Random Tip 1403 – A Job For Everyone

wooley1 2013Although it is typically the least effective, the most common way to enlist workers is to place an announcement in the church bulletin or make a passionate plea from the pulpit.

While this type of enlistment will result in a few volunteers, it is often the volunteers who say, “I’m happy to help but I can’t teach and don’t want to be in a classroom with kids.”

So now you have a dilemma. You just made an “all-hands-0n-deck” plea, but you don’t know what to do with people who made the above statement.

Before you ask for volunteers, make a list of all the possible ways someone could make a director’s life easier both before and during the week of VBS. Keep the list with you at all time and be ready (AND WILLING) to delegate a project the moment someone even hints at volunteering.

A few of the things on my personal list would be:

  • Decorating the common areas such as foyer, halls, and registration area
  • Making copies both before and during the week of VBS
  • Being available to make the daily last minute run to the store
  • Picking up trash and helping the facilities crew prepare rooms for the next day
  • Resetting the auditorium after worship rally
  • Parking lot security

Let me know what jobs you would add to the list.

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?

Photo5

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!

 

Guest Post: Apologetics in Agency D3

The following post is written by Dr. Shane Garrison. Dr. Garrison has served as assistant professor of Educational Ministries in the Campbellsville University School of Theology for the past five years. He additionally serves as president and lead consultant of Maple Trail Ministry Consultants.

I can’t wait for LifeWay’s VBS Agency D3 – Discover Decide Defend.  This year is going to be unlike any previous year in that we encourage our kids to take a hard look at the truths of the Bible and then learn how to defend what they believe in an ever-changing world.

The pattern and sequence is intentional.  We start by helping kids DISCOVER the truths of Scripture.  Then we ask them to DECIDE if they really believe what the Bible says about God, Jesus, and the way to be saved.  If so, then we help them DEFEND these truths in a world that is hostile, even angry, at such beliefs.  Discover Decide Defend makes perfect sense to me.

I can assure you as a parent of two elementary-age kids, the Christian worldview is under intense attack in our schools, communities, and country as our culture becomes far more religiously pluralistic and secular.  Anybody, including our kids, who takes a stand for biblical convictions and truth are seen as intolerant and out of line.  Our culture has determined we Christians can hold to our faith privately, but should never proclaim that faith publicly.

This is the world our kids live in and will continue to live in as they grow older.  So giving our children the tools to discover, decide, and defend their beliefs is vitally important.

It might be asked, however, “How is this VBS evangelistic?  How does Agency D3 share the Gospel of Jesus with unbelieving children and students?”

The answer lies in the power of apologetics.  Apologetics is simply defending the faith.  It is being able to stand for what you believe in and clearly explain how your faith is not built upon shifting sand, but on the rock solid Word of God.  We must be able to defend the reality of Jesus and his death on the cross as the only means of salvation.  “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

Apologetics is being able to say, “I believe this truth because…”  It is simply always being “ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15)  And our kids desperately need this – both believing children and unbelieving children.

For believing children, being able to discover decide defend will help them shore up any questions or doubts they might be facing.  It will provide for them a stronger foundation to stand upon.

For unbelieving children, we get the opportunity to teach them the essential truths of the Bible that will hopefully lead them to believe, not in some fairy tale, myth, or legend, but in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are showing (and hopefully proving) to these children that Jesus is real and He really died for their sin and if they really trust in Him, He will really save them.  Discover DECIDE Defend.

I believe apologetics is a powerful evangelistic tool.  One that has been in use by Christian pastors, teachers and leaders for more than 1000 years.

Random Tip 1402 – The Daily Sack

wooley1 2013My all-time favorite VBS organization tip is The Daily Sack – or The Daily Box. It requires a little pre-planning and preparation, but it is a sure cure for the daily stress and anxiety of trying to locate everything needed at the last minute.

The concept is almost too simple to mention, but I’m sure it will become one of your favorite all-time tips as well.

Step 1: Gather six large paper grocery bags or, especially with the theme Agency D3, six file boxes.

Step 2: Label bags/boxes with the day of each session. For example, the first sack would be labeled “Day 1″. Label the sixth bag/box “Daily Supplies”.

Step 3: Schedule time in one sitting to look over all five sessions of the leader guide. Make three lists of needed items for each session. One for items to gather from around your home or the church resource room. The second list for items that need to be purchased. And the third list for resources that need to be cut out or constructed. Remove resources from the leader pack and separate them by the sessions they are to be used. You should end up with six stacks: one for each day, plus one for items that will be used every day. Place each stack of resources in the appropriate sack or box.

Step 4: With the first two lists in hand, make a trip to the church resource room and store. Try to gather all supplies in one trip. Once you return home, separate the supplies into the appropriate sack or box.

Step 5: Set aside a time to complete all projects on the third list and place the items in the appropriate sack.

Step 6: On the day of VBS just grab your sack and go!

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.

 

AgencyD3_Logo-4color

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.

 

keyboard

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?

tyrrellAhh! I bet you thought I forgot our next assignment? Nope, I’m trying to keep you on  your toes! Here’s your next Foto Friday assignment.

photo-31

What do you think? Can you DISCOVER what it is? Can you DECIDE if it’s a VBS item or am I trying to throw you a curveball? Will you DEFEND your choice?

Give me your best, craziest, funniest responses!

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.

PHOTO-A

 

desk caddy

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!

jump start kit

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.