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!

Foto Friday…What is It? Revealed!

tyrrellAfternoon Agents! It’s been a slow week on the comments. I’m thinking I might have actually stumped you!

Here’s a reminder of what the image was.

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Any ideas? Did I hear someone say duct tape? Yes, you are correct!

It’s our “Outlet Safe” craft from VBX!

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Marooned Without a Compass Day

carol_editedWho knew that there is day for being marooned without a compass? I love that we can find reasons to celebrate/honor odd days. I mean, who thought, “I know! November 6th should be Marooned Without a Compass Day”? Was it someone who had recently been marooned and rescued? Was it someone who had just finished watching the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway? I’m not sure what the history behind the day is, but I thought it would be fun to poll the VBS team (in honor of Wilson, the volleyball) to see what VBS item they would want to have with them if they were marooned without a compass. I, of course, would take the VBS tablecloths. You can make a lean-to, rain poncho, sleeping bag, or any number of items.

So, in no certain order, here are the responses:

Keith— The giant inflatable to use as a raft.

Rhonda—Wanted to say the inflatable, but she changed to the tablecloths. And since it only said, “No compass,” She’s thinking her pack would have duct tape etc. She would put up a temporary shelter, use them to keep things waterproof, tote the food she would find when she’s foraging, and set a fine table for whomever wanders by.

Gordon—Decided to be all spiritual on us and said The New Testament of course! But he also gave props to Survivorman, Les Stroud for teaching him all he needs to know.

Bethany—Wanted to take the Rocket Pack Jack Stand-up, so she would have a friend. (Kind of like Wilson in Castaway.)

Mary—Opted for the Special Agent Watch, which she thought had a GPS function – thus allowing someone to find her. She was just going to enjoy the scenery until they arrived, but we hated to inform her it might be a long wait since the watch doesn’t have GPS. It does, however, have a cool laser light with which she could entertain small animals and a working watch so she could keep track of just how long she was marooned.

Candace—Settled on taking the balloons, so she could tie them to something and fly away. She has her movies confused – that would have been Up.

Melita—Of course Melita is the rebel on the team, she said she would take duct tape. Because even though it’s not an official VBS accessory, you can’t do VBS without it!

So there you have it. What VBS accessory would you take if you were marooned without a compass?

Agency D3 Worship Rally Live Stream

Friends, we have some exciting news.  You can be among the first to preview the all-new Agency D3 Worship Rally videos!  On Tuesday, November 12 at 1:00PM CST, we will live stream all of the videos for the 2014 Worship Rally.  Be sure to save the date, bookmark this page, and share your thoughts with us on Twitter using hashtag #AgencyD3 while you watch!

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Foto Friday…What is It?

tyrrellHello Agents! It’s time for this week’s “What is It?“! I gave you a break last week. Actually I gave myself a break to find something really good. . .because you are TOO smart and keep guessing what it is! LOL!

Here we go. What is it?

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What do you think? Can you DISCOVER what it is? Can you DECIDE if it’s a VBS craft or snack? Will you DEFEND your choice?

Give me your best, craziest, funniest responses!

 

Foto Friday… What is It? Revealed!

tyrrellWell, it has been a light week on the comments, but Kimberly nailed it! “SNACK!! Cookie mustache, peanut butter nose with chocolate chip nostrils!”
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You are correct Kimberly, it is a snack and it is a cookie mustache, peanut butter nose with chocolate chip nostrils! Do you have hidden cameras in my office and can see what I’m going to do for “What is It?” Quick! How many fingers am I holding up!?!?! :P

This week’s photo is one of our snacks called, “Disguise on a Stick” and it looks yummy!

 

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Apologetics 101

thomasThe day we announced our VBS 2014 theme, one well-known apologist tweeted: “FANTASTIC! 2014 VBS curriculum from @Lifeway focuses on apologetics for kids. Excellent!” Since then we’ve heard many of you express the same kind of excitement about this Bible content designed to help kids discover the truth about who Jesus is and defend their faith in a culture that is often hostile toward Christianity. But we also know that “apologetics” is an unfamiliar word to some. Consider this your crash course. Are you ready?

 

What is apologetics?
Simply put, apologetics is the defense of the faith. It comes from the Greek word apologia, which means “a reasoned defense.” Just like attorneys use evidence and reasoning to defend their clients in court, Christian apologists point to concrete evidence and give well-reasoned answers to defend the truth of Christianity.

The purpose of apologetics is not winning an argument. The purpose is to draw people into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ, the cornerstone and foundation of our faith.

What about evangelism?
Apologetics goes hand-in-hand with evangelism. In fact, apologetics could even be described as pre–evangelism. For those who question the Christian faith, apologetics uses logical answers as springboards for sharing the gospel. Ours is not a blind faith; it is a faith firmly rooted in history and evidence.

Apologetics can also be described as post–evangelism. At some point, everyone will have his beliefs directly challenged, whether by a friend, teacher, family member, or the ever-pervasive media. When those “points of crisis” come along, we must be able to fall back on those foundational pillars of our faith and be assured not only of what we believe, but also why we believe it. Matthew 22:37 commands us to love God not only with our hearts and souls, but also with our minds.

Why are so many young people growing up and leaving their faith behind? It’s because the Christian community is failing to engage their minds as well as their hearts. As kids ministry leaders, we can give children a priceless gift by helping them to think biblically and to defend their faith before they leave our sphere of influence.

Can’t we hold off until they get to the youth group?
Let me answer this question with another question. Can we really afford to wait?

While teaching in VBS two summers ago, a kindergartner said to me, “My daddy says God isn’t real, so His Son isn’t real either.” What this 6-year-old was really saying was: “Tell me why what you’re saying is true.”

We must give kids reasons why Christianity is objectively true, why the Bible is God’s inspired and infallible Word, why we can know that Jesus was more than just a good man and that His resurrection is not a myth or elaborate hoax. If not, we risk losing our children and generations to follow.

As kids ministry leaders, we don’t have to have all the answers… and we don’t even have to pretend to. But we do need to be available to kids and help them work through their questions, doubts, and uncertainties honestly. This will become very important as they enter the teenage years and young adulthood… but it begins now. It begins in VBS. It begins with leaders who will not only help kids discover the truth, and introduce them to a Savior who died for them, and build a foundation for life-long faith in them, but who will show them by example how to live it out.

 

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Happy Fall, Y’all

carol_editedYep, it’s that time of year. Fall is upon us. The leaves are changing, the air is nippy, and the pumpkins are harvested. This is one of my favorite seasons of the year. I love the crispness in the air and all those yummy pumpkin flavored treats that are now available. Speaking of, have you checked out our Pinterest board lately? Well, what are you waiting for? Check out our board that’s chock full of Fall Recipes.  And if it’s crafts you need, check out our board for Fall Craft ideas.

We have also recently added a Fall Festival board. So be sure to check us out!

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We would also love to hear from you about your Fall favorites.

Foto Friday…What is It?

tyrrellHello Agents!  Are you ready for this week’s “What is It?”? This week is actually VBS related. lol! I guess I have given you all a few curveballs lately but, I promise, this week is either a VBS craft or snack.

Okay, are you ready? Here it is!

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What do you think? Can you DISCOVER what it is? Can you DECIDE if it’s a VBS craft or snack? Will you DEFEND your choice?

Remember, give me your funniest, craziest comments.

A Letter of Appreciation to My Pastor

wooley1 2013Dear Pastor,

I didn’t want Pastor Appreciation Month to pass without taking a moment to express my thankfulness for the many ways you shepherd us, encourage us, love us, and challenges us throughout the year, but especially through the ministry of Vacation Bible School.

Thank you for voicing your conviction that VBS remains one of the very best ways to reach unchurched boys and girls, and their families, with the Gospel.

Thank you for reminding the congregation that VBS is the biggest evangelistic ministry we will conduct all year and that VBS is an all-church ministry, not just a children’s ministry.

Thank you for making VBS a priority not only on the church calendar, but your personal calendar as well.

Thank you for insisting VBS be adequately funded through the evangelism and outreach portion of the church budget.

Thank you for leading the way by not only being the first person to volunteer, but for saying, “just tell me what you need me to do and I’ll do it.”

And when I asked you to lead in the Worship Rally by climbing a 40-foot mountain created from construction scaffolding, staying curled up for 20 minutes in a preschool-size tent, or swinging on a cable above the heads of the kids, you didn’t for one minute respond hesitantly or suggest that I had lost my mind. Thank you for leading by example.

Thank you for visiting every classroom, for spending time with the kids during snacks and recreation, and being on the parking lot to meet parents and thank them for bringing the kids.

Most of all, thank you for being our biggest cheerleader! When we thought we couldn’t do it, you assured us we could. When frustration and anxiety might have ruled the day, you brought calm. When exhaustion started robbing our joy, your words of encouragement renewed our strength and resolve to not give up.

Thank you for being a VBS Pastor!

 

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 How does your Pastor participate in VBS? Don’t forget to say thank you!