From the Archives: 10 Tips for a Successful VBS Celebration

20140114-075705.jpgSome of my best inspiration comes from combing through archives. If you have ever watched the reality show American Pickers (I am particularly fond of it since I can look out of my office window and see their Nashville store) you know great value can be found in piles of trash and tattered boxes. Recently I was searching through my recycle box and came across these pearls of wisdom from a VBS training plan.

10 Tips for a Successful VBS Celebration (Family Night)

1. Have a purpose.

2. Remember that all families do not look alike.

3. Avoid conflicts with school and church calendars.

4. Communicate date and time early so families have time to put it on their calendars.

5. Promote, promote, promote…early and often!

6. Have a plan A and a plan B.

7. Don’t wait until the last minute for anything.

8. Confirm, confirm, confirm.

9. Don’t assume anything!

10. Don’t do it by yourself.

 

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources begin publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Drs. Marion Frost and Homer Grice.

From the Archives: Checklist for Conducting a Mission VBS

20140114-075705.jpgMillions of kids and families would never hear the Gospel proclaimed if it were not for dedicated VBS workers who take the Great Commission to heart and go beyond the comfort zone of their own churches and communities to conduct VBS.

The founder of LifeWay’s VBS in 1924, Dr. Homer Grice, and his wife Ethel, were true VBS Missionaries. They travelled extensively from Nashville to the mountain region of east Tennessee and West Virginia to conduct VBS. They so believed in the impact of mission VBS they left a portion of their estate in a trust fund to provide VBS resources to churches conducting VBS in impoverished communities.

Today Dr. Grice’ legacy lives on in a wonderful resource called Backyard Kids Club that is perfect for taking VBS on the road and on mission. The following checklist was created for a 2006 to assist churches taking VBS on mission.

1. Survey and evaluate needs.

2. Determine which needs you and your group can potentially meet.

3. Design a project proposal.

4. Secure the support of your pastor and church.

5. Conduct a pre-project visit.

6. Work with host church/individuals to:

  • Determine dates, times and locations
  • Determine rules/regulations for facility use
  • Determine who will be responsible for promoting the event
  • Determine who will provide follow up (continued connections) and assimilation support
  • Determine who will provide resources/supplies/teaching materials
  • Determine who will secure permission and permits

7. Plan and schedule the project.

8. Enlist and train the team.

9. Double-check details.

10. Conduct the project.

11. Leave facilities in better condition than they were found.

12. Make follow-up (continued connections) actions.

 

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources begin publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Drs. Marion Frost and Homer Grice.

Involving Teenagers as Leaders in VBS

20140114-075705.jpgMy first VBS “worker” assignment was at the ripe old age of 12. My aunt was the teacher of the five-year-old class and she desperately needed a helper. We conducted VBS in the morning, ate a sandwich, and then spent the afternoon getting ready for the next day. We had 10 kids in an 80-square-foot room. For me the week was a huge lesson in flexibility!

While using teenagers – or in my case a pre-teenager – is not ideal for multiple reasons, mature teenagers can be the solution to a worker shortage, plus the week is an excellent opportunity for teens to begin serving and exploring their gifts and interest. Following are six tips to involving teenagers as leaders in VBS .

 

1. Training is of utmost importance. Failure to train results in frustration for teenagers and adult workers alike.

2. Training begins with the enlistment process. Establish expectations and accountability early and clearly.

3. Make sure teens are looked upon as full members of the team. If teens are mature enough to be enlisted for the team they are mature enough to be treated and respected as a member of the team.

4. Teens are more likely to become discipline problems when they are not given meaningful ministry tasks and the opportunity to contribute to the team.

5. Adult members of the team should assume a mentoring mentality as they work along side the teen leader, respecting the teen’s ability to make decisions with some guidance.

6. Give teens opportunities to grow and stretch in their abilities. With a little discretion on the adult leader’s part, teens should be allowed to experience what are sometimes seen as “adult” roles.

Jerry Wooley, @vbsguy, serves on LifeWay’s VBS Team as a Ministry Specialist responsible for training and events.

Put Your VBS T-shirts to Work for You

20140114-075705.jpgI love being in an airport or store and seeing a VBS t-shirt from years gone by. I have great memories that are uniquely attached to each theme, and seeing a shirt makes those memories come alive. But more important than the memories created by a VBS     shirt is the awareness and promotion value they can create. Churches often distribute shirts on the first day of VBS or at the conclusion of the week, but what if they were distributed prior to the week and intentionally used for promotion? They become moving billboards – especially when worn in mass.

Here are a few ways to put your VBS t-shirts to work for you.

  • Schedule a “Wear Your VBS Shirt to Church Sunday.” Not only will the shirts draw attention to your VBS but they can be used as a way to identify, recognize and honor workers.
  • Schedule a flash mob to appear at a shopping center, mall or park. Be sure to have VBS info ready to distribute.
  • Have everyone wear their shirts to a community parade or fair (July 4th). If a parade is not planned, create a neighborhood walk, bike and trike parade to create awareness and distribute information.
  • Ask kids and parents to wear their shirts on the last day of school. (Be sure to get approval in advance
We would like to hear how you use shirts to promote your VBS. Hope to hear from you soon!
Following Jerry on Twitter @vbsguy for more tips and ideas.

Make Your VBS Week Enjoyable

20140114-075705.jpgWhile those of us who consider ourselves VBS Groupies – and that most likely includes you – can’t imagine more fun than VBS, we have to admit the week can be stressful. I have discovered there are ways to reduce the stress and insure the week is more enjoyable.

 

1. Plan lessons and gather supplies in advance.
2. Create simple menus, shop, and prepare meals and snacks as much as possible in advance.
3. Pick out clothes for you and the kids the night before. Creating a theme-related uniform and wearing it every day makes the “what to wear” decision a breeze.
4. Don’t over schedule other activities during the week. Build in time for physical rest for both you and the family.
5. Don’t allow yourself or those around you to grumble and complain if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned.
6. Above all, laugh often! Find humor in situations that would normally cause stress.
We would love to hear how you make your VBS week more enjoyable.
For more tips follow Jerry, @vbsguy, on Twitter.

 

From the Archives: Worker Enlistment Ideas

One of the biggest challenges of VBS continues to be worker enlistment. Here are some ideas I recently rediscovered from a VBS 2005 (Ramblin’ Road Trip) training plan.

1. Enlist last year’s workers first and ask them to enlist helpers.

20140114-075705.jpg2. Share enlistment responsibility with as many people as possible.

3. Ask for a volunteer for a specific job, don’t just ask for
workers.

4. Find a job for everyone willing to work.

5. Give workers ownership and decision-making responsibilities for their areas of ministry.

6. Set high expectations and establish lines of accountability.

7. Help workers find value in their service by seeing how they job contributes to the overall success of the week.

8. Encourage workers by providing adequate training and needed resources.

9. Happy workers this year will make next year’s enlistment easier.

10. Cheer and appreciate every worker at every opportunity.

 

Celebrating 90: LifeWay Christian Resources begin publishing VBS resources in 1925 under the leadership of Drs. Marion Frost and Homer Grice.

We’re Takin’ It Home with VBS 2015

20140114-075705.jpgFor VBS 2014 we introduced the Takin’ It Home CD as a way to connect with parents and allow them an insider’s view of what took place during the VBS day. The response was been terrific, and I am excited to announce the Takin’ Home CD will be part of VBS 2015 as well.

Takin’ It Home extends the VBS experience and fun to the ride home! Kids, parents, and everyone in the car gets involved in reviewing the activities of the day and sharing with each other.

We believe this resource is so important and transformational that we are giving it to you for free! Yep, you read it correctly. FREE!

One copy of Takin’ It Home will be in the Jump Start Kit being released in October as well as online for free download. We want you to take this free resource and make as many copies as you want, or at least one copy for family. Distribute Takin’ It Home as kids are leaving the first day and encourage them and their parents to listen to the daily segments on their way home.

For kids, Takin’ It Home not only serves as a review of the day, but takes them deeper into the Bible study through personal application and family discussion. For parents, Takin’ It Home not only gives them an inside view of what their kids experienced at VBS, but makes the study personal for them as well. Not only will parents learn about the daily Bible content of VBS, they will be introduced to the Gospel and encouraged to begin their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Takin’ It Home is designed to start conversations, and the conversation begins with what the kids learned during a session of VBS.

Audio files for Takin’ It Home 2014 can still be downloaded at lifeway.com/vbs. Click on “About” to learn more.

 

 

The Journey of a Lifetime

LifeWay’s Journey Off the Map VBS will truly be the journey of a lifetime! Each location is filled with dramatic sights and amazing color. We have combed the Globe in search of God’s most amazing creations and have found some extremely unique plants and rock formations which have been incorporated into the theme to create the most amazing rotation sites ever. Plus, what kid would love the adventure of living and learning in a treehouse? Here is a quick peek at what you will discover on this journey of a lifetime.

Tangled Branch Tree House (Bible Study)

 VBS15_ThemePoster_Treehouse

Shady Grove (Crafts)

 VBS15_Theme_Grove_2

Boulder Bridge (Missions)

VBS15_Theme_Poster_Bridge

Rushing Waters (Music)

 VBS15_ThemePoster_RushingWaters

Rappelling Ravine (Recreation)

 VBS15_Theme_Ravine_Poster

Survival Springs (Snacks)

VBS15_POSTER_Survival_Springs

 

 

The Journey to VBS 2015 Begins!

Journey Off The Map™

GIG Visual pg master

 

Set out on a journey to uncharted territory where kids will encounter the unexpected waiting around every bend. Imagine discovering new plants, flowers, or trees and seeing amazing scenery from brand new vantage points. What excitement! Sounds beautiful, right?

 

In 2015 God has led us to take our content outline a little “off the map.” We jump in with both feet on Day 1 by introducing Jesus as our ultimate Guide and sharing how to have a personal relationship with Him. On Days 2–4 kids will explore stories from the Book of Daniel. These Bible stories show how Daniel and his friends followed God as their Guide. Kids can discover from these examples how to follow Jesus as their Guide. On Day 5 kids will learn that, even though the journey may be unknown to us, it is known to Him. The vision God gave Daniel and the promises Jesus made to His disciples give all of us hope for now and forever.

 

Just as Daniel and his friends stepped into uncharted territory and found that God still had a plan, kids can begin to understand that obedience to God does not always lead to the expected. The journey of a lifetime begins with an exciting relationship with Jesus that continues into eternity. Whenever faced with the unexpected, kids can know to listen for God’s command: “This is the way. Walk in it.”

 

Bible Content Point of the Week

God is faithful. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, he walks with us along the journey of becoming more like Him. God’s story of redemption includes the promise of eternity with Him. Our faithfulness to God is important to insure that the relationship grows as we journey with Him.

Day 1 Know Your Guide

Jesus’ birth was announced and angels declared that He is the Messiah. Jesus spent time teaching and healing people. He died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day He arose. Jesus is our ultimate Guide. (Galatians 4:4–5; Luke 2:8–11; Matthew 4:23–25; 1 Corinthians 15:3–5)

 

Day 2 Follow Your Guide

Daniel and his friends were among the Jewish captives chosen to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. The food provided for the friends broke the laws God had given the Jewish people. Instead of breaking God’s laws, Daniel chose to follow his Guide and requested permission to be given vegetables and water instead. (Daniel 1)

 

Day 3 Trust Your Guide

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow and worship the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had built. As a result the three friends were thrown into a fiery furnace. They trusted God whether He chose to save them or allowed them to perish. God protected the three friends in the fire and they emerged unharmed. (Daniel 3)

 

Day 4 Stay On Track

Daniel consistently did what was right and kept his focus on God. Even when the king signed an edict that made it illegal to pray to anyone but the king, Daniel continued to pray openly to God. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den for refusing to pray to the king. God closed the lions’ mouths and rescued Daniel from the lions. (Daniel 6)

 

Day 5 Keep Watching

Daniel received a vision of things to come. Jesus also told His disciples about things to come. God tells believers to keep watching for Jesus’ return and to obey His Word. (Daniel 10:7–12; 12:13; John 14:1–4; Revelation 22:7)

 

Up next: The Journey of a Lifetime

Relieving Stress in the Midst of VBS Chaos

20140114-075705.jpgWhile I believe there is no week of the church year more exciting than VBS, the truth is, for many VBS workers it is often the most stressful week of the year. Stop stress from raining on your VBS week by placing your plans and actions under the umbrella of these six truths:

1. God is already at work and has invited you to join Him. God has great plans for the week and if you are not careful your attitude, plans and actions will get in the way. VBS is not your work. It belongs to God and you have been graciously invited along for the ride.

2. God is in control, not you. When the activities of VBS become stressful and overwhelming it is time to check your attitude to see who you have decided is in control. If it is you, then watch out!

3. God has not asked you to do anything He has not already equipped you to do. God knew the minutes and seconds of the week long before He invited you to join Him. He knew the skills and strength that would be needed and He has already empowered (Philippians 4:13) you to carry out His plan.

4. Perfection is not required, just your best. If God had expected perfection He would have never enlisted a mere human for the job. While it is important to strive for perfection it is important to accept that it can never be achieved this side of Heaven.

5. You are not in it alone. VBS is not a one-woman, one-man, or even a one-church ministry. It requires a team! Even though you might be leading the team you are not in it alone. Learn to rely on the team even if it means things might not get done exactly as you personally would do them.

6. There are more people willing to help than you might imagine. Many church members who never work in VBS do so because they have never been specifically asked. One of the beauties of church life is community, and communities tend to respond to needs. Make your needs known and don’t be afraid to ask.

Jerry Wooley, @vbsguy, has served as LifeWay’s VBS Ministry Specialist since 2006.