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

First Official Geek of the Week – Debbie Muller

I am so excited that I get to introduce one of my Illinois friends as the First Official VBS Geek of the WeekDebbie Muller works for the Illinois Baptist State Association in Springfield, Illinois and is a MEGA VBS FAN. She got our team’s attention at previews with her custom designed VBS jewelry. (Check out that subway token bling on her ears! Debbie is the one on the right.)

Debbie's VBS Bling!

Illinois hosts one of our earliest early bird conferences and Debbie volunteers every year to get things ready… in a BIG WAY!! Jerry Wooley often comes “back to the ranch” with tales about how they outdid themselves again this year. Here’s evidence of one of his IL trips! According to Debbie, this fully operational bull ride was given to one of the IL cowboy churches after Saddle Ridge Ranch was over. I guess VBS rides again!

Ride 'em, Jerry!

I asked Debbie some questions about her passion for VBS. Here’s part of our interview:

Me: What has been your “geekiest” VBS moment?

Debbie: For Arctic Edge we borrowed a moose head and hauled it all the way across town in the back of a pick-up truck. Oh, the looks we got!! We had to work to hang the thing with moving straps, then carefully suggest that folks might not want to stand under it… just in case!

(She also had great stories about big foam medical boxes she got for free, but covered up so much of the windshield, she could hardly see out. Or driving all over Illinois with a car filled with surfboards… think about that one for a minute and it’ll hit you! Or driving down the interstate with a Ramblin’ Road Trip travel trailer in the bed of her pickup truck! She had me laughing so hard I think I disturbed all my hallway office neighbors!)

Me: What is your favorite VBS theme to date?

Debbie: That’s hard because I like them all. But, I really like Ramblin’ Road Trip because I had actually been to all those places and had pictures and stories to share.

Me: What makes you continue to do VBS year after year?

Debbie: I just love it. It’s hard to explain – it’s like chocolate, you just gotta have it! I just have that much fun with it.

Me: How would you complete this sentence? You might be a VBS Geek if …

Debbie: You can sing ALL the VBS songs. My knees still hurt when I sing “Jehovah Jireh.” I don’t do rap, but I rapped John 3:16!

Love that VBS music!

Me: Will we see you at one of the VBS Previews?

Debbie: I’m bringing a van full to Nashville! I’m helping as a volunteer in Expo! Woo hoo!

Debbie (on the right) loves takin' it to the streets!!

Debbie’s enthusiasm was contagious as she talked about past VBS experiences and the “it’ll do everything but fly” airplane her husband is building for Amazing Wonders Aviation next year. But, what really impressed me the most was her true spirit of what VBS is all about – telling kids about Jesus. Debbie not only volunteers to help with state and local training of workers, but she works!! Debbie volunteers at 3 or 4 VBS’s every summer in addition to working in her own church’s VBS. Now THAT’S passion!

Thanks, Debbie, for all you do for the Kingdom! And for saying, “Yeh-yeh-yeh-yeh- yes! to Vuh-vuh-vuh-VBS!!”

Foto Friday. . .More Photos!

Let’s do some math! What do you get when you add Friday and Photos together? Here it is in equation format: Friday + Photos = Foto Friday! w00t!

This week, I was surfing our VBS Facebook page, looking at the photos and I came across several more that I really like!

So, here we go. . .!

Now this is just cute!

Wow! I love this painting! Great job!

Cool! Someone did my "Subway Tiles" from my Crafts set I built for the catalog!

Very creative for next year's VBS!

Carol! How many Diet Mt. Dew's did you drink today! ?! ! ?

Sorry, I HAD to post this photo of Carol! lol!

Is Rhonda "working"? LOL!

This is SUPER funny! Great Job!

Foto Friday. . .Volunteers! ! !

Volunteer. What does this word mean to you? Merriam Webster defines the word as “a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service”.

VBS volunteers are incredible! This last year at my VBS, I witnessed so many volunteers helping out in any way possible! Youth helping in the younger classes. . . adults teaching/decorating. . .senior adults teaching, counting pennies, serving snacks (even serving snacks to the volunteers!). . .even kids helping decorate!

A volunteer’s enthusiasm, energy and willingness is incredible! They are like a shot of adrenaline!

I’m not a trained theologian but I would imagine a VBS director’s verse might be:

Judges 5:2 When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, praise the Lord.

So, here’s to all the unsung heroes of VBS. . .the volunteers! Thank you! ! !


I like this photo. . .VBS present and looking forward to the future!

Make the Connection From VBS to Bible Drill

Got any Big Apple Curriculum laying around? Want to help your kids learn Bible verses in a fun way? If you answered yes to those questions then why not pull those leaders guides back out and find some ready made activites that you can adapt with any Bible verse.

Oh, what’s that? You already gave away your curriculum. No worries, Sue Harmon with the South Carolina Baptist Convention recently contacted us about an article on their site that connects activities from the Big Apple to use with Bible Drill. Check it out here.

As you can see,  there are lots of great ideas for adapting VBS teaching resources to be used with Bible Drill, Wednesday night fillers, or anytime you need a great way to reinforce Bible skills. Share with us how you have used VBS teaching materials at other times.

The Big Apple in the Mule Capital of the World!

Hey y’all, It was definitely a big city adventure last week! My church is located in Columbia, Tennessee—home of the Mule Day celebrations! Yep, it’s a city that celebrates its mules! (But, I’ll save those stories for another time!)

We had about 140 super-neat preschoolers and I got to teach missions! From teaching them about Proof and Andrew to learning about the Zoe Church in Sao Paulo to hearing about the Fusion kids in New Orleans, it was definitely all about the big city!

Entering Proof’s Dog House (and our room)!

Playing a game with our dog ears!

My favorite experiences?

1. Listening to kids’ laughter and hearing them chat with their friends about the fun things they were doing at VBS!

2. Hearing kids verbalize places and ways that they can tell others about Jesus. Missions begins at home, right?

3. Watching the kids bring in school supplies for kindergartners in Joplin, Missouri. By the end of the week, we had tons of scissors, crayons, glue, notebooks, and erasers! Hands-on missions helps preschoolers think beyond themselves and about others (a sometimes hard concept for young kids).

4. Working with some of the best preschool VBS teachers in the world! They created an atmosphere of love and acceptance that made it easy for kids to hear about Jesus and His incredible love for them.

5. Knowing that when it was all over, some important truths had been planted in the hearts and minds of the boys and girls.

I can’t wait for next year!


Foto Friday. . .Guest Video!

It’s (Foto) Friday,  (Foto) Friday. . .yesterday was Thursday, Thursday. . .today i-is (Foto) Friday, (Foto) Friday. Sorry, I couldn’t resist! :P

I had a video come through yesterday that I thought was pretty fun, so I decided to share it! It comes to us from Salem Baptist Church. Again, I couldn’t get it posted into the blog site, but here’s a link to it.


Have a great weekend!


VBS By the Numbers

We wanted to share some of our favorite VBS “numbers” with you.

4–  The number of Diet Mt. Dews it takes to get through a week of editing Preteen Bible Study materials.

5(and counting)–  The number of computers, cell phones, keyboards and other electronic devices Rhonda has gone through since joining the VBS team.

101–  The number of times a day Keith checks to see how many blog views his post are beating my post by.

2– The number of years we usually work ahead on a VBS theme. (We never put the right year on our checks. ha ha)

55– The number of times Gordon has assigned another team member to write a blog post.

All kidding aside, the work God does through VBS is amazing! Check out these stats we just received from last year’s VBS reports.

24,445– The number of churches who reported their VBS.

2,757,976- The total number of enrollment reported.

82,371- Professions of Faith

2,647- Decisions for Vocation Ministry

243,602- The number of prospects discovered.

So as you can see VBS can have a huge impact for your church and for the Kingdom. What are some of your favorite VBS numbers?

When We Are Weak… He Is Strong!

Hey, this is Rhonda. My “day job” is serving as the Editorial Project Leader for VBS at LifeWay. But, in my “other life” I’m a pastor’s wife. God’s plan for our family for over 30 years has been ministering in small churches. (So when people ask if we consider the needs of small churches, my answer is a resounding, first-hand “Yes!”) 

I am happy to get to share our VBS story with you. A few weeks ago I didn’t know if there would be a story, but God knew what was coming!

We were cruising toward VBS time when the bottom seemed to drop out. With less than a month before VBS, two of our key VBS workers had major surgery, one other leader was put into the hospital, and the director came down with strep and mono! In the whirlwind that followed, God blessed in ways we couldn’t imagine. At less than a week before VBS, all the key teaching positions were filled, some by folks teaching a Bible study class for the first time. My “comfort zone” position has always been teaching one of the children’s Bible study classes, but I became fill-in director. And as God is so faithful to do when His children are willing and obedient, He blessed us over and over all through VBS.

In addition to helping direct, I also taught the preschool music rotation. It was a blast! They did great with “Good Things” and “Gonna Ask Jesus.” But the most requested was our “silly” time with “Stop and Go” (which they called Crazy Driver). I’m hoping all the videos never make it to face book. Apparently I really got into it!

I could write a whole blog about each person or teaching team who helped kids connect with the Good News about Jesus this week, but our recreation team were a prime example of how everyone at VBS is a Bible teacher. They first caught my eye during our church’s VBS training – big, burly guys huddled over a set of rec cards and talking about the daily Bible content cards first and ways to reinforce the daily Bible lesson.

During the week, these guys, who all work hard running their own businesses, arrived early and engaged the early arriving kids before time for the meal. (We started with supper every night instead of snacks.) As each group of kids arrived for their scheduled rec time, they were asked specific questions about their Bible story or Bible verse. They played the games with the older kids or the preschoolers. Their smiles, patience, and faithfulness were amazing examples of Godly men for the kids at our VBS.

I am thankful to God for our Rec crew, the Bible teachers who helped kids know how to become a Christian, the hard working kitchen crew who feed all of us all week, and those who taught in any capacity. But most of all, I am thankful to God. All of us at Rock Springs agreed, it was all God!

Oh, and for those who remember my post from a few weeks back, of course we ended the week with a little pool time!

She floats!