Random Tip 1410 – Connect Everything – Even Snacks – to Scripture

20140114-075705.jpgDid you know that once upon a time churches conducted VBS for four weeks? Hard to imagine isn’t it?

Even more recently the typical VBS was 10 days. While I do not personally remember attending a 10-day school I know many people who did.

A four week or 10-day school provided the luxury of time we no longer enjoy. Can you imagine what Bible truths you could teach if you had 60 hours? Or even 30?

Like far too much of life, VBS is often described as a rush. A VBS leader recently lamented, “We rush kids to worship rally so we can rush them to Bible study. Then we rush them to crafts so we can rush them home.”

Today, at best, we have 15 hours to do all the things that make VBS not only educational but fun and entertaining. (An evening Bible school typically included only 10 hours.) With this limited amount of time we have to make sure every minute counts and every activity is connected to the Biblical emphasis for the day.

I recently shared during a training session that even snack time needs to be used to reinforce the Biblical truth for the day. One leader replied that her church does not use the snacks suggested by LifeWay so they do not try to connect the snack to the Bible story. I reminder her that it is not the snack that is important but what is done with the time while the snack is being served and eaten.

As many of you know, my all-time favorite VBS snack is fruit punch and butter cookies (the kind shaped like a flower with a hole in the middle). Nothing fancy or even theme related about this snack, but the time allotted for the snack is still a perfect time for a review of the lesson, the sharing of life application points, or work on Scripture memorization.

I often hear that recreation leaders want to choose their own activities instead of using the games that connect to the theme and Biblical truth. Again, no problem as long as rec leaders connect their games to the daily theme.

Too often we enlist workers without stressing that every thing that happens during VBS – from the moment the kids arrives until they return home – must be connected to the Biblical content for the week and each day. Failing to insure that crafts, recreation, snacks and music connect to Scripture is a lost opportunity that will never be retrieved.

Back when VBS leaders needed to fill 60 hours it might have been fine to play a game or sing a song that was not relevant to the content, but not when we only have 10 to 15 hours. Help your workers see the value of every minute and the lost opportunity of not connecting everything – even snacks – to Scripture.

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!

VBS & Fall Fest

Could there be a more perfect way to reuse VBS decorations than at your church’s fall festival? LifeWay Kids had our own fall festival last week… complete with food, candy, and games. Candace & I put our own spin on the classic “fish for a prize” game and totally decked out Candace’s office door with decorations from the Great Barrier Reef (Amazing Wonders Aviation).

You can check out more of the great games, booths, and decorations from our fall office party on the Kids Ministry 101 blog all this week!

We want to hear from you… Does your church do any kind of fall festival? How have you reused VBS decorations for other church/community events? Give us all some inspiration!

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!

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.

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.

Foto Friday!

Can you believe it’s Friday again already?  I just keep getting so many great pictures from you guys!  I love it!  Here’s this week’s VBS 2012 photo roundup!  Make sure to continue to share them with me so I can share them here on our blog with everyone else!  It’s so much fun to see all the creative ideas you guys come up with for making your church’s VBS unique and special!

An A-M-A-Z-I-N-G worship rally hangar shared with us by Delores Frymire Lund via Facebook. “Once again Bro. Kevin out did himself. Wonder what will come next year with Colossal Coaster World as the theme. Roller coaster in the Sanctuary maybe???” We sure hope so, Delores!!

Ken Webb from Crosspointe Baptist Church in Concord, NC shared this picture of the airplane they built inside their worship area! Way to think outside the box!

Here’s another view from inside the “plane” at Crosspoint Baptist Church in Concord, NC. Photo courtesy Ken Webb.

Laura Garvin shared this photo from First Baptist Church Garden Lakes! They had lots of awesome decorations this year!

Becky Pruitt, VBS Director at Grace Fellowship Baptist Church shared this quick scene with us!

Keep sharing your photos!  Feel free to post them to our Facebook wall or email them to me 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!

Foto Friday!

Last week, I asked you to send in pictures to be featured on our blog, and boy did you ever!  Thanks so much for sharing, and please continue to share all your creative and wonderful VBS decorations with me!  As your church completes VBS, won’t you continue to share your stories and photos?  I love seeing all the different takes on VBS sets!

Great Barrier Reef at Eternal Faith Baptist Church in Manor, TX.  Shared by Kathy Hitzfelder who made the whole thing!

Worship Rally Hangar at FBC Selma, Selma, AL. The propeller of their plane is an old wooden one that a church member saved because it belonged to his grandfather who flew planes. It’s worth upwards of $10,000 today! AMAZING!

Worship Rally at Wilkies Grove Baptist Church in Hickory, NC

Worship Rally Hangar- Gapway Baptist Church, Mullins SC

Great Barrier Reef shared by Laura Mullins!

Great Barrier Reef shared by Laura Garvin!

Worship Rally Hangar shared by Stephanie Lane Abernathy. “We used foam gliders from the Dollar Tree to hang from the ceiling, we painted them all with different designs and hung about 30 or so!”

To share your VBS photos, email them to katie.decillo@lifeway.com or post them to our Facebook page! Make sure to include the name of your church with your post!

Video Bloopers!

I love to watch bloopers and behind-the-scenes footage from movies and television shows. Did you know you can see this type of footage on the VBS 2012 Worship Rally DVD Set? Back in the day when we actually shot the video on tape, we would end up with lots of bad takes and extra footage we couldn’t use in the actual drama. Much of it would end up in our bloopers. In today’s digital age, most of those extras simply get wiped off the video card.

Tim Cox

So, coming up with bloopers has become more challenging for our video editor, Tim Cox.

The bloopers always show up in our “Credits” section of the DVD. Here are some fun things to know as you watch the bloopers for this year’s video:

• The guys had to spin that propeller probably 70 times or more before the plane started.

• Michael Kennedy who played the part of our “ground crew chief” is the owner of the fabulous plane we used.

• You’ll see Bill Cox, our video director, hiking up Waimea Canyon. That was a hard . . . let me emphasize . . . HARD hike! We had passed the “End of Trail” sign before we began that descent into the canyon! There’s always a moment every year when I ask myself, “What am I doing here?” Hiking up this canyon was that moment for me in this particular shoot.

Those are just some fun tidbits to know as you watch the credits this year. Enjoy!

Foto Friday!

Katie here- filling in for Keith for a few weeks while he works hard on lots of fun things for you guys!

We’ve gotten to see so many AMAZING VBS decorations over on our Facebook page– submitted by you guys! Here are a few reader-submitted Worship Rally Hangar Photos!

Shiloh Baptist Church!

Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, LA. They had parts of a REAL plane!

First Baptist Bethany, Bethany, OK

First Baptist Church, Texas City

Bat Cave Baptist Church!

WOW!  I’m impressed by all this hard work!  If you have photos from your VBS this summer, please share them with us on Facebook or email them to me at katie.decillo@lifeway.com!