How Are You Connecting with Parents?

wooley1 2013Church leaders attending VBS Previews in January and February were challenged to make Connection Groups part of their VBS planning. A Connection Group is a Sunday School/small group class designed specifically for the unchurched parents identified during VBS, and scheduled to begin the first Sunday after VBS.

I have heard some great stories from churches who took the challenge. Now weeks after VBS these churches continue to connect with parents and families who might have otherwise been forgotten.

My favorite story so far is from a VBS leader who reported their Connection Group now has eight people attending. She said when challenged at Preview to create a Connection Group she just couldn’t make the commitment because she was concerned that her church would not support the idea. She said her trip back home was consumed with guilt from not making a commitment, yet the conviction that intentionally reaching parents was the right thing to do.

Once home, this leader made the decision to meet with her pastor and present the challenge and opportunity. She was overjoyed that he realized the potential and gave her the green light to enlist leadership for the group. However, her joy began to diminish  as her attempts to find leadership produced no results. She said she finally gave up and concluded that the creation of a Connection Group was not going to happen.

Two weeks before VBS she was invited to attend a Sunday School workers meeting to share VBS plans and needs. While planning to share craft supply and snack needs she had no intention of talking about the Connection Group. She felt it was too late and that obvious it wasn’t meant to be. During her presentation she sensed God telling her to lay out the challenge to intentionally connect with the parents of unchurched kids attending VBS. She shared the idea of creating a Connection Group and her attempts at finding leadership.

At the conclusion of her presentation a teacher of an adult class said someone else could teach his class and he would accept the challenge to start the Connection Group the first Sunday after VBS.

At first only a couple of parents attended, but four weeks later attendance has increased to eight!

I love this story because the leader didn’t give up. She remained faithful to the challenge of connecting with unchurched families, and she was sensitive to God’s leading and timing.

How about you? What are you doing to intentionally connect with the unchurched families discovered during VBS?

Jerry Wooley has served as LifeWay’s vbsguy since 2006. He would love to hear the stories of your Connection Groups.

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.

 

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. 

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)

Agency D3: Preview

wooley1 2013 If you have attended a LifeWay VBS Preview you know how much fun we have when hundreds of high-energy VBS leaders get together to learn, share, create, laugh, and worship together. And in 2014 you will have even more opportunity to join the fun with two additional events where everything is packed into a single day.

You loved him at VBS 2013 Preview, so you will be excited to learn that Dr. Shane Garrison is returning to share the rest of the story – your story – the story of how many of you responded to the challenge to build bridges to spiritual orphans and expanded your VBS outreach in ways you could not have imagined a year ago.

You will also have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best including Klista Storts, Bill Emeott, Jerry Vogel, Kelli McAnally, Lori Honeycutt, Mark Jones, Rhonda Van Cleave, our great VBS set designers, and many more.

Join me and co-host Andy Dukes at one of the following locations for VBS 2014 Preview.

Dig into D3 and Dream with Us! 

Ridgecrest North Carolina, January 10 – 11

Fort Worth, Texas, January 17 – 18

Nashville, Tennessee, January 30 – 31, January 31 – February 1, or One-Day February 1

Kissimmee, Florida, February 7-8, or One-Day February 8

Become part of the Special Operations Unit when you register to bring 10 people by October 10th.

Special Operations Unit Agents will receive a member-only t-shirt and other great VBS swag!

Register by November 1 and save!

Click here to learn more and register today!

VBS Preview Flash Drives

dukes2Still need to purchase one of our flash drives from our 2013 VBS Preview events? Act now before it’s too late!  There is still time left to get your very own flash drive complete with behind-the-scenes interviews with our VBS Preview event staff and tons of bonus content that you can use in your own church VBS event! Here is a small sample of the great content you can find on the 2013 VBS Preview Flash Drive.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/65111092 w=500&h=281]

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/65111283 w=500&h=281]

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/65111054 w=500&h=281]

To order, simply call 1-615-277-8184 or email tiffany.francis@lifeway.com

Price: $30 (includes s&h)

Family Night???

img_5318We have been having a colossally (is that a word?) fun experience at the 2013 Previews in North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee. This week LifeWay’s VBS Event team is taking Colossal Coaster World on the road to Kissimmee, Florida for the grand finale! There is still time to join us. Click here for more info!

During Preview Family Night breakout sessions the idea has surfaced that it might be time to change the name Family Night to something that speaks more to today’s purpose for the event – which is connecting unchurched families to the Gospel and to the church.

We would love to hear your ideas for a new name as well as the stories of what you do during your Family Night event to insure unchurched families are connected to the Gospel and to the church.

You can reply to this post or send your suggestions to me at jerry.wooley@lifeway.com.

 

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Foto Friday and a Giveaway!

katie-thumbHey VBS’ers!   Who is getting ready to join us for a VBS Preview event in Nashville or Kissimmee?  We can’t wait to see you and share the excitement of Colossal Coaster World!  Get ready for a wild ride!

Did you know we’ve been sharing lots of photos from each event on our Facebook page?  There, you can find lots of creative ideas for decorating, snacks…and even some fun costume ideas!  We’ve been updating the album with photos during each event so that you can experience the whole thing with us!

741096_10151420332574948_122765358_oIf you have or will be attending a preview event, make sure you upload your photos, as well!  We really want our Facebook page to be the hub for sharing ideas for VBS 2013.  But that doesn’t work unless everyone shares!

And because it’s Friday, how about we give a little something away, huh?  Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below to win some great Colossal Coaster World gear!

Enter below to win your very own Colossal Coaster World vendor apron, visor, collectable buttons, viewer keychains and headboppers!  You’ll be super stylish!  (If you win and you’re headed to Preview, you’ve basically already got your costume together so that you can enter to win a spot to the 2015 VBS Think Tank.  Woohoo!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Over the River…

img_5318Over the river (Little Pigeon River) and through the woods (Mt. Pisgah National Forrest) to VBS 2013 Events we go! It is going to be a COLOSSAL week!

This is the week we (LifeWay’s VBS Events Team) look forward to all year – the first in a series of awesome fun events – where VBS groupies from all 50 States, Canada, and Mexico (and sometimes even a groupie or two from Great Britain or Korea) join together for two days of exciting VBS sights and sounds!

Over 1200 VBS leaders will be our guests at Ridgecrest Conference Center later this week for worship with Dr. Shane Garrison and Austin Adamic, teaching by some of the best VBS practitioners in the country, inspiration and creativity of LifeWay’s VBS Graphics and Publishing Team, and a performance of the Colossal Coaster World Musical by a great children’s choir. AND if all this is not enough, how about 60 degree weather (we typically have ice) in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

If you are not registered for the Ridgecrest event, there is still time to join us January 18-19 in Fort Worth, January 31-February 1 in Nashville, or February 8-9 in Kissimmee. Like I said before, these events are going to be COLOSSAL so don’t miss out.

To learn how you can be part of a one of these awesome Preview events go to lifeway.com/vbs/events.

We’ll be looking for YOU!

Discounted Shirts – Great Reason to Attend Preview!

There are many awesome reasons to attend one of the VBS Previews scheduled for January and February, but for many guests they find discounted VBS t-shirts and leaders a huge incentive! Everyone who attends will receive one free t-shirt of choice (choose from Colossal Coaster World, Thrill Seekers, or Club VBS Jungle Jaunt), but Previews make it possible to outfit your entire VBS team for a fraction of the costs you would spend otherwise.

One guest told me she saves enough each year on t-shirts to pay her Preview registration fee and travel expenses. Talk about making ever penny count!

Once again t-shirts – whether you need just one or multiple hundreds – will be available for $7.00 each and Colossal Coaster World leader shirts will be priced at $20.00. This is an event-only offer so don’t miss out!

Another great reason to attend this year is to see the many people who show up in amusement park costume. We are encouraging everyone to attend the first day dressed as an amusement park character or employee. Everyone wearing a costume will be entered in an opportunity to be chosen to participate in the VBS 2015 theme think tank. One person will be chosen from each location.

The Ridgecrest and Nashville 2 events are now closed, but there is still plenty of room at Nashville 1, Fort Worth, and Kissimmee. To learn more go lifeway.com/vbs.

Until then, I wish you the merriest Christmas ever and a blessed 2014!