Old Blue – Taking VBS to the World!

Please meet Old Blue. He may look like a used up old trunk to you but he has served as a faithful and trusted LifeWay Christian Resources, Wichita-Archer-Clay Baptist Association, Camp Reach Vacation Bible School and Reach English Camp friend.

During the winter of 2011 Old Blue carried a heavy load of both Big Apple and Beach Blast materials from Sea to Shining Sea and from Music City to Cow Town. He even got lost during the Ice Storm of the century but thankfully found his way home. He had a hard time telling the nice man in brown that Wichita, Kansas was not the same as Wichita Falls, Texas!!

Just when he thought it was time to rest he was then called upon to obtain a passport and navigate his way across the Pacific Ocean to South Korea. He was loaded down with materials and supplies that were donated by the great churches here in Wichita-Archer-Clay and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Old Blue served bravely and unselfishly in the amazing city of Seoul at Kangnam Central Baptist Church. He carried not only the life saving gospel messages found in the Big Apple Adventure but also ESL materials used at Reach English Camp. American teachers and lay leaders from Texas, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee were able to share hands-on the lessons of how Faith, Life and Language can connect. Because of the connection 24 children said they wanted to know more about Jesus Christ.

After 20 busy days in Seoul he was then loaded on a bus by his new Korean guardian Hyejung “P.J.” Yun to share his valuable life changing contents with churches in the southern Korean provinces. Children all throughout South Korea can now be seen wearing green foam Statue of Liberty crowns, finding their way in the dark with Big Apple taxi flashlights and rapping “Why Don’t You”!!

Oh, but wait, he was not finished – he was called upon one last time to pass through airport security to enter the country of Cambodia! Old Blue had the honor of not only taking the message of Christ to the children of Cambodia through the avenue of Vacation Bible School he also was given the responsibility of carrying life saving medical and dental supplies for the Medical Mission teams from Kangnam. He was a long way from North Central Texas but the contents he carried had been prayed over and prepared from the hearts and hands of Wichita-Archer-Clay churches.

Old Blue may look a little battered and weary, but like most of us who have traveled a few miles and back again for Vacation Bible School- we like Old Blue are ready to peel off the old tape, pack up or supplies, refresh our testimony and do it all over again!! New themes, new adventures, new friends, – but always sharing and carrying the same life saving and life changing story – Jesus.

I challenge you to be praying about your part of Vacation Bible School 2012. Like Old Blue, where might it take you?

In His Sight,
Debbie Heck and Old Blue

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

It Ain't Over Til It's Over

Wait! Don’t pack away that inflatable Statue of Liberty or all those little yellow inflatable taxi cabs decorating your church.  Just because the teaching, singing, craft making fun of VBS is complete, doesn’t mean we’re done. There’s still lots left to do to connect all those prospects discovered during the week to an on going relationship with your church and our Savior and Lord. Remember that small little tag line that comes after Big Apple Adventure—Where Faith and Life Connect? Well, now is the time to help “connect” the biblical truths taught during VBS with real life! Following up with  those who visited during VBS is a vital part of successfully completing your VBS experience.

Check out Chapter 4 in the VBS 2011 Administrative Guide to find Follow-up Strategies and helps. Or check out some of these tips from previous posts here, here, and here.

What are some of your favorite Follow-up Strategies? We would love to hear them!

Foto Friday. . .random fun VBS photos!

Hi everyone! I love looking at everyone’s photos! It’s fun to see the excitement and joy in the faces of the kids and the teachers in VBS! Seeing the decorations, crazy poses, and funny pictures remind me of when I grew up in my church, attending VBS and then working VBS as a youth. So for today’s Foto Friday, I want to post some photos that I found on our Community and our Facebook page!

The relation of the size of the taxi and the 3 guys is cracking me up! ! !

Gotta love the custom Chuck Taylors! Very creative!

The title to this photo was “Crazy Hat” day. They look like they came from the royal wedding! :)

Love the Central Park Zoo entrance!

This photo is awesome! I love the different color “I heart VBS” t-shirts! ! !

Great puppet stage!

This photo is my favorite! It’s titled, “Hanging with Jesus”. Very creative! (notice the chalk is still at the top of the “S”)

Have a great weekend! ! !

Saturday Surprise. . .Times Square Ball revisited!

UPDATE: Hi everyone, Keith here! I wanted to repost this blog since churches are getting ready for their VBS’s! I do want to add a little something extra. I found this website dedicated to the “Sparkleball”. Supposedly, this is what they are called! I hadn’t realized when I first made mine. Oops!

Now, for the original post!

The Times Square Ball we made for the VBS Previews has taken on a life of it’s own. Originally, I wanted to create a “Times Square Ball” that we could use in the Preview events and “drop” (just like the real Times Square Ball) at the end of each day but little did I know that it was going to be a big decoration hit!

Here’s the story. The ball was not developed as we were creating the curriculum. . .that’s why it’s not in theDecorating Made Easy book. I kinda thought of it as we were driving to our first event in Ridgecrest. Carol (my editor) and I were talking about it. . .trying to figure out how to make it. When we arrived in Ridgecrest, a group of us ran to Wal-Mart for supplies. We picked up what we thought would work, including their last box of Christmas lights! An hour before EXPO was to open, we finally started to work on the ball. . . we really didn’t know if it would work or not but it did!

Here are the supplies that I used.

  • 50-100 count Christmas tree lights
  • 55 9oz. Solo clear plastic cups
  • glue gun
  • drill (I used a 3/16″ drill bit because that is the size my lights would fit in)

If you use LED lights, it should lessen the chance of melting. I actually poked the entire casing through the hole.

I wanted to do another Foto Friday today and show how to make the Time Square Ball with photos but I think it might be easier to do it with a video! Enjoy!


You can change this up by using white lights or lights that sparkle (which might look really cool!) or even add some taller plastic cups to the ball to add some depth to the ball.

Just remember to have fun!

Update: I’ve been asked how I would drop the ball.

Honestly, we ran out of time after it was created, to figure out how best to drop the ball! The Preview event was about to start. I was determined to “drop” the ball at that first event, even though I didn’t have the right materials to do it. It was a funny, funny sight. . .me on a ladder behind the Times Square set, trying not to fall off the ladder (don’t tell my boss!), and slowly lowering it by hand!

I’ve given some suggestions in the comments field but after thinking about it, I think I’ve figured out a solution. If you have a piece of PVC pipe (I used a 1 inch in diameter piece), inserted that through the ball, in between the cups. (see photo).

Now, you should be able to pull the ball down using the extension cord. Or attach some fishing line to the ball and pull it down with that!

Here’s a bit of an extra for you. . .2 close-ups of  some of the VBS 2012 products!



Foto Friday. . .Decorating Missions Central

Earlier this week, a young lady posted on the VBS Facebook page a question about how to decorate for Missions Central. She was having a “major creativity block” (if it’s okay to quote her).

This Foto Friday, I decided to post the “Decorating Missions Central” video, in hopes that this will help her!

So, Kylie, here’s the video for the Decorating Missions Central!

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/17602693]

We do have a few areas on our VBS Community pages where you can post your ideas. The Idea Bank is a great resources. . .check it out!  We also have an area on the Communtiy where you can load your own Missions photos or look at the photos that have been posted.

I do want to give a shout-out to one of the people who commented to Kylie’s post. Katrina said, “You could also think of doing your missions room as Times Square.” I love that idea!

Thanks everyone!

Found It on the Forum

Need Big Apple or Beach Blast clip art, e-cards, additional  snack or craft ideas? You can find all that and more on the VBS Forum.

Who knew everything you need is available with the click of a mouse? As I was scrolling through the VBS Web site a few days ago, I realized what a wealth of information is out there waiting to be discovered!

There is something for everyone involved in VBS, from the director to the Worship Rally leader. Here are just a few examples of what you can discover on the forum:

Decorating Ideas 

Teacher Appreciation Tips

Worship Rally Drama Skits

Puppet Skits

VBS 2011 Helpful Facts

Teacher Devotions

So as you can tell, there really is something for everyone. Head on over to the VBS Forum and check it out. Let us know what you find!

Help! I Need Volunteers!

If you had to pick, what would go on the top of  your VBS checklist as a director? I would say that recruiting volunteers would be at the top of mine. Anybody who has ever worked at VBS knows that it is impossible to pull it off without people who are willing to give their time and volunteer! We need people who are willing to teach, make crafts, help with registration, organize the classes, and so forth. So, how do you get people to volunteer?

  • Pray. Prayer is so important. Ask God to help you to find the right people to volunteer for the positions you need, and for you to recognize those people.
  •  Ask People Personally. Making announcements is a great way to let people know the need for volunteers, but it is also important to take the time to ask people personally. Some people may think the announcement is for everyone but them, so personally seeking them out helps them know that you really value them and want their help.
  • Recruit in Pairs. Some people may be new to VBS or may not feel confident in teaching, so recruit them and a friend. This gives you two volunteers and helps them be able to work with someone they know.
  • Provide a Job Description. People want to know what they are volunteering for, so make sure that you are able to provide a true job description so that they know what they are getting into!
  • Provide Training and Resources. Volunteers need to feel confident. Therefore it is important to let them know that training will be provided and that you will make sure that they will have all the resources they need.
  • Be Organized. Nothing can frustrate someone more than volunteering to help and then finding that the leader is unorganized and cannot tell them what needs to be done.
  • Show Appreciation. Many people are taking time off from work or giving up something else to help in VBS. Let them know that you appreciate them and all their hard work.

All God's Creatures Great and Small

One of the most memorable aspects of VBS 2011 has been the opportunity to meet and hang out with Missouri native Andrew Mann and his co-worker, Proof the Missionary Dog.
Who are they you ask?
Well let me introduce you.
Andrew is a missionary to the Bronx section of New York City where he and Proof, a registered canine assistance dog, minister to children and families at Graffiti 2. Their story is featured in both the preschool and grades 1- 6 missions rotation resources for LifeWay’s Big Apple Adventure. It is a fantastic story of how God can use all of His creatures, both great and small to connect people back to Him.
In January I had the opportunity to visit with Andrew and Proof at the Ridgecrest, North Carolina VBS Preview and learn more of their amazing story. Enjoy!

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/19700951 w=500&h=281]


To learn more about Andrew, Proof, and Graffiti 2 ministries go to graffiti2ministries.org

-the vbsguy

Live It Out!

I LOVE teaching kindergartners in VBS (and Sunday School, too)! It’s fun adding new children during VBS to the ones I get to teach every week. The year we did Boomerang Express my room was filled not only with the “regulars” I see every Sunday, but with grandchildren, neighborhood friends, cousins, and even a number of children from a nearby day home for low-income families. Kemya came to my room from that latter group. She had a hard time connecting with the other children and teachers. Some of the children were even afraid of her. She was just one of those “hard to love” kids.

One day during Rec I saw Kemya sitting off to the side while the group played a game. I watched as Blair (one of my Sunday School “regulars”) walked over and sat with Kemya. Though I couldn’t hear what they said, they both returned to the group holding hands. An incredible change came over Kemya from that moment on. She had a new friend and a new perspective. Blair had taken what she knew about Jesus’ love and put it into action. She showed us all how to love one another.

Does faith have any place in the real world or is it just for Sunday mornings? Does your faith impact your life? Does it impact those around you? The answer is so simple that even a preschooler gets it. Blair did it without questioning… without even thinking. She just naturally connected faith and real life.

I thought about that memory often during the production of Big Apple Adventure: Where Faith and Life Connect. You know, the Bible has a lot to say about the role of faith in real life. James puts it this way: “I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). John said we are to show Christ’s love to others “because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And Paul summed it up saying: “so faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ” (Romans 10:17).

So the question is, have you connected with Jesus in a way that has changed your life? Will you reach out and help others connect with Him, too?  That’s what you get a chance to do through VBS this summer. In fact, we’ll be praying for you! So get out there and start spreadin’ the News!