for next week. I can’t wait to share all the photos from Church on the Queensway in Toronto Ontario, Canada– a church that does VBS REALLY BIG!

 

If you’d like to share your VBS photos and stores, post them to our Facebook page, or send them to me in an email at katie.decillo@lifeway.com.  Make sure you include the name of your church and a description of the photo!  Image size must be a minimum of 1024×678 in order to be shared on the blog.  Happy weekend!

VBS at Parkway Baptist Church

VBS is always fun at our small church and somewhat a bit challenging. For the last 9 years our church has been meeting in a local middle school. We usually run anywhere from 150-250  in Sunday worship. So that means space and volunteers can be somewhat limiting. But God is faithful and each year we have exactly what we need to host an amazing VBS experience for our community (we have babies through adult classes).

This year I led the fourth grade class using the AWA curriculum. It was amazing (no pun intended, just the best word to describe VBS). Each night attendance went up and more children were exposed to the gospel. Relationships where built and visitors attended worship the following Sunday.

One of the biggest blessing was seeing one of our youth who made a profession of faith during VBS be baptized in a nearby lake two weeks after VBS. We are looking forward to seeing the seeds that were planted come to fruition through God’s amazing power.

Foto Friday!

It’s Friday, Friday, Friday!  I love Fridays, but I also really love Mondays because I usually return to work and open an inbox full of pictures and stories from YOU about your week of VBS!  Please continue to share those!  I never tire of being reminded of how God uses the ministry of Vacation Bible School to bring others to Himself.  Here are a few of this week’s pictures!

This plane is sitting outside New Life Assembly of God in Landisburg, PA. Their VBS was this week- July 23-27th. The photo was submitted us by Lisa Moyer who said the plane attracted lots of attention!

Water of Life Community Church in Fontana California built a two level spotting tower next to their hanger with a 1/3 scale Electra-10 (Amelia Earhart’s Plane) flying over the first few rows.

Make sure you click to view the full-size version of this photo. It was sent to us by Julie Monroe from Forestville Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. “We chose to decorate our Worship Rally a little bit differently; we re-created 5 of the 6 wonders for our Main Stage! My mother Carol and I spent the past 6 months working on the wonders and it was AMAZING FUN!”

This Worship Rally Hangar photo was sent to us by Amy Dillard of Union #3 Baptist Church in Ball Play, AL.

This is one of my favorite pictures! Anderson Bond has taken his VBS airplane to 5 different churches to excite hundreds of kids about Amazing Wonders Aviation Vacation Bible School!

Here’s an Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS setup from Richmond Hill Baptist Church in Boonville, NC. They had a total enrollment of around 180 with an average attendance of 140. Not pictured, they used an actual wooden propeller of a crashed plane to get kids excited as they enter the Worship Rally Hangar!

This photo was sent to us from Chris Crosswhite at Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Newcastle, OK. The hangar was hand painted by a wonderful lady at the church and in the lower left corner, she even included snoopy and his house.  The propeller on the plane rotated, and the plane and the air traffic control tower were used for puppets of Bill Rogers and Amelia Erhart!

Wild things can happen when you say Yes to VBS! Jason McNair and Geek of the Week Debbie Chidester got “sundae’d” as part of Family Night at First Baptist Church of West Valley City. Congratulations, kids, for bringing in a combined weight of over 80 lbs of pennies and over 800 items for missionaries in Alaska!

If you’d like to share your VBS photos and stories, feel free to post them to our Facebook page, or send them to me in an email at katie.decillo@lifeway.com.  Make sure you include the name of your church and a description of the photo!  Image size must be a minimum of 1024×678 in order to be shared on the blog!

VBS at My Church

What an exciting week we had experiencing Amazing Wonders Aviation at my church— Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, TN! When we entered the sanctuary, it looked like an airplane had come straight through the ceiling and was just hanging there! Great way to kick off the aviation feel each day. Our average daily attendance was 1,846 (1,380 kids plus 466 volunteers)!

I taught in one of nine kindergarten classes. We usually had 22 kids and six workers in our “Kindergarten G” group! (“Go G-fliers!”) Three of our helpers were teenagers who did not take on leadership roles, but assisted the three adult teachers. That was a great help! For many of the senior high students this VBS is “training” for those who will travel to Chicago to conduct VBS there.

Our church provided a training event called “VBS University” where all volunteers had an opportunity to receive age-group or rotation group training prior to VBS. Our leadership also provided enrichment sessions such as “Leading a Child to Christ,” “Using Teens Effectively as Volunteers” or “Guiding Behavior.”  It was a great time to get folks excited and prepared for VBS.

This is not the only VBS that happens—it’s just the first. The materials are reused to conduct six other VBS events in downtown Nashville, Chicago, Georgia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Israel.  The missions offering taken during VBS goes to help support the ministry of these other mission VBS events.

Most importantly, 52 children made professions of faith this week. We expect that many other lives were influenced and changed, and that we will continue to see children ADMIT, BELIEVE, and CONFESS.

Flash-Mob…VBS Style!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to promote VBS? We received this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G video from Geek of the Week Melissa Lasseter at Miami Shore Baptist Church.  They orchestrated this huge flash-mob promoting Amazing Wonders Aviation.  They performed at The Village of Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, FL on June 2, 2012.

[vimeo 43437502 w=500 h=375]

To share your stories about promoting VBS, email me at katie.decillo@lifeway.com!

Today on Kids Ministry 101, take a look at Wholly Kids!