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

Foto Friday. . .Pranks!

Do you have a prankster in your office/church? You know who I’m talking about. . .someone who, when you least expect it, decides to rearrange your office, paste photos of your boss on all your framed pictures, hide your cell phone and then constantly call it, etc. Well, we have someone like that on the VBS team. . .me!

When we first decided to do a large inflatable, I was excited because it was a large item that could be used in the churches for decoration but mainly because I saw a real potential in the item (joke-wise). Our inflatable moose made it’s way around our floor at LifeWay. He would pop up in people’s doorways, hang out in office’s. . .he once was sitting on the photocopier!

Here are some photos that I wanted to share! Enjoy!

Here’s the moose visiting an office. Notice the little M&M’s on the floor!
Melita and Keith welcoming a new employee. . .with a tape body on the ground!
What do you do with several old packages of balloons? Inflate them and place them in someone’s office!
Melita and Keith having a pig roast with Candace’s stuffed pig!
The kangaroo at the ATM.
Melita hiding in a box. . .she scared Landry, really good!
What happens to defective product samples!

This last prank was one of my favorites. MelitaGordon and I decided to welcome Candace back after being out of the office for 2 weeks. So we decided to paste Landry’s picture ALL over her office!

What are some of your favorite pranks you pulled?

Foto Friday. . .the many faces of Keith

Hi, I’m Keith! The “seemingly quiet and introspective” (Ah ha ha ! ! !) graphic designer of VBS. My first post will be to introduce the “unofficial” foto Friday! Here are some behind-the-scenes photos from VBSI/EXPO/Preview from the past 3 years. Enjoy the photos!







See a pattern? heh heh! !


I got an idea!


I can fly! ! !


A kangaroo’s work is never done!


Get-a-along, little doggie!



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!!

Facts & Trends announces the 2009 VBS Photo Contest

Hey guys – here’s some information on the VBS 2009 Photo Contest!!!!

Boomerang Express and Club VBS: Truth Trek photos welcome!!

Facts & Trends Online (FTO) staff is once again inviting churches and individuals to submit photos for the annual Vacation Bible School Photo Contest. This year, all submissions will be archived at the LifeWay News page on Facebook, a social networking Web site.

Submissions of Boomerang Express and Club VBS: Truth Trek photos will be organized into photo albums labeled with geographical regions, so users can easily view nationwide photos of contest submissions.

Participants can enter photos by sending an e-mail to The e-mail should include a photo title, the name of the church represented, the church’s address in addition to the submitter’s name, phone number and e-mail address. All entries must be received by Monday, Aug. 3, to be eligible.

Each participant can submit up to two photos that meet the following criteria:
- 300 dpi.
- JPEG format.
- Features at least one VBS participant (pictures of only landscapes or decorations will not be accepted).
- Features either the Boomerang Express or Club VBS: Truth Trek themes.

Beginning with the first entries in early June, the photo albums at the LifeWay News page on Facebook will be updated every Tuesday and Thursday as needed to include the most recent photographs.

Facebook fans of the LifeWay News page are invited to comment on and “tag” the photos. FTO staff reserves the right to edit or delete any comments or tags. Fans will also receive a reminder to help choose the winning entry at the contest’s conclusion.
After Aug. 3, staff will narrow submissions to the top 10 entries and post those entries at for a public vote from Aug. 5-14. FTO staff, along with representatives from LifeWay’s VBS area, will name the Grand Prize winner on Monday, Aug. 24.

The winning photo will be featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Facts & Trends magazine and the church represented will receive a 2010 VBS Super Sampler Kit compliments of LifeWay’s VBS area.

Please note: Because photos will be posted online, users who submit photos must notify parents or legal guardians of minors photographed to ensure consent before submitting entries.

Visit or the LifeWay News page on Facebook to stay up-to-date on the contest. Contest entries and questions can be submitted to facts&

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.