Random Tip 1402 – The Daily Sack

wooley1 2013My all-time favorite VBS organization tip is The Daily Sack – or The Daily Box. It requires a little pre-planning and preparation, but it is a sure cure for the daily stress and anxiety of trying to locate everything needed at the last minute.

The concept is almost too simple to mention, but I’m sure it will become one of your favorite all-time tips as well.

Step 1: Gather six large paper grocery bags or, especially with the theme Agency D3, six file boxes.

Step 2: Label bags/boxes with the day of each session. For example, the first sack would be labeled “Day 1″. Label the sixth bag/box “Daily Supplies”.

Step 3: Schedule time in one sitting to look over all five sessions of the leader guide. Make three lists of needed items for each session. One for items to gather from around your home or the church resource room. The second list for items that need to be purchased. And the third list for resources that need to be cut out or constructed. Remove resources from the leader pack and separate them by the sessions they are to be used. You should end up with six stacks: one for each day, plus one for items that will be used every day. Place each stack of resources in the appropriate sack or box.

Step 4: With the first two lists in hand, make a trip to the church resource room and store. Try to gather all supplies in one trip. Once you return home, separate the supplies into the appropriate sack or box.

Step 5: Set aside a time to complete all projects on the third list and place the items in the appropriate sack.

Step 6: On the day of VBS just grab your sack and go!

Random Tip 1401 – The Official VBS Clock

wooley1 2013While planning for my first year (yes, VBS is a year-round event) of VBS at Park Place Baptist Church in Houston, I was introduced to the official – not to be taken for granted – VBS CLOCK!

There it was – round, off-white face, black rim -  like so many other clocks in the building. Just doing its best to stay relevant. There was nothing spectacular about this clock, yet it was very, very special! This clock had been designated by the VBS Director as THE OFFICIAL VBS CLOCK!

At first I thought it a silly idea and a little too bureaucratic for my taste.  Why bother? Every room was equipped with a clock, and the last time I noticed everyone who had volunteered so far typically wore a watch. What we were in desperate need of was more time, not more time keepers!

But then my friend and VBS Director, Dava Donaho, patiently explained that the time on every clock and watch was just a few seconds off from the next. Typically not a problem, but seconds turn into minutes, and when dealing with a schedule that was already too tight to allow for more than five minutes between each rotation, lost minutes could turn rotation into a disaster. The light came on and THE OFFICIAL VBS CLOCK made perfect sense!

During worker training the glory and importance of the official VBS clock was highlighted. Workers were reminded to make a daily check to be sure their watches and the clocks in the rooms matched the official time. THE OFFICIAL VBS CLOCK saved the day – or in this case the week! We were able to rotate 500 kids as easily and in the same amount of time as we could rotate 5.

As a well-known TV hostess might say, “The OFFICIAL VBS CLOCK – It’s a good thing!”

Over the next few weeks I am going to use this space to share some of my favorite VBS tips. I’ll just say up front that none of them will be original. For some of you the information will be new and for others just a reminder of what you already know and do. I have asked several friends to add their ideas, and now I’m inviting you to share your tips as well. Just hit reply and wow us with your VBS wisdom! By the way, if I haven’t told you lately, I sure do appreciate what you do as you go about connecting people to the Gospel through the fantastic ministry of VBS!

VBS 2014 Jump Start Kit Available Today!

Let the celebration begin!!!

LifeWay’s new VBS 2014 Jump Start Kit is available at LifeWay Christian Stores today!

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Pre-orders started shipping last week so many of you have already had a chance to explore this great new resource.

We would love to hear your reaction to both the Jump Start Kit and the new Takin’ It Home CD.

Coming to a location near you…

mary2013′s VBS season is wrapping up and we have loved hearing the stories about the impact that Colossal Coaster World had on the kids who attended VBS at your church this summer!

We can hardly believe that it is time to start planning for 2014 now! The best planning and training that you can get takes place each year at the VBS Preview events. If you’ve been, leave us a comment and tell us why it’s a “can’t miss event.”

If you haven’t been before, here are 6 reasons to sign up today:
1. Be one of the first to truly experience and be trained for your time at Agency D3 in 2014.
2. Hear from writers and editors about best practices and creative ideas to engage the kids who attend.
3. Ask any question that you might have to those who developed the curriculum for Agency D3.
4. Have a blast networking with other leaders and hearing their ideas about decorating and training teachers.
5. Hear from experts about child development, discipline, and classroom management to pass on to your VBS volunteers.
6. Take home a ton of ideas, notes, and swag that will give you a jumpstart into the summer!

VBS Previews are coming to a city near you! We have events in Ridgecrest, North Carolina; Fort Worth, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Kissimmee, Florida!

Check out more details and register here. 

VBS 2014 Tour Stop 5: 6 Step VBS Continued

wooley1 2013Last Tuesday I introduced you to the simplification and reorganization of the VBS 2014 Administrative Guide for Directors based on LifeWay’s 6 Step VBS. Age-group leader guides have also been simplified as well – you are going to love the cleaner look – beginning with Page 1 which includes a version of the 6 Step VBS designed specifically for teachers.

1. Prepare Your Heart

2. Get the Basic Facts from Your VBS Director

3. Plan

4. Gather and Prepare

5. Teach

6. Continue the Connection

Following is a brief explanation – at least in my words – of what each step means.

Prepare Your Heart: Great teachers are first great learners. Preparing our hearts to teach VBS means first allowing the message of each Bible story to speak to and transform us personally. The Bible content of Colossal Coaster World is a great example. Before I could teach others to face fear by trusting God, I had to first trust God with some of my own fears.

Get the Basic Facts from Your Director: Simple facts such as session time, room assignment, and a list of other activities and rotations planned for the day, are essential to the planning process. This may seem like a no-brainer, but regrettably I have been the teacher who was told, “Just show up a few minutes early and we’ll tell you what you need to know.” Can you say, “Mistake!”?

Plan: Take time to look over all five sessions to learn how each connects to the others. Once you have the big picture you can begin planning one session at a time, making lists of items to gather and prepare for each day.

Gather and Prepare: My favorite way to prepare for VBS is to create a master list of all the resources I need to gather, purchase, or prepare. With list in hand I like to make one raid on the church resource room, one shopping trip, and take one evening to put everything together. Then, using six boxes or bags, I separate everything by the day it will be used. The sixth box is for the resources that will be used every day. By taking time in advance to gather and organize I save tremendous time and anxiety the day of the session. Each morning I simply review the lesson, pick up the appropriate box, and head to church.

Teach: There is a little more involved here than just reading or telling a passage from the Bible. But with a little preparation and a little knowledge of why a variety of learning activities are important, transformational teaching will be much easier than you might imagine.

Continue the Connection: We spend all week getting to know and influence kids, and then on the last day of VBS we tear down the decorations, throw the resources in a closet, run to our cars, and consider the job done. VBS is one of the best opportunities the church has to connect with unchurched kids and their families, yet we so often cut the relationship off just as it is gaining momentum. Think of it as starting to build a bridge but then halting construction half way across the river. Continue the Connection (follow-up) is not the responsibility of the pastor, the VBS director, nor any one person or team. Continuing the connections started during VBS is the responsibility of every VBS worker and church member.

To learn more about these six simple steps check out Page 1 of a LifeWay’s VBS leader guide which will be available in December.

Next week, Tour Stop 6: Takin’ It Home

Register Now For Kids Ministry Conference!

KMC_Header

Andy Dukes, Event CoordinatorIt’s hard to believe that October is almost upon us.  And that can only mean one thing here at LifeWay Kids – an awesome opportunity for you to get connected with our national Kids Ministry Conference! An annual conference hosted by our LifeWay Kids team, we build it to truly be a transformational experience for you and your children’s ministry team. We want to provide you with great training and content through our workshops, great worship, and inspirational messages, in addition to loads of fun!

We feel that this year’s event is going to be the best one yet. You need to act now because space is filling up fast. Some of the featured guests this year include Anthony Evans, Eric Geiger, JD Greear, Angie Smith, Jeffrey Reed, and Jennie Allen. And for 2013, your registration fee also includes a ticket to the historic Ryman Auditorium for a special concert on Tuesday night! That’s almost worth the price of admission right there! If that wasn’t enough for all you VBS fans out there, if you come to KMC 2013, you will get the chance to take part in an exclusive preview of our 2014 VBS theme, “Agency D3″!

So what are you waiting for? This is a great opportunity to network with others, be challenged in your own ministry, and be inspired by the Lord to continue following the call He has placed on your life.

For more info, check out our website HERE.

Don’t Delay! Register Today!

For more info or if you have specific questions, contact our Event Coordinator- Andy Dukes (andy.dukes@lifeway.com)

Save the Date for VBS 2014

candace-1VBS 2014? Yes, you read that right. It is never too early to think about VBS 2014. Make sure to mark your calendars for October when you can begin purchasing the VBS 2014 Jump Start Kit. From there the possibilities are endless. You can begin enlisting teachers, thinking about decorations, and just any general planning for VBS. Here at LifeWay, we live VBS 365 days a year and we don’t want you to miss out on any of it. Below you will find a VBS planning calendar. This calendar will help you make plans for your own VBS! As always, if you have any questions, let us know. We love to help!

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Planning_Calendar_Page_2

VBS 2014 Tour Stop 3: Kids Evidence Kit

wooley1 2013Hands down, the coolest Agency D3 resource you will discover is the all new VBS 2014 Kids Evidence Kit which replaces the age-specific learner guides and activity paks for Grades 1 – 6.

With the Kids Evidence Kit (005545856) you will have a one-size-fits-all ordering experience! You read it correctly! The same Kids Evidence Kit is designed to be used by all kids in Grades 1 – 6. So instead of trying to figure out how many kids you will have in each age group, just estimate the total number of elementary-aged kids and you are ready to go.

The super fun Kids Evidence Kit contains all the gadgets necessary for the special agents attending your VBS. Each kit contains five (baseball card size) evidence cards complete with a summary of daily evidence on one side, plus additional clues on the other side that can only be uncovered using the exclusive D3 Decoder. Each evidence kit also contains a Special Agent ID Card, an Evidence Log, and the essential of all essentials – an Invisible Ink Pen and flashlight.

Kids of all ages have enjoyed writing secret messages with the Invisible Ink Pen. In fact, the big kids (adults) who have experimented with it so far have not wanted to give it up.

Kids will also have fun revealing their Special Agent ID each day as they enter the lab. It is the perfect size to conceal in a wallet or in a plastic name badge holder.

Possibly the best thing about the new Kids Evidence Kit is there was no price increase ($2.29) from the Daily Park Guides used this year for Colossal Coaster World.

So you are probably wondering how this one resource is age appropriate for all kids in Grades 1-6. The answer is the way the various items are used during Bible study sessions. Instructions for use are found in Leader Guides and each age group has assignments specific to that age.

Agency D3 is going to be one of the most fun Bible schools ever, but even more important is the terrific content that challenges kids, teens, and adults to not only discover who Jesus is but gives them the tools to defend their faith.

Next week, VBS 2014 Tour Stop 4: 6 Step VBS

VBS 2014 Tour Stop 2: Starter Kits

wooley1 2013For the next several weeks Tuesdays are for Touring! Join me as together we tour the improvements, updates and changes to LifeWay’s VBS resources you will discover with Agency D3: Discover. Decide. Defend!

Our first tour stop was last Tuesday with the all new Jump Start Kit that will be available in October. This kit contains everything you need to start planning, enlisting workers, and getting your church pumped for VBS 2014.

Tour Stop 2 is the Preschool Starter Kit and Kids Starter Kit.

As I said last week, “You spoke and we listened!” We have made getting the right resources to the right age-group leaders easier than ever. Inside the starter kits you will find one of every teaching resource for ages Birth through Kindergarten in one box, and one of ever teaching resource for Grades 1 through 6 in another. Unlike the Samplers and Super Samplers that contained Leader Guides but not Leader Packs, the Preschool Starter Kit and Kids Starter Kit each contain everything you need to get started, pre-packaged by age group in easy to identify and distribute zip-lock bags.

The Preschool Starter Kit (005610212) contains one of each of the following resources:

  • VBS 2014 Babies-2s Leader Guide, Babies -2s Leader Pack, and Kid’s Activity Pak: Babies-2s
  • VBS 2014 3s-Pre-K Leader Guide, 3s-Pre-K Leader Pack, and Kid’s Activity Pak: 3s-Kindergarten
  • VBS 2014 Kindergarten Leader Guide, Kindergarten Leader Pack, and Kid’s Activity Pak: 3s-Kindergarten
  • VBS 2014 3s-Kinderarten Rotation Pack

The Kids Starter Kit (005610211) contains one of each of the following resources:

  • VBS 2014 Grades 1-2 Bible Study Leader Guide, Grades 1-2 Bible Study Leader Pack, and Kids Evidence Kit
  • VBS 2014 Grades 3-4 Bible Study Leader Guide, Grades 3-4 Bible Study Leader Pack, and Kids Evidence Kit
  • VBS 2014 Grades 5-6 Bible Study Leader Guide, Grades 5-6 Bible Study Leader Pack, and Kids Evidence Kit
  • Missions Rotation Leader Guide with DVD, Crafts Rotation Leader Guide, Recreation Rotation Leader Cards, Snack Rotation Recipe Cards, and Music Rotation Leader Guide with DVD

Each Starter Kit also contains samples of cool Agency D3 swag and comes packaged in a convenient box that is easy to carry and super easy to store.

And as before, all resources will be available individually as well as in Starter Kits.

Next week, Tour Stop 3: Kids Evidence Kit.

 Learn more about Agency D3 at www.lifeway.com/vbs

VBS 2014 Tour Stop 1: Jump Start Kit

wooley1 2013Over the next few weeks I will be taking you with me on a tour of the improvements, updates, and changes you will soon experience with Agency D3: Discover. Decide. Defend!

The improvement that will be most noticeable at first – especially to VBS directors and pastors – is the absence of the Sampler and Super Sampler. For 17 years LifeWay has offered a Sampler, and more recently a Super Sampler, of the many resources designed for that specific year.

We said “Sampler” but many of you thought “Starter Kit”. While this may seem like a trivial difference, it can be a huge distinction, especially when a sampler does not include everything needed to get started. You spoke and we listened!

So out with samplers and in with Starter Kits! The first is the Jump Start Kit that will be available beginning in October (previously VBS resources, including samplers, have not been available until December).

 

I track down the truth about questions like:

As the name implies, the Jump Start Kit is designed specifically to give directors a jump start in planning, enlisting workers, and promoting the theme and dates of VBS.

The Agency D3 Jump Start Kit includes an Administrative Guide for Directors, a copy of Decorating Made Easy, Music for Kids CD, a sample of the Kids Evidence Kit for Grades 1-6, Special Agent Carabiner, Special Agent Rearview Sunglasses, Catalog, Jump Start Poster, Promotional DVD, a master of the new Takin’ It Home CD, an exclusive Director’s Badge, all packaged in an official Agency D3 metal attache case.

The VBS 2014 Jump Start Kit is $34.95. Except for the exclusive Jump Start (“save the date”) poster and Director’s Badge, all other resources of the kit can also be purchased separately.

My favorite part of the attache case is the way it is written into the Agency D3 worship rally script. Each day the director or pastor will be instructed to open the case to reveal information that is vital to the investigation for that day. In addition to the case, directors will want to wear their exclusive badge along with their rearview glasses and carabiner.

Agency D3 is a theme kids will love! But more importantly it is a theme that challenges kids, teens, and adults to explore God’s Word for themselves, decide what they believe about the truths discovered, and then have the ability to defend their beliefs.

Sure, VBS is about the fun of a theme that leaders as well as kids enjoy, but more importantly it is about the Bible content and the way it is presented to move kids into a transformed relationship with Jesus Christ. LifeWay has never produced a VBS resource that is more evangelistic then Agency D3. Beginning with day one the Gospel is clearly presented and kids will be challenged to respond.

Next week, Tour Stop 2: Starter Kits!