6 Additional Reasons to Attend VBS 2014 Preview

wooley1 2013Now that CyberMonday is behind us, and before the extreme crush of Christmas begins, we can take a moment to once again think about our favorite subject – VBS! Or better said, VBS Preview!

Chances are, if you are reading this post, you have already registered for Preview, but in case you are still debating here are six additional reasons why my friends think you should join the fun.

1. You will have the opportunity to win a VBS 2014 trivia contest. – Jerry Vogel

2. You will have the opportunity to meet me (Collin). – Collin Spindle

3. You might experience a Secret Service Mission act of kindness. – Carol Tomlinson

4. You will have a chance to get away with friends and laugh until your sides hurt. – Rhonda Van Cleave

5. You will receive fun free stuff. – Henry Dutton

6. You will get re-fueled and return home flying like Rocket Pack Jack! – Bill Emeott

 

Register today at lifeway.com/vbs/preview.

 

Why We Need to Train Our Kids to Defend Their Faith: A Dad’s Perspective

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We are excited to have Dr. Micah Carter join our blog today to tell us why he believes teaching kids to defend their faith is important. Micah is teaching pastor at Redemption City Church in Franklin, TN, and also serves as the HCSB Translation Spokesman for B&H Publishing Group. 

I have the joy of being the dad of two sons, a ten year old and a seven year old. Among the many things I’m passing along to them is a love for Ole Miss football (which is often a heart-breaking reality!).

A couple years ago my oldest son was ashamed to cheer for Ole Miss because they weren’t very good and lost more games than they won. When his peers would say something negative, he’d be quick to shove Ole Miss into the shadows and act like he wasn’t a fan at all.

My concern as a dad is that when pressure or questions or criticisms about why my son is a believer in Jesus arise, he’d be tempted to shove Him to the shadows as well – especially because he might not be confident about how to defend his faith or articulate a sound response.

Of course, the stakes are much greater for a child’s defense of his or her faith than rooting for a sports team. For this reason, it’s vitally important that we work hard to train our kids to defend their faith. Let me offer two major reasons why:

First, let’s train our kids to defend their faith because the gospel is for all. It’s likely that some children need to overcome certain barriers in order to follow Jesus. It could be that if our believing children demonstrate, and defend, their faith in Jesus with confidence, other children might be in a better position to trust Jesus for themselves, too, once those barriers are removed.

Peer pressure can work both ways, so maybe helping our kids dispel some of the negativity toward Christianity or following Jesus might actually lead to evangelistic opportunities among those with questions, doubts, or objections. Since the gospel is for all, including children, let’s train up our kids to be confident, compassionate ambassadors of God’s Son and His gospel.

Second, let’s train our kids to defend their faith because truth matters. Our kids are consistently given contrasting worldviews to weigh and evaluate, whether directly or indirectly. Through media, friends, church, and family, our kids are receiving a mixture of secular and religious claims about human identity/dignity, the existence of God, the exclusivity of salvation in Jesus alone, the nature and value of the Bible as God’s Word, and more.

God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). Are we equipping our kids well enough to understand and to present a coherent, consistent Christian worldview based on the truths we find in God’s Word? There’s no doubt that challenges will come, so let’s train up our kids in the truth, so that they have the tools and weapons needed for a confident, effective defense of their faith.

When Ole Miss got a new coach, recruited well, started winning some big games, no amount of criticism from his peers mattered to my son. He was now in a position to defend why he cheers for Ole Miss. I want to foster a similar confidence (but a stronger confidence) for my son to be in a position to defend why he loves Jesus and follows Him, because the gospel is for all and truth matters.

 

Random Tip 1405 – Missions and Snacks in One

wooley1 2013As I pointed out last Tuesday, churches that conduct VBS at night often find it difficult to get in a full three-hour schedule each night. As a result these churches have to make decisions concerning which aspects of VBS they will either delete or condense.

Given that the middle word of this time-honored ministry is Bible, I truly hope Bible study is not something you would choose to delete or shorten too severely. This means that one or more of the typical rotations (crafts, missions, music, recreation and snacks) must be restructured.

One option is to combine two rotations into one, and my favorite combination is missions and snacks. To make this combination work it is best to serve snacks that are either prepared in advance by the snack team or pre-packaged. Kid-step snacks (where ingredients are provided and kids are encouraged to create their own snack) typically requires too much time when snacks are combined with another activity.

It is best to have simple snacks ready for kids to pick up as they enter the room or have them arranged at each place setting before kids are seated. To minimize distractions and to insure everyone can easily see the videos, kids should be seated – either on the floor or at tables – in semicircles around the television or projection screen.

This combination creates a simple dinner theater that gives kids the opportunity to learn about missions and cultures while they enjoy their snack.

Did you know that each year, as a result of the VBS missions rotation, between 2,500 and 3,000 kids, teens, and adults respond to a call to vocational ministry? Missions and snacks – a winning combination!

D3: Discover, Decide, Defend

carol_editedMost of you reading this title for this blog post are probably thinking, “Wait a minute, where’s the Agency in D3?” No, I have not forgotten or even misprinted this title. D3 is the title for Student VBS in 2014. Yes, you read that correctly. LifeWay does have Student VBS curriculum, and in fact we have Adult VBS curriculum as well. That’s right, when we say we have you covered from birth to death, that includes VBS.  We not only want kids to know how to discover, decide, and defend their faith, we want to equip students and adults to do the same.

Students are pressured on all sides to accept what teachers, professors, peers, and sometimes even family tell them about Jesus. It’s time for them to discover the facts about who Jesus is, decide what they will do with the evidence they’ve gathered, and step out in faith to defend what they believe.

Student VBS can be held at the same time as your children’s VBS, as camp curriculum for Student Camp, Bible study for Sunday or Wednesday nights, or as a weekend retreat.

And if you are looking for a way to get Students excited about defending their faith, consider taking your students to see the movie God’s Not Dead that is releasing in the Spring of 2014. Watching the movie would be a great kickoff or follow-up to D3.

For those of you out there who already use Student VBS, we would love for you to share your advice, experiences, and ideas.

Foto Friday…What is It? Revealed!

tyrrellAfternoon Agents! It’s been a slow week on the comments. I’m thinking I might have actually stumped you!

Here’s a reminder of what the image was.

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Any ideas? Did I hear someone say duct tape? Yes, you are correct!

It’s our “Outlet Safe” craft from VBX!

outlet safe

Marooned Without a Compass Day

carol_editedWho knew that there is day for being marooned without a compass? I love that we can find reasons to celebrate/honor odd days. I mean, who thought, “I know! November 6th should be Marooned Without a Compass Day”? Was it someone who had recently been marooned and rescued? Was it someone who had just finished watching the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway? I’m not sure what the history behind the day is, but I thought it would be fun to poll the VBS team (in honor of Wilson, the volleyball) to see what VBS item they would want to have with them if they were marooned without a compass. I, of course, would take the VBS tablecloths. You can make a lean-to, rain poncho, sleeping bag, or any number of items.

So, in no certain order, here are the responses:

Keith— The giant inflatable to use as a raft.

Rhonda—Wanted to say the inflatable, but she changed to the tablecloths. And since it only said, “No compass,” She’s thinking her pack would have duct tape etc. She would put up a temporary shelter, use them to keep things waterproof, tote the food she would find when she’s foraging, and set a fine table for whomever wanders by.

Gordon—Decided to be all spiritual on us and said The New Testament of course! But he also gave props to Survivorman, Les Stroud for teaching him all he needs to know.

Bethany—Wanted to take the Rocket Pack Jack Stand-up, so she would have a friend. (Kind of like Wilson in Castaway.)

Mary—Opted for the Special Agent Watch, which she thought had a GPS function – thus allowing someone to find her. She was just going to enjoy the scenery until they arrived, but we hated to inform her it might be a long wait since the watch doesn’t have GPS. It does, however, have a cool laser light with which she could entertain small animals and a working watch so she could keep track of just how long she was marooned.

Candace—Settled on taking the balloons, so she could tie them to something and fly away. She has her movies confused – that would have been Up.

Melita—Of course Melita is the rebel on the team, she said she would take duct tape. Because even though it’s not an official VBS accessory, you can’t do VBS without it!

So there you have it. What VBS accessory would you take if you were marooned without a compass?

Agency D3 Worship Rally Live Stream

Friends, we have some exciting news.  You can be among the first to preview the all-new Agency D3 Worship Rally videos!  On Tuesday, November 12 at 1:00PM CST, we will live stream all of the videos for the 2014 Worship Rally.  Be sure to save the date, bookmark this page, and share your thoughts with us on Twitter using hashtag #AgencyD3 while you watch!

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Unpacking the Jump Start Kit!

The Agency D3 Jump Start Kit is now shipping! Want to know what all the fuss is about? You came to the right place. Today, we’re going to unpack the kit to show you everything that is included and why it is a must-have for VBS directors.

You’ll remember from this post that Starter Kits have now replaced samplers. The Jump Start Kit is designed to give VBS directors a jump start in planning, promoting, choosing dates, and enlisting volunteers.

The Agency D3 Jump Start Kit includes an Administrative Guide for Directors, a copy of Decorating Made Easy, Music for Kids CD, a sample of the Kids Evidence Kit for Grades 1-6, Special Agent Carabiner, Special Agent Rearview Sunglasses, Catalog, Jump Start Poster, Promotional DVD, a master of the new Takin’ It Home CD, and an exclusive Director’s Badge, all packaged in an official Agency D3 metal attache case.

JS2 copy

Let’s take a look at each piece:

  • Administrative Guide for Directors- This guide contains everything a VBS director needs to plan, conduct, evaluate, and follow up on VBS. You’ll find schedules, organizational charts, reproducible items, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and more!
  •  Decorating Made Easy – This guide gives step-by-step instructions for creating both large and small scale decorations and it includes a CD full of colorful clip art.
  • Music for Kids CD – Be one of the first to hear the Agency D3 music for kids!
  • Kids Evidence Kit – The number one item each kid needs! It includes everything kids need to collect and examine the evidence presented in Bible Study: an Evidence Log, D3 Decoder, five Daily Evidence Cards, one Special Agent ID card, one invisible ink pen.
  • Special Agent Carabiner and Special Agent Rearview Sunglasses- Here are two fun accessories that kids of all ages will want! The Special Agent Carabiner is a clip, flashlight and pen in one. The Special Agent Rearview Glasses have a mirror on the edge of the lens that allows agents to catch action from all angles!
  • Jump Start Poster – Help promote your VBS with the double-sided Agency D3 poster.
  • Promotional DVD – This Agency D3 Promotional CD is filled with promotional clips to use for teacher training, promoting VBS, and recruiting leaders.
  • Takin’ It Home CD – The all-new Takin’ it Home CD. Each day when kids leave your VBS, place the CD in their hands with instructions to play it in the car. It helps kids follow-up on what they just learned and helps engage families in spiritual conversations. The CD included in your Jump Start Kit can be reproduced as many times as you need! It can also be customized to be specific to your church.
  • Director’s Badge – Your very own Agency D3 Director’s Badge!

So there you have the Agency D3 Jump Start Kit! You can pick one up at any LifeWay Store or order here today!

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?

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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!