Random Tip 1406 – Create a Plan Before the Emergency

20140105-190812.jpg You may have noticed my photo looks a little different today. That is because I am FROZEN!!!

In case you are not aware, Nashville experienced a temperature drop of 50 degrees in 12 hours. While this might not be an unusual experience for you, it definitely was for this boy from Houston, Texas! To be honest I had no idea how to prepare my house, car or mind. I’m sure I am giving you Northerners a good laugh with my lack of preparedness.

In Houston the threat of a hurricane was real, but could typically be managed with a stock of supplies, a generator, and an emergency evacuation plan. I was prepared. I still have a hurricane supply box in the garage even though the threat of a tidal wave is not likely in Nashville.

What does all of this talk of weather have to do with Bible School? Glad you asked. Just like unexpected weather situations, a week of VBS is an emergency just waiting to happen. You may not experience tidal waves or plunging temperatures, but extreme heat or a sudden down pour can scrambled even the best orchestrated plans.

Make emergency planning part of your VBS planning and training. Know in advance what you will do if rain makes it impossible to have recreation on the front lawn, a fire alarm sends everyone running, or an injury requires immediate medical attention. What will you do if the air conditioner chooses the week of VBS to take a vacation, or a worker becomes ill and is unable to finish the week.

Another potential emergency lets us end on a brighter note – more kids than expected. I once had 60 teenagers show up on the first day for Youth VBS when we only expected 10. Talk about an emergency!

The definition of emergency is an unexpected situation that becomes top priority and requires immediate attention. With a plan in place emergencies become expected and manageable.

Something I always thought a little funny – the years we enlisted a nurse as a member of the VBS team her skills were never needed. The years we didn’t have a nurse we needed one every day.

Foto Friday…The VBS App!

tyrrellHi everybody! Exciting news today! The LifeWay VBS Agency D3 App is now live in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store!

Here are some screenshots of the app!
photo 1
photo 2
photo 3
photo 4
Let me know what you think!

Unpacking the New VBS 2014 Starter Kits

VanCleave - new (1)

They are here! We are so excited about the new Kids Starter Kit (for Grades 1-6) and the new Preschool Starter Kit (Babies through Kindergarten). We’ve listened to your comments that you want “everything you need to get started” in one box, so here it is.

Starter Boxes

Special packaging created just for the Starter Kits makes the VBS Director’s job super easy. Let’s unpack those kits and take a look.

Preschool Box open

Inside the Preschool Starter Kit, the three age group resources have been carefully packed together and labeled for your “Amazing” Babies to 2s teaching team, your “Fantastic” 3s-PreK teaching team, and your “Incredible” Kindergarten teaching team. As your teams meet, the label also explains what additional resources will be needed based on the number of classes, teachers, and preschoolers you will have. The 3s-Kindergarten Rotation Pack is included for easy distribution to your preschool rotation leaders. A sample set of craft packs and a “mystery” bag of fun items for preschoolers is also included.

Preschool Mystery

Ok, ok … I’ll tell you what’s in the mystery bag. =) A sample picture frame, samples of the sticky foam shapes, one sheet of the new Agency D3 Stickers, a set of the Daily Mission Insignias (for ages over 3), and a fun pair of the Special Agent Rearview Glasses!

Kids box open

Now, let’s take a peak in the Kids Starter Kit. The three Bible study age group resources have also been carefully packed together and labeled for your “Marvelous” Grades 1-2 teaching team, your “Fabulous” Grades 3-4 teaching team, and your “Phenomenal” VBX teaching team. Once again, as the teams meet, the labels will help them know how many additional leader guides, leader packs, and Kids Evidence Kits they might need. Individual rotation leader guides for Missions, Music, and Crafts are included plus Recreation Rotation Leader Cards and Snack Recipe Cards.

kids mystery

A sample set of craft packs and a “mystery” bag of fun items for kids are included. The kids fun items bag includes a sample picture frame, one sheet of the new Agency D3 Stickers, a set of Daily Mission Insignias, the cool glow-in-the dark ABC Wristband, and a fun pair of the Special Agent Rearview Glasses!

You are ready to grab a kit and get started! Have fun!

And don’t forget Jump Start Kits are also available.  Check out this post where we unpack them!

6 Additional Reasons to Attend VBS 2014 Preview

wooley1 2013Now that CyberMonday is behind us, and before the extreme crush of Christmas begins, we can take a moment to once again think about our favorite subject – VBS! Or better said, VBS Preview!

Chances are, if you are reading this post, you have already registered for Preview, but in case you are still debating here are six additional reasons why my friends think you should join the fun.

1. You will have the opportunity to win a VBS 2014 trivia contest. – Jerry Vogel

2. You will have the opportunity to meet me (Collin). – Collin Spindle

3. You might experience a Secret Service Mission act of kindness. – Carol Tomlinson

4. You will have a chance to get away with friends and laugh until your sides hurt. – Rhonda Van Cleave

5. You will receive fun free stuff. – Henry Dutton

6. You will get re-fueled and return home flying like Rocket Pack Jack! – Bill Emeott

 

Register today at lifeway.com/vbs/preview.

 

Thankful for VBS. Thankful for You!

wooley1 2013Thursday, as I gather with family and friends, you will be counted as one of my richest blessings. Although I may not know each of you by name, I do know you by your spirit.

You are the heart and soul of this great ministry we call Vacation Bible School. Each year you tirelessly give your talents, time and resources that that the spiritual orphans of this world might hear Jesus proclaimed.

Because of you there are countless millions who will be thankful this Thursday that they have been transformed through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

As the Apostle Paul would say, “I give thanks to my God upon my every remembrance of you.”

Random Tip 1405 – Missions and Snacks in One

wooley1 2013As I pointed out last Tuesday, churches that conduct VBS at night often find it difficult to get in a full three-hour schedule each night. As a result these churches have to make decisions concerning which aspects of VBS they will either delete or condense.

Given that the middle word of this time-honored ministry is Bible, I truly hope Bible study is not something you would choose to delete or shorten too severely. This means that one or more of the typical rotations (crafts, missions, music, recreation and snacks) must be restructured.

One option is to combine two rotations into one, and my favorite combination is missions and snacks. To make this combination work it is best to serve snacks that are either prepared in advance by the snack team or pre-packaged. Kid-step snacks (where ingredients are provided and kids are encouraged to create their own snack) typically requires too much time when snacks are combined with another activity.

It is best to have simple snacks ready for kids to pick up as they enter the room or have them arranged at each place setting before kids are seated. To minimize distractions and to insure everyone can easily see the videos, kids should be seated – either on the floor or at tables – in semicircles around the television or projection screen.

This combination creates a simple dinner theater that gives kids the opportunity to learn about missions and cultures while they enjoy their snack.

Did you know that each year, as a result of the VBS missions rotation, between 2,500 and 3,000 kids, teens, and adults respond to a call to vocational ministry? Missions and snacks – a winning combination!

Follow-Up to VBS: Zip for Kids

maryWhat VBS director isn’t looking for a great way to follow up with the kids that came to VBS?

This year, consider offering another experience to reinforce who God is. Focus in on God’s love, His presence with us, His trustworthiness, and His promises after spending VBS focusing on the life of Jesus.

Zip for Kids is a great opportunity to continue the learning that kids began at VBS through any event that you choose! Zip for Kids is completely customizable to fit a day camp, overnight camp, summer of Wednesday nights, or any other event that you can dream.

I am most excited about the focus that Zip for Kids has on equipping the people in your church to serve the community through the gifts that God has given them. You can choose activities (or tracks) that your kids and the kids in your community love, while empowering a leader to lead an activity that they are deeply passionate about. Zip for Kids infuses your DNA into an event that can be used for following up with kids, as well as ministering to kids who may not have been interested in something like VBS, but who might love a sports or arts camp.

Zip for Kids includes ten Bible story lessons, large group plans, small group plans, 16 track time plans (five one-hour activity plans in each track), and tons of videos and music for kids. The Bible content provides an Old Testament and New Testament lesson for each of the five Bible concepts. The Old Testament lessons focus on David and the New Testament lessons focus on Peter. You can mix and match the lessons or choose to do all of them. Either way, the specific concept is woven throughout the day in each element of Zip for Kids.

Meet your community where they are by offering an opportunity to continue their Bible learning while having a blast doing activities that they already love by offering Zip for Kids as a follow-up for VBS this summer.

Check it out here. Make sure to sign up for the preview so you can see the great content and activities that will be offered for your group this summer!

 

D3: Discover, Decide, Defend

carol_editedMost of you reading this title for this blog post are probably thinking, “Wait a minute, where’s the Agency in D3?” No, I have not forgotten or even misprinted this title. D3 is the title for Student VBS in 2014. Yes, you read that correctly. LifeWay does have Student VBS curriculum, and in fact we have Adult VBS curriculum as well. That’s right, when we say we have you covered from birth to death, that includes VBS.  We not only want kids to know how to discover, decide, and defend their faith, we want to equip students and adults to do the same.

Students are pressured on all sides to accept what teachers, professors, peers, and sometimes even family tell them about Jesus. It’s time for them to discover the facts about who Jesus is, decide what they will do with the evidence they’ve gathered, and step out in faith to defend what they believe.

Student VBS can be held at the same time as your children’s VBS, as camp curriculum for Student Camp, Bible study for Sunday or Wednesday nights, or as a weekend retreat.

And if you are looking for a way to get Students excited about defending their faith, consider taking your students to see the movie God’s Not Dead that is releasing in the Spring of 2014. Watching the movie would be a great kickoff or follow-up to D3.

For those of you out there who already use Student VBS, we would love for you to share your advice, experiences, and ideas.

Random Tip 1404 – Begin the Evening with Rec

wooley1 2013As more churches move their Bible schools to evening (approximately 65%) they discover that it is difficult to fit all the traditional activities of VBS into the time allotted.

I have heard of and witnessed an interesting variety of optional schedules, but one of my favorites is using recreation as an arrival activity instead of a rotation.

With this schedule the front lawn becomes the rec field and the fun begins 30 minutes before the official start time.

Divide the rec field to allow for kids of different ages to play at the same time without the older kids running over the little ones. Choose games that allow kids of all ages to enter into the activity as they arrive.

Be prepared for the number of kids to increase each evening as word spreads that recreation is an early arrival activity.

What unique schedule options have you used for your Bible schools?