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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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!

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!

Get the Communication Hub Humming

thomasIt’s time for another Decorating Monday feature! Today we’ll take a look at the site for music rotation during Agency D3… the Communication Hub. Because it’s Monday and because we like you, our faithful blog readers, so much, I’ll give you a piece of art to download that will make your decorating even easier.

 

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Here you go! We used keyboards all over the place in our Agency D3 decorations, but nowhere is it more critical than here in the center of communications for the entire Agency. All you need to do is mount these to foam board scraps and voila—a perfectly easy wireless keyboard!

Stay tuned for more quick tips and easy tricks to bring Agency D3 to life in your church this summer!

Agency D3 Decorating- Music from LifeWay VBS on Vimeo.

Foto Friday…What is It? Revealed!

tyrrell“Ugly Tie”! That guess cracked me up! I think I’ve had ties that looked like that before.  Thank you Dawn, Debbie, Marsha and Krystal for your guesses! Last week’s Foto Friday…What is It? is a craft from our VBS Student Guide. It is our “Special Agent Desk Caddy”…it’s a plastic tray that has been decorated with different things-colorful duct tape, magazine pages, etc.

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Be sure to stay tuned for this week’s “Foto Friday…What is It?” and Discover, Decide, and Defend what it is. 

 

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.

VBS 2014 Tour Stop 6: Takin' It Home

wooley1 2013The newest addition to LifeWay’s family of VBS resources is the VBS 2014 Takin’ It Home CD. You may have read about it back in June.

Takin’ It Home is truly one of the most exciting aspects of VBS to come along in years. VBS leaders and pastors are constantly trying to figure out ways to connect with parents, and this is it!

Takin’ It Home CD is designed for families to listen to in the car on the way home from VBS. A segment for each day not only serves as a review for the the kids, but introduces the content, life application, and memory verse to the parents as well. Each day families will be challenged to have intentional conversations with each other. Families will also be challenged to pray together and return the following Sunday for Bible study and worship.

We tested Takin’ It Home with four churches this summer and have heard great stories such as the parents in Florida who made professions of faith as a result of interacting with their kids and the CD. Or the mom in Tennessee who rushed into the church office wanting to know where she could get a copy for a neighbor family. We also heard from a mom who said she had never had such meaningful conversations with her kids.

We believe so much in this resource that we have done everything we can to make it possible for every family to have a copy of their own. Every church will receive a copy in the Jump Start Kit, along with permission to make as many copies as needed. In a few weeks  there will also be free downloadable files at lifeway.com/vbs. Again, make as many copies as you wish.

If you do not have a way to make copies, or if you would just enjoy the convenience of having them made for you, we have taken care of that as well. You can choose to purchase Takin’ It Home CDs in 10 packs.

For a few extra dollars you can have the message of Takin’ It Home customized especially for your church. Our actors will record the segments specifically for your church, along with a message of invitation to attend future services and events. You will receive a master copy and permission to reproduce as many copies as you need.

VBS continues to be one of the very best ways to connect with unchurched families, and now Takin’ It Home makes it easier than ever to connect with parents.

 

 

Foto Friday. . . What is it?

tyrrellOkay Agents, here’s your next Foto Friday assignment, “What is It?”. Here’s this week’s close-up. What do you think? Can you DISCOVER what it is? Can you DECIDE if it’s a snack or a craft or something else? Will you DEFEND your choice?

Give me your best, craziest, funniest responses!

 

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