Foto Friday. . .VBS Logos! ! !

Hi everyone! It’s your fun-loving VBS graphic designer (who happens to love numbers as well. . .I know, I’m weird) and it’s that time of the week. . .Foto Friday!!! Why do I bring up the, “I love numbers” thing? I’m glad you asked! As Carol has stated in her “VBS By the Numbers” post, I like to check the number of views my blog posts receive and I’ve realized that my “Clip Art” post has had a lot of views! I also field a lot of calls, emails, etc about people wanting the past VBS logos.

So, I decided this week will be the VBS logos from 1997 (Good New Stampede) to 2012 (Amazing Wonders Aviation)! By the way, I have worked on every single one except Good News Stampede! My first day at LifeWay was the very first day of writer’s conference for StarQuest.


1997's Good News Stampede

1998's StarQuest

1999 Mt. Extreme


2000's Ocean Odyssey


2001's Truth Trackers


2002's Amazon Outfitters


2003's Kingdom Capers


2004's Rickshaw Rally


2005' Ramblin' Road Trip


2006's Arctic Edge


2007's Game Day Central


2008's Outrigger Island


2009's Boomerang Express


2010's Saddle Ridge Ranch


2011's Big Apple Adventure


2012's Amazing Wonders Aviation

VBS in Sidney (not Sydney)

Here’s a great Facts and Trends article by Polly House on Vacation Bible School at Sidney Baptist Church in Sidney, Arkansas!

You’ll want to check out the pictures and video on Facts and Trends Online.

SIDNEY, Ark., 7/9/09 – It’s not Sydney, Australia, but it is Sidney, Ark.

VBS Director Jennifer Shaw and her crew of volunteers at Sidney Baptist Church took the Boomerang Express Vacation Bible School theme to heart and offered children, youth and adults of their small northern Arkansas community the opportunity to learn about Jesus through LifeWay Christian Resources’ Aussie-themed VBS curriculum.

Sidney is small – the population is about 250, and that includes people who don’t live in the town proper. But that statistic doesn’t even come up when Shaw and her volunteers talk about Vacation Bible School. They could list several reasons to not have VBS. After all, it is a challenge to host VBS in a small church, but Shaw and her team don’t whine or give excuses. They debunk them.

- Excuse 1: “Our community is too small and we don’t have enough kids.”

Sidney doesn’t have many kids either, but that provides an opportunity to reach out to the community. Sidney Baptist leaders encourage their church’s kids to invite their friends from all around the area. The ones who do, receive prizes.

- Excuse 2: “We don’t have enough workers to plan every detail for VBS.”

So what? Shaw used the VBS Super Sampler and said she had just about everything she needed, including instructions and suggestions. She ordered posters, inflatables and other items that made decorating easy. She handed off the appropriate information to the grade- level workers, the “snack ladies,” the audiovisual coordinator, the music leader and others. They all took care of their responsibilities and let Shaw know if they needed her help.

- Excuse 3: “There aren’t enough snack, craft or other ideas to keep kids busy, and they get restless.”

Sidney handles this by using ideas provided with the curriculum along with some original theme-centered ideas. For instance, a craft teacher at Sidney Baptist recycled the cardboard mailing tubes from the VBS posters and used them to make Aboriginal rain sticks.

It helps to have an experienced leader heading up the crafts. Joyce Hancock has served with VBS for 43 years. She knows what the kids like and how to customize craft ideas to appeal to them. “You have to make sure there is plenty for them to work on,” she said.

- Excuse 4: “We are concerned about security when the children leave. It’s too hard to keep up with them.”

You should be security-conscious. At Sidney, Shaw had every class return to the sanctuary for a 10-minute closing session. She had a prize giveaway, read announcements and offered a closing prayer. This time also allowed her to account for everyone. After that, children were dismissed to the person picking them up, and it wasn’t a free-for-all in the parking lot. Shaw knew every child was safely on his or her way home, and she didn’t have to worry about anyone being left behind.

- Excuse 5: “Our children and adults don’t have time to memorize all the songs and drama for our parents’ program, so we just don’t do one.”

Alana Green is the VBS music queen at Sidney Baptist Church. She’s also a certified financial planner who understands a good plan. She knows that memorizing all the words to the songs and the drama for the parents’ program is difficult, so she came up with a simple plan. On family night, a screen is placed at the back of the church so everyone on stage can see the words. Green said this relieved the actors’ anxiety and helped the singers feel more confident.

- Excuse 6: “We are a very creative church and we don’t want to do VBS ‘by the book’ like everyone else.”

VBS is all about being creative in telling children, students and adults the Good News of Jesus Christ. God is a God of creativity! Start with a VBS Sampler then find ways to personalize the program for your church.

Green said that several years ago she saw a white-gloved group use sign language and motions while singing under a black light. She liked the idea and, for the past few years, the youth and some older children have performed one of the slower VBS songs in the dark with glowing hands. She said the audience looks forward to that song because it’s different and fun. It’s not “by the book,” but it’s special to them.

At Sidney, they get creative with the snacks, too. The “snack ladies” prepare themed snacks, like this year’s kangaroo tails (chocolate-dipped bananas on a stick), but they also prepare other snacks the children like. This year, they supplemented with homemade chocolate-dipped strawberries and even some veggie-stuffed squash fresh from the garden.

In a small church like Sidney Baptist, the workers aren’t many, but each one has a heart for VBS. They look forward to each summer and spend hours in planning and preparation.

Part of that preparation is being alert to opportunities for outreach to children and youth throughout the year. Shaw said one of the special things about working with VBS in a small community is the awareness that many people with whom she comes in contact are past or future attendees.

“We draw kids from all around the area,” she said. “When I see little kids at school or in town, they look at me and remember me from Bible School. It’s funny; they look at me like ‘I know you,’ and say they went to Bible School.”

LifeBox Information

If your church is doing the LifeBox project as suggested in the Missions Rotation Leader Guide, here some info for you:

* To receive a discount available for this ministry project, LifeWay magazines must be obtained through a Southern Baptist Association office. Because LifeWay magazines were specifically requested by military personnel, it is recommended that a LifeBox package include at least one of the following: HomeLife, Christian Single, Stand Firm (for males), or Journey (for females).

Some Helpful hints:

  • Obtain the Flat Rate Boxes/Envelopes from United States Postal Service
  • Obtain the Customs Form (PS Form 2976-A) in sufficient quantifies
    • From: Use an individual’s name and address
    • To: Must have a specific service member’s name and address
    • Contents: Magazines, CDs, and Goodies are sufficient descriptions
    • Check the box labeled gift
    • Check the box – Treat as Abandoned
    • Estimate the Total Value
    • Date and sign the form at the post office
  • Homemade Goodies
    • Place in a sturdy zip lock bag is sufficient for most items
    • Chocolates do not travel well (March-October)
  • Substitutions
    • Specialty food items from your local area
    • Nuts and/or Sunflower seeds can replace the candies

Another article on follow up – do you see a pattern here??

Here’s another great article on following up after VBS from the Sunday School Revoluntionary at the Kentucky Baptist Convention. I hope that you have put some thought into how you will follow-up with all of the families that you meet during your VBS event!!

Getting God's Word into the home

VBS is a proven method of reaching unchurched kids with the gospel. It makes sense that if unchurched kids are coming to your VBS events, you’ll want to do as much as you can go make sure that God’s Word goes home with them. Follow-up is a key part of VBS that I hope you won’t overlook.  As we designed the new Kids Activity Paks this year, we had follow-up in mind.

For preschoolers, the Kids Activity Paks include a book, an activity where kids can match objects, plus postcards that can be used in class and sent home with parents. The books are keepsakes that preschoolers will love to read again and again. What better way to get the God’s word into the home?

The Kids Activity Paks for school aged children includes a set of cards with an activity to reinforce the bible lesson for the day, a set of boomerangs for kids to take home that have the daily bible verse on one side and a place where kids can write their own daily challenge on the other side, a “Return Trip Ticket” to use for follow-up and to get the ABCs of Becoming a Christian into the home, plus a picture frame.

Here are some pics:

Think of all the ways you can use these resources to reach unchurched families during and after VBS.

  • Take pictures of kids during VBS, then deliver the picture in the Kids Activity Pak picture frame after VBS.
  • Use labels to add information to the Return Trip Ticket about a follow-up family event.
  • Challenge kids to memorize the daily bible verses by sending the boomerangs home every day.
  • Send parent postcards for preschoolers home each night.

You’ll want to make sure and get these for all the kids in your class!

Kids Activity Pak for Babies – 2s

Kids Activity Pak for 3′s – Kindergarten

Kids Activity Pak for Grades 1-2

Kids Activity Pak for Grades 3-4

Kids Activity Pak for Preteens

Help! I'm the craft rotation leader!

Each year, we have an outside appraiser who takes our craft suggestions and tests them with kids. I thought some of the information she gathered would be helpful to you guys as you are planning the crafts rotation! Thanks so much to Lynn Jordan from Capital Baptist Association for being the craft tester!

Track 1
Name-a-Rang (Grades 1-2)
Time  (1st child finished – last child finished): 19 – 32 minutes

  • Make sure 2 holes are at the top before you print your name.
  • Ink from inkpads smeared on the slick surface of boomerang from the kit.
  • Younger children had trouble getting ribbon through the bells and the small holes in the boomerang. They also had trouble tying the knots.

Kids say:
“I’ll hang it on my doorknob.”
“Too many knots to tie.”

Boomerang Express Nameplate (Grades 3-4)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 14 – 26 minutes

  • Use self-adhesive foam letters and tiles.
  • Sort letters for the children to save time.
  • Make the mounting board a little smaller.
  • Use larger tiles to fill space more quickly.

Kids say:
“I’ll hang it on my wall.”
“Very Fun.”
“This craft was easy and I liked it a lot.”

Aussie Art Frame (All Ages) **Kid’s Favorite for Track 1**
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 11 – 14 minutes

  • Use spoon to apply sand.
  • Pencils worked better than daubers or glue dots.

Kids say:
“Be careful!”
“It makes a mess.”
“I’ll hang it in my room.”

Track 2
Praise Bells (Grades 1-2) **Kid’s Favorite for Track 2**
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 10 – 13 minutes

  • Ribbon should be wide enough for knots to hold, but narrow enough to fit through the bell and the hole in the pot.

Kids say:
“These are good for farmers.”
“Kids will need help with the knots and getting the ribbon through the holes.”
“This is hard.”

Worship Whirligigs (Grades 3-4)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 11 – 26 minutes

  • The children had a lot of trouble understanding the construction.
  • Substitute less expensive yarn and paper to reduce cost.

Kids say:
“It was a good one.”
“It was very frustrating!”
“This is hard.”
“The kids might have trouble with the knots.”

Cuppa Coasters (All Ages)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 11 – 16 minutes

  • Use a craft stick or stiff cardboard to squeegee the glue on the back of the CD.
  • Caution the children to start at the top and avoid touching the paint.

Kids say:
“I’ll give it to my Grandma.”
“This is one you should do.”
“This was easy and I liked it a lot.”

Track 3
ABC Sheep (Grades 1-2) **Tied for Kid’s Favorite for Track 3**
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 15 – 18 minutes

  • Push the marshmallow all the way up the ice pick to make the hole a little larger.

Kids say:
“Putting the arms and legs is hard.”
“I’ll give this to a friend who doesn’t know Christ.”
“The tail is not easy to put on.”

Shareable Wearables (Grades 3-4) **Tied for Kid’s Favorite for Track 3**
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 5 minutes

  • Ask children to bring shirts from home or substitute bandannas
  • Spray fabric paint didn’t work well.
  • Substitute regular spray paint.
  • Use dimensional fabric paint to make “A, B, C” then decorate with dots of paint.

Kids say:
“It’s messy.”

Mini-rang Game (All Ages Craft)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 3 – 4 minutes

  • Probably too short to stand alone, inexpensive and quick enough to use as an extra craft.
  • Make the whole room the target buy designating each quadrant A, B, etc.

Kids say:
“It’s easy.”
“Ill use it to play the game and share Christ.”
“You need sharp scissors.”

Track 4
Outback Place Mats (Grades 1-2)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 10 – 24 minutes

  • Pattern will have to be altered to fit the buttons according to the directions.
  • Marker rubs off the pad.
  • Substitute fun foam for the shelving pad.

Kids say:
“I’ll use it to eat on.”
“You use a lot of glue.”

Service Plate (Grades 3-4)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 14 – 21 minutes

  • Use plastic plates.
  • Placing a second plate under the first will hold your pattern in place.
  • Use permanent markers instead of paint pens.

Kids say:
“Don’t let the kids glob it on or it will smear.”
“It is fun.”
“I’ll give it to my Mom.”

Sheep Station Service Board (All Ages) **Kid’s Favorite for Track 4**

Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 8 – 15 minutes

  • We did not find the shapes and sizes suggested, but substituted 2½ X 31/2 wooden rectangles and teardrops from bags of assorted shapes.
  • Glue the ears to the face, then both to the board for a more dimensional look.

Kids say:
“It will remind me to do stuff.”

Track 5
Didgeridoo (Grades 1-2)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 8 – 11 minutes

  • Self-adhesive circles did not stick well.
  • Limit the amount of tape- children covered too much.
  • Use bingo daubers in place of paint daubers.

Kids said:
“Don’t let the children use too much tape.”
“I liked this craft a lot, but thought it was kind of hard.”
“I’ll use it to make music.”

Outback Plant Marker (Grades 3-4)
Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 2 – 4 minutes

  • Use for an extra craft.
  • Foam shapes would cut down on preparation time.

Kids said:
“I’ll give it to my Grandma.”
“I’ll put it in a plant.”
“Too easy.”

Memory Mirror (All Ages) **Kid’s Favorite for Track 5**

Time (1st child finished – last child finished): 5 – 15 minutes

  • Use a bigger square to allow more room for writing the verse.
  • Thicker yarn would be easier to glue.

Kids said:
“You can use it to memorize the verse.”
“Make sure the kids are careful with their string.”

56 Tips for VBS Prayer Support

  1. Ask the senior adults who are not teaching to pray.
  2. Take 5 minutes before VBS starts and have a prayer circle together for the teachers.
  3. We assign a prayer team months before VBS. They pray way before and after the event. They even pray for next year’s VBS.
  4. Give prayer calendars to the congregation.
  5. Put a child’s name on a wristband and distribute to members. They pray for that child before, during and after VBS.
  6. Assign each Sunday School class in our church to a specific area of VBS to pray for.
  7. Purchase the rubber bracelets from LifeWay and write the committed workers name on inside with a marker. Distribute at the end of a service. Ask to pray for that person. On the last day, have the person tell the person they’ve been praying for them each day for one month.
  8. Use magnets to reminder church members to pray for VBS.
  9. Be sure to share out loud your needs for VBS. Have a VBS prayer team leader.
  10. Text messages to prayer chain.
  11. Place name on theme appropriate clip art so church members will pray for them.
  12. Distribute small prayer reminders, such as boomerangs, etc.
  13. Ask the older ladies of the church that are no longer able to assist or attend VBS to pray for specific things before, during and after VBS.
  14. Provide a list of all VBS workers a few weeks in advance. Lead a prayer walk through VBS rooms with the Wednesday night prayer group. These groups are usually filled with senior adult prayer warriors.
  15. Provide prayer partners for teachers as soon as a teacher is assigned.
  16. Enlist a prayer chairman to lead the prayer support team.
  17. Invite your prayer club or group to pray for each day of VBS.
  18. Have prayer teams that either pray at home during VBS or some and pray over each room before VBS starts, usually the day before.
  19. Enlist nursing home and shut-in members as prayer warriors. Send them regular updates.
  20. Do a prayer walk on Sunday evening before VBS begins. We invite all members to come. Them we close with a covered dish dinner.
  21. Give the prayer team specific requests.
  22. Provide VBS bookmarks with prayer needs.
  23. Assign a prayer partner with a specific registered child.
  24. Produce prayer pennants and hang them in the church. (i.e. – Kelly is praying for Jack.)
  25. Encourage GA leader to take GA girls to prayer walk all the rooms used in VBS.
  26. Request the WMU ladies prayer walk the rooms.
  27. Have a “Prayer –A-Roo”. Use the inflatable kangaroo and have the congregation sign the “Roo” as a commitment to pray for VBS.
  28. Send an e-mail devotion each day to encourage workers.
  29. Provide a prayer box for daily VBS prayer requests.
  30. Have prayer buddies. Give an adult a name on one child and pray for everyday. Place on a “fish” with a magnet on they can put it on their Bible.
  31. Have a 24-hour all-church prayer vigil a week or two before VBS.
  32. Have the pastor challenge the congregation to pray and then pass our commitment cards.
  33. Put our teacher’s names and needs, etc. in our prayer room.
  34. Place the VBS Prayer Guide from the Administrative Guide in each Sunday School room a few weeks prior to VBS.
  35. We collected everyone’s wristwatch in offering plate at the start of the service. Volunteers placed a small dot on certain time on the watch face. Everyday, at that time, the watch owner prays for VBS.
  36. The day we decorate, we set up a prayer schedule. People in our church come and pray for all of VBS. We begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. Someone is praying for 15 minutes at a time for VBS.
  37. Our prayer walk team meets early and often. They pray for EVERY area of the facility: buses, bathrooms, etc. are prayed in and over.
  38. A couple of Sundays before VBS, place a basket in the church foyer with the names of individual children printed on a piece of paper that are laminated and with a magnet on the back. Church members are asked to place the magnets on their refrigerator to remind them to pray for that one child every day.
  39. Use facebook invitation for others to join in prayer support.
  40. This year, our prayer walk will be called the “Walk-a-bout”, and done by our WMU.
  41. Place a reminder note in the church bulletin asking members to pray daily for VBS children and workers.
  42. During the National Day of Prayer, place the name of each person on a them related cut-out and pass our during the morning service for prayer warriors to pray for that individual.
  43. After a Sunday service, distribute boomerangs with the words: “Pray for VBS!”
  44. On your prayer lists, don’t forget to include: volunteer recruitment, safety and health of the children and the workers, a speedy and safe set-up, successful follow-up with prospects, youth and new volunteers.
  45. Invite your prayer warriors to your VBS meetings.
  46. Had members come to church at midnight the night before VBS started pray.
  47. Post the names of the teachers and children that will be in that Sunday School room for VBS for those class members to pray for.
  48. Make a prayer countdown calendar with specific things to pray for.
  49. Beginning in February, we start a prayer chain throughout the church using a themed item that the family keeps for a week. Every time they see the item – car, table, etc. they pray for VBS. The following Sunday, they pass the item to another family. The chain continues until VBS is over.
  50. Meet 20 minutes early before Wednesday night prayer service for four weeks leading in to pray: Week 1 – Workers; Week 2 – Parents; Week 3 – Students; and, Week 4 – Church/Community.
  51. Have prayer boxes set around the church and have a few prayer walkers to pray for requests in that box for that week.
  52. Provide prayer packets to prayer warriors that include: prayer calendar, lists of workers, specific needs, dates, etc.
  53. Include prayer bookmarks in the church bulletin that remind people to pray.
  54. We get 100 + people to pray for VBS daily for 30 prior to VBS date, during VBS and one week afterwards as we follow-up. Each is given a prayer guide and a reminder to pray daily.
  55. Early February we have a VBS kick-off and give out a bookmark to each church member. On the back of the bookmark is the name of every child, every VBS leader, class, rotation, or anything pertaining to VBS. The congregation takes their bookmark and prays not only for VBS as a whole, but for that specific item or person on the back.
  56. Pray for the sound system and air conditioning to work.

34 tips on VBS snacks

  1. Ask local restaurants for ice.
  2. Write a formal request letter to secure donations for snacks.
  3. Look into becoming a summer lunch program site during VBS.
  4. Provide dinner every evening before VBS for the workers. Have members volunteer to bring dishes.
  5. Serve snacks outside for less clean-up.
  6. Offer a separate hospitality room for adults workers.
  7. Offer a “hang out” room with snacks for youth volunteers.
  8. Offer alternative snacks to children with allergies and/or medical conditions.
  9. Serve general snacks that church members can donate.
  10. Sno-cones are inexpensive and kids love them. Put the ice in a cup, not a cone.
  11. Save the “pretty” snacks for training and/or Family Night.
  12. Provide ice pops. Inexpensive and cold on a hot summer day.
  13. Provide a sign-up supper for the staff every night for VBS.
  14. Have an “adopt a day” for Sunday School classes to provide snacks.
  15. Sometimes local pizza restaurants will provide free or discounted pizza for children on the last day or for teacher’s appreciation.
  16. Find out each worker’s favorite soft drink or beverage and have it for them at snack time each night.
  17. Ask for grocery store gift cards to purchase the snacks we need that are not provided through donations.
  18. Provide a quick dinner for leaders and their children before VBS begins each evening. It helps with the timing.
  19. Make a donation display to request snacks.
  20. Offer a meal for the non-church members who drop off their children and wait for them. Great ministry opportunity for fellowship and Adult VBS.
  21. Conduct a “Pastor Cookie Competition” by listing each Pastor’s favorite cookies. For 3 months, members bring in cookies and during VBS week we count the types of cookies. Whichever Pastor wins the competition, gets a pie in his face at the VBS rally! We have cookies for VBS and children’s event for the entire year.
  22. Advertise in church bulletins for the non-perishables needed for VBS week. Purchase the perishables.
  23. Ask church members to purchase restaurant gift cards.
  24. Get donations from local restaurants.
  25. Serve snacks that you know the kids will eat.
  26. Sponsor a “Snack Sunday” for VBS where members bring in donations.
  27. Purchase in bulk.
  28. Sponsor a “Staff Favorite Snack Contest”. Staff members have a “favorite snack” and the church members bring those items. The winning staffer gets a special prize at family night.
  29. Enrollment records help determine the amount of snacks to purchase.
  30. Use in-season local fruits. Sometimes we get the local farmers to donate.
  31. We have all day camp with VBS and have a kitchen team to help with meals.
  32. Purchase a sno-cone machine. It will pay for itself in the money you save buying other snacks.
  33. Provide daily attendance count to snack team before rotations start.
  34. Buy in bulk and re-bag for each child’s portion.