VBS Geeks of the Week: Shiloh Baptist!

Katie DeCilloYou know, I LOVE it when churches get GEEKED for Vacation Bible School.

There are so many of you out there who pour your heart and soul into VBS and will do ANYTHING it takes to make VBS a success! We love hearing those stories! If you have a story to share about a VBS Geek at your church, email me at katie.decillo@lifeway.com to nominate them by telling me why your nominee is a VBS GEEK, and they might just be featured on our blog!

This week, we’re featuring a whole team of VBS Geeks!

Church Name/Location:
Shiloh Baptist Church, Bridgeport, Ilinois

VBS dates:  June 23-28th

How many years has your church done VBS?
“Forever. LOL! I am 51 and went to VBS at Shiloh when I was young. It has changed drastically over the years. We have probably been doing it this way for around 18 years,” says Kyle Davis.

Average attendance?
157– includes students and workers

How much time does it take to decorate your church for VBS?
We decorate it in one week. Many workers spend many hours prior to that week to get the decorations ready.

What is your church vision for the ministry of VBS?
To reach the children and their families in our community with the Gospel message.

Most memorable VBS moment?
This year, we had a student win Holiday World tickets for bringing in the most visitors and he gave them to the runner up because he has season passes and is able to go whenever he wants. This was his idea. It was so sweet. The runner up had never been and was thrilled.

Click here to check out Shiloh Baptist’s end of the week video!

Geek of the Week: Seth!

Hello there!  I hope you had a relaxing weekend and a wonderful first day of Fall.  The weather has been fabulous here in Nashville! I wanted to give you a sneak peek at a very special Geek of the Week (too much rhyming for a Monday morning?) named Seth!  Seth wins the award for youngest Geek of the Week!  Seth is an avid reader of our blog and just loves LifeWay VBS curriculum!

Seth came to visit us here in Nashville back in July to be part of our catalog and promotional video shoots for Colossal Coaster World and was a wonderfully enthusiastic participant!  We had so much fun with Seth that we even took him down to our crazy storage area (and one of our most favorite places) known as “The Cage” to let him get a glimpse of Vacation Bible School sets and props from the past.  It’s like our own VBS vault!

Stay tuned to our blog for a very special video interview with Seth and our own Andy Dukes soon!

Geeks of the Week! Part I

Congratulations to our Geeks of the Week Camille Guthrie and Rachel Montjoy!  These two geeky VBS sisters were nominated by their good friend and fellow Geek of the Week winner, Megan Thomas.  Camille has been involved with the ministry of VBS for 25+ years and brought her sister Rachel on board for Game Day Central!

How long have you been serving through the ministry of VBS? Share a quick memory or story from “the beginning”…

Camille:  I’ve been involved with the ministry of VBS for 25+ years. However my first Lifeway VBS was in 2006 with Artic Edge. I taught 3rd and 4th grade. While growing up in church I was always involved with VBS but this was my first time with Lifeway’s curriculum. I have used Lifeway every summer since then. I really like the flexibility with the Lifeway materials. I find that I can bend the Lifeway VBS structure to fit any size whether the church is small or large. Sometimes our ministry involves children who are very familiar with the Bible stores as well as children who are un-churched and not familiar with Jesus. Lifeway’s curriculum has the flexibility to work well in both situations.

Rachel:  I started VBS ministry when Camille asked for my help with decorations with the VBS Game Day Central…we had a good time, lots of work but it awakened my inner crafter and I saw VBS as a big place where I could have a lot of fun without having to explain why it was all in my living room! You can bedazzle on a large scale when you have a whole church building!

What is your role in VBS?

Camille: I have had a lot of VBS roles. I’ve been a “teach-the-teacher” on the associational level, a church teacher, directing entire VBS programs, and leading the worship rally as well as mission’s emphasis portion of the week. My roles change throughout each summer. I am a member of a VBS Missions Ministry team through our church (Edwards Road Baptist) where a group of people from our church go to smaller churches to assist them with their VBS. We may help them by conducting the entire VBS or we may assist the church as VBS support staff. Each church is different and each week of ministry is different. Through this ministry we have the privilege to share the good news of Jesus multiple times to multiple children throughout the summer.

Rachel: I have done everything from teach, teach clinics, decorate, MC, act in drama of Bible stories, patch up the injured (I am a nurse practitioner)…the only thing I haven’t done is lead recreation…Do you know how hot it is in South Carolina in the Summer?

What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on for VBS?

Camille: I don’t know that I have a favorite project. I get really excited in January for the Ridgecrest Event (we are VBS Preview junkies too!) and we start working on our VBS as soon as the samplers are available. We try to keep VBS in the front of our ministry team all year – not just during the summer.

Rachel: My favorite project was making individualized surf boards for Outrigger Island…we made so many, we used art work from the kids…one of my daughters still uses hers as a pin board in her room…the reason it was such a great, favorite project it that it was the first time I used the foam board and well, now I’m hooked. My unofficial nickname in my family is the “Styrofoam whisperer”!

What makes you a VBS geek?

Camille:  Well, I’m all about VBS. Our ministry tries to keeps VBS in the front of our minds all year. My sister and I spend most Saturday mornings at yard sales or thrift stores gathering supplies to “bring to life” the next VBS theme. We try to be good stewards of the resources we have and we like to consider ourselves thrifty as we try to repurpose and recycle for the ministry. We’ll think about trashing something and then brainstorm and come up with a new idea – how we can use it for our next VBS. Already we are thinking about how to transform airplanes into roller coaster props and beyond. We follow all the VBS blogs and Pinterest VBS ideas trying to make sure that each VBS honors and glorifies God. Rachel and I both believe that there are many things “fighting” for the attention of children. We want to make sure that the VBSs we are involved with “stand a fighting chance” to attract the kids and make kids want to attend. We then pray that God would use our ministry to claim the hearts of these children for His kingdom.

Rachel: Well, I guess it is obvious…if I’m still waxing eloquently about surfboards crafted from foam several years later…I love it…any yard sale we go to…any piece of packing material…even at Home Depot/Lowes…I am known for staring off into space, holding the item at all angles and then saying “How do you think we could use this in VBS?”. In fact we splurged this week and bought one of those Kcup coffee makers and I was already thinking “What could these be in VBS???” The kids said “Oooo, gross Mom!”

Stay tuned next week for Part II of Camille and Rachel’s Geek of the Week spotlight.  You’ll hear why they LOVE the ministry of VBS!

Geek of the Week: Megan Thomas!

Our Geek of the Week is Megan Thomas from Edwards Road Baptist Church!
We asked Megan a few questions about what makes her so geeky, and here’s what she had to say!
1. What is your role in VBS?  “Teacher/ sometimes music leader”
2. What was your “geekiest” moment?  “Oh golly, so many to choose from!  We start listening to the music as soon as we get it (Jan!!) and ride down the road doing the moves…I have gotten a pie in the face for a girls vs. boys missions contest,  had water dumped on me, and the list goes on and on!!”
3. What has been your favorite VBS theme?  “Honestly I don’t think I have one fave…I love all of them!!”
4. You might be a VBS geek if…  “You always say YES TO VBS!!  AND when you do 3 or 4 VBS’s [in one summer] and still want MORE!!!”
5. What makes you keep doing VBS?  “My love for Christ and wanting to share that with the children.  I love to see how excited they get going to the different stations, how they love to sing the songs and hearing them talk about what they heard.  Its all about the kids and more importantly, its all for HIS glory!”
Megan, thanks for using your gifts in order to serve Christ through the ministry of VBS!  We get so excited when we find people like YOU who are so excited about Vacation Bible School!
Megan will be receiving a special “Geek of the Week” shirt to wear so that everyone knows just how GEEKY she is!
Today on the Kids Ministry 101 blog, “Where Should They Worship?”

VBS Geek of the Week – Shelby Egender

Last week I announced that I had found two ladies in Oklahoma worthy of the highly sought after crown of Geek of the Week.

VBS Geeks are those rare (actually in the world of VBS they are not so rare) people who eat, sleep, and breath VBS not for just one week of the year, but basically on a daily basis. They are the people who can literally tire someone else out by talking VBS non-stop.

This week’s Geek is just such a person. In fact, the only way she could get her daughter to agree to attend the VBS Preview in Fort Worth back in January was to promise that she would not talk VBS while in the car. All indications are that this was one promise our Geek was unable to keep.

It is my honor to introduce you to Shelby Egender, bi-vocational Children’s Minister at Baptist Temple in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the 22nd VBS Geek of the Week!

Shortly before VBS 2011 Shelby was called to her ministry position at Baptist Temple. She did a great job of pulling together on short notice a VBS faculty as well as organizing the work of a mission team assigned to help her.

In addition to her staff position, Shelby holds down a full-time secular job and helps another church in Capital City Baptist Association conduct Club VBS each year.

In the picture above Shelby is demonstrating another way she shares her love and passion for VBS with churches throughout the Oklahoma City area by leading preschool training for the associational VBS training clinic.

Shelby, thanks for writing your own chapter in the history of Vacation Bible School, and for sharing your heart for reaching boys and girls, teens, and adults through this great ministry we call VBS!

VBS Geek of the Week—Shelia Thomas

We interrupt this usual “Foto Friday” blog post to bring you a special edition of “VBS Geek of the Week.” Two “geeks” in one week? Man, VBS fans are awesome!

Let me introduce you to Shelia Thomas. Not only is she a VBS Director par excellence, she’s also a brand new mother-in-law since her daughter got married last weekend! Congratulations, Shelia, to you and your family!

We asked Shelia to answer a few questions about what makes her a true “VBS geek.” Here’s what she said…

1.  What is your role in VBS?

I am the VBS Director at my church (FBC Stevenson, AL) and have directed or co-directed for 16 years. I also co-direct my Associational Team (TN River Baptist Association) in the greatest VBS state—Alabama! I teach the music class for our Associational Training Conference and lead the Director’s Early Training.

2.  What was your “geekiest” moment?

My personal VBS motto is “Anything for Jesus!”  So I have LOTS of geeky moments.  However, here’s one of my favs…

One of the churches in our association was struggling in getting their people to come to training. They asked if we could come to them and share our passion for VBS.  Of course we agreed, because we LIVE to see people fired-up about Bible School! We showed up in full VBS attire with a car busting at the seams with all the props!  I must say, it was a blast and God answered our prayers for that church.  What a blessing!  However, on the way home I ran over a rather large piece of a blown-out tire which lodged under my bumper and well… my bumper was torn off.  The Highway Patrol came to my rescue very quickly and within an hour I was headed home! I politely thanked the officer and prepared to leave when the officer said, “You don’t recognize me, do you?”  I looked rather closely and realized that he was a former member of our church! After making my apologies, he replied, “That’s okay, Ms Shelia.  But I would have recognized you even without your VBS get-up and nametag!”  At that point I understood why so many vehicles slowed down, stared, and honked as I stood stranded on the side of the street.  I was in full “Saddle Ridge Ranch” duds and my car was “full-of-it” too.  Oh well, folks around these parts are accustomed to it now.  They say they can’t wait to see what we pull out of the hat next!

3. What makes you keep doing VBS?

The kids!!! Being able to see them worship “kids style” with uninhibited freedom, introducing them to my awesome God, building relationships with them and their families, and most of all the fact that God allows me to be a part of His amazing work. I am so humbled and thankful. I learn something new every year! Isn’t God good??

4.  What has been your favorite VBS theme?

That’s a hard one! I have truly loved every theme. Whenever I have felt challenged to bring a theme to life, God has always proved Himself faithful and provided more than I could hope or imagine! But we REALLY had a great time with “Saddle Ridge Ranch.” It seemed that all the adults got into that one… totally over the top! (Our float in the annual parade was the best ever!)

5.  You might be a VBS geek if…
Why stop at one answer? Shelia gave us a whole list!

  • You wait by the computer for the announcement of next year’s theme while you are completing plans for this year’s school! It’s like working two VBS themes at once!
  • Or, you write skits even from a hospital bed! You know, you have to make the most of your free time! It’s VBS on the brain, 24/7!
  • Or how about… you’re a real VBS geek if you see everything in terms of “How can I use this cardboard from my new pantyhose (or whatever you open that day) in Bible School this year?”
  • Or if you don’t mind standing on the side of the road in the most embarrassing outfit to gain attention for VBS!
  • How about, if you do VBS at your local Nursing Home? They love it, and it is an amazing sight to see those wheelchairs rocking to Jeff Slaughter’s music!
  • And, your kids are really proud that their mom is totally sold-out, freaky crazy gal who is proud to be called a “geek”!!!  (P. S. My kids and husband have caught the “geek” vision!  I could not be more proud!)

Geek of the Week—Kathy Martin

Meet my friend, Kathy Martin. She’s one of the “geekiest” VBS geeks that I know and serves at Higher Ground Baptist Church in Kingsport, Tennessee. Kathy didn’t tell you below, but she’s also an excellent writer and has written preschool VBS curriculum for several years. Thanks, Kathy for sharing with us!

How do you serve in VBS? 

Over 30 years ago, I served when my children were preschoolers. The next year I was asked to be the director. Now I serve full-time as Director of Children’s Ministry at my church—it all began with VBS!   Each year I bring out my sailor hat—and become “DINAH” (my alter ego). Dinah has been around the world with VBS. She boasts that she’s the “best of the best—when it comes to VBS”. She’ll do anything to make VBS a success.

What is your “geekiest” VBS moment? Dinah always has a plan to make our penny offering more interesting. We love to take it to CentriKid camp to contribute to the missions offering. My geekiest moments? Dinah has given and received a pie in the face; been slimed; doused with apple-sauce and some kind of wiki-wiki pudding (so disgusting!); kissed a pig, a frog, a gorilla, and a cow (and liked it!); swallowed not one, but TWO gold fish (hard to top that one); put on sumo wrestling suits and wrestled on stage (knocking over the entire set); and ridden a Harley-Davidson, a rigged up Surf board, and a golf cart down the aisle of our  worship center! In 2006, she also rode in a hot air balloon—not so “geeky”, but oh so fun!

Dinah is also known for  her super-blaster water gun. I squirt the kids who are participating—they get happy and start singing when the super-blaster comes out! In 2004, we began taking our VBS “on the road” to lead a day camp for a church in New York City. Can you imagine East Tennesseans trying to speak Japanese words to New York City children? Yep, pretty “geeky”, lol—we had 17 3rd-6th graders make professions of faith that first year!

What makes you continue to do VBS year after year?  

1) I love God—and I am so thankful that He loved me so much that He gave His Son, Christ Jesus, to die for me. VBS gives us a great format to fulfill His command to go and tell.

2) I love people—The truth is, VBS is NOT just for kids! For the past three years, we’ve had as many (or more) adult volunteers as we have had kids. The VBS bug is contagious—and it should be. People will show up when they understand they have a part in making an eternal difference in the lives of others and the message always challenges our volunteers—we’ve had adults accept Christ through VBS!

3) I love kids—One of my favorite parts of VBS is worshiping with children and adults of all ages. It is incredible to be a part of a ministry that gives children the opportunity to grow in their faith as they choose Jesus and decide to follow HIM.

What is your favorite VBS theme to date?

At “Rambling Road Trip” (2005), we kicked off VBS with a hot rod/car show. I loved clipping on a pony tail, and donning a red poodle skirt and blouse embroidered with a “D” for Dinah. Our Worship set was a 50’s café, and riding down the church aisle with “the Fonz” on a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle was…sweeeeeeeet!

What kind of advice could you give to someone directing VBS for the first time? 

Begin early, pay attention to details, and don’t be afraid to try something in a new way. We begin our VBS planning as soon as Christmas break is over. Our VBS staff  attends Lifeway’s VBS preview each year—and we always go one night early to pray and plan out our VBS. Details—like screening volunteers, delegating leadership roles, outreach, registration, and communication all help make VBS successful. Take care of the hard work in the months before your big week and you’ll enjoy VBS for the wonderful ministry opportunity it is.

Complete this sentence . . . You might be a VBS Geek if . . . you check LifeWay’s website 10 times a day during June to get the clues posted for next year’s theme….then throw a special “called meeting” of your staff so you can start planning for a year down the road. Let the brain-storming begin—woo-hoo! I love VBS!

VBS Geek of the Week

Wow! I know it’s Friday and we’ve decided to mix things up on you a bit here. Keith is really busy trying to get some fabulous products ready for VBS 2013 and move offices. In an effort to chill him out (I mean help him out) a little, I am doing a Friday edition of VBS Geek of the Week.

This week’s Geek of the Week was discovered at our Nashville Previews in January. Angelia Stewart works as a 3rd and 4th grade Team Member for the Tennessee River Baptist Association. So without further adieu, lets find out what makes Angelia a VBS Geek of the Week.

What roles have you filled involving VBS?

I have served as a Director of VBS from Ocean Osydessy until last year when my family moved to a new church. I am now serving as the Music Leader in our current church.

What do you think is the most encouraging aspect of VBS?

The most encouraging thing about doing VBS year after year is seeing the faces of boys & girls as they discover Who Christ is & that He  loves them more than anything . . . no matter what their circumstances. The joy on their faces when they accept Christ as their Savior and experience the freedom that only He can give makes all the effort worth it!

What is your favorite VBS theme to date?

It is hard to pick one theme, but Saddle Ridge Ranch & Amazon Outfitters were probably my favorites.

What is your Geekiest VBS Moment?

For Rickshaw Rally, my husband made a rickshaw that we used to promote VBS. During VBS & after VBS I put it out in front of my house as landscaping. He had worked too hard to just toss it. Our neighbors would all laugh as they came to visit & say, “You might be a VBS junkie if you keep your decor as landscaping. And YOU MIGHT BE A VBS GEEK IF … every item you see you think about how it can be used with the VBS theme.”

Foto Friday. . .Geek of the Week Photos

HI everyone, it’s Keith again! Have you been enjoying our “Geek of the Week” feature? It has been a lot of fun to read and a lot of fun getting to know our VBS geeks, fanactics, groupies. You all amaze us with your enthusiasm, your creativity, excitement and love for all things VBS and how it impacts children’s lives. . .and adult’s lives too!

[Read more...]

VBS Geek of the Week

I am so excited to tell you about the VBS Geek of the Week! Our team first met Hye-Jung Yun (PJ) last year at the Nashville VBS Preview. PJ flew all the way from South Korea to get a sneak peek at the Big Apple! The team has kept in contact with PJ over the last several months and have grown to love her as one of our own, so naturally we knew she had to get the prestigious VBS Geek of the Week title. I hope you are as inspired by her love for VBS as we have been.

How did you get involved in VBS?

I got involved in VBS 2010 which was our first VBS. It was planed by my senior pastor (Dr. Young Min Pee) who is a friend of Dr. Charles Lowry the Reach Missions Director. I served in an English Sunday School so I learned about the camp & the minister whom I worked with wanted me to be a part of it. And I was more than glad. When we first started, I served as  full time staff and I became a HUGE fan of VBS!!  Your methods, approaches, all the crafts & decoration ideas. As a language teacher (I’m teaching Korean to the speakers of other languages.), I just couldn’t help myself to become a fan.   And I really wanted to learn from you how to have  better VBS. Then Debbie Heck, who is a Camp Reach teacher & a kinder & decorations expert of VBS, told me that you have  preview events and she invited me over. 

How do you use VBS to teach kids in Korea about Jesus?

In Korea, English eduction is a great tool to approach the non Christian parents to send their kids to church. So with VBS, we designed an English camp called Camp Reach. It’s a 2 week camp, Monday-Friday, 7-8 hours a day. We teach VBS in the  morning & ESL in the afternoon. One teacher from the states, such as Debbie Heck, works with one Teaching Assistant, who is our church member and a university student. They work together so that the kids can have full understanding of the message. On the last night, we have commencement and presentation and the parents are invited to see what the kids have been learning.

PJ shared this sweet testimony about a great Saddle Ridge Ranch memory:

When we had Saddle Ridge last year there was a students whose parents were buddhist. When he got home he was singing the VBS song all day long. And the mother told the person who introduced him to the camp,  “My son is strange. He sings, God, God, God…” The boy was singing God cares.

What is your “geekiest” VBS moment?

I was asking the TAs about this, and they told me that Geeks don’t know that they are geeky. So every moment of the camp was geeky to us–staying late or sometimes sleeping at the church, etc. But the real geeky thing comes right after the camp finishes. We have what we call Post Reach (VBS) Syndrome. The two main symptoms are:

1. Thinking, “Which VBS T-shirts should I wear in the morning?” (We have a dress code for the teachers and staff during the camp and they were informed when the camp is over.) We still think about it and grin about it.

2. Sometimes it feels like I hear the VBS song while walking down the streets. last year, it was “Tumbleweed” and this year was “Why Don’t You?.”

What makes you continue to do VBS?

The messages, the methods, and all the materials and plus the feedback from the parents is amazing. Who wouldn’t want to continue?? I surrendered my life to our Lord as a missionary who educates people all over the world. So when it comes to the education, I want to learn more and more. VBS gave me another perspective on Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. It’s not only for the kids but also for youth & adults. Last summer me & some of the Camp Reach staff went a province in South Korea and they loved the Big Apple Adventure a lot! I think it’s a great tool and methods to bring kids to church. I’ll continue the VBS till God sends me to the mission fields.

Will we see you at a Preview this year? And if so, which one?

Debbie Heck invited me over again (Thank you Debbie) to the TX preview and I really hope & pray to go there. I’m so excited to be a member of the AWA Club! I need all of your prayers for my scheduling. It’s not my vacation time at school, so I need to be excused which seems a little bit hard at the moment.

Camp Reach is prepared by Team Reach & KJBC (Kangnam Joongang Baptist Church in Seoul, Korea) as early as December. Program designing starts in February and the trainings for the TAs who co-work with homeroom teachers in each classrooms starts around April.

I am sure PJ and her team would appreciate your prayers as they continue to use VBS to spread God’s message in Korea.