Agency D3 for Preschoolers & Kindergartners

thomasFoundational Bible teaching is always the goal with LifeWay’s preschool VBS, and this year is no exception. Agency D3’s Bible content sets up a firm foundation for preschoolers and kindergartners to build upon for the rest of their lives. As you teach them who Jesus is and what He did, kids will learn the basics about why we want to love and follow Jesus.

Every single day of VBS, kids will discover that Jesus is who He says He is (God’s Son) through an example from His life. Day 1 uses the story of Jesus’ baptism to show kids that God, in dramatic fashion, declared audibly to everyone present that Jesus is His Son. John told people the same thing everywhere He went for the rest of his life! On Day 2 kids will discover that Jesus is unlike anyone else who ever lived. He is God’s Son so He can do things no one else can do! On Days 3-4 preschoolers will hear how much Jesus loves people as they hear about His death & resurrection. (Younger Preschoolers will use the Bible stories of Jesus’ last supper with His helpers and His post-resurrection meeting with two men on the road to Emmaus.) On Day 5 kids will learn that they can tell others the things they know about Jesus, just like Peter did in the Bible.

In other words, the entire week for preschoolers answers one singular question: Who Is Jesus? This is the perfect Bible content for preschoolers coming to VBS who may have never even heard of God, much less of His Son. It’s all about Jesus… and that’s a great reason to be excited about Agency D3!

From Derailed to Teachable Moment

carol_editedWe’ve all had them, those moments when some little something derails our whole lesson. We’ve prepared, recited in our minds how things are going to go, imagined how we’ll see the “lightbulbs come on” when the kids get it, then Wham one kid derails the whole shebang. This happened to me recently. I actually even anticipated that the picture of Baby Jesus that  looked like a picture of Charlie Brown could cause problems. I decided to head things off at the pass and find a more realistic picture of Baby Jesus to use. Armed with my picture and lesson, I set off to church feeling quite confident that the lesson I had envisioned would come to fruition. Only one little problem, I had forgotten that the Charlie Brown picture would show up again later in the lesson. And as predicted, when the pictures were handed out for the last activity, my one rambunctious child immediately yelled, “Hey, it’s Charlie Brown!”

Then a discussion ensued as to whether or not Charlie Brown had hair because the baby in this picture had a little hair. And in God’s infinite wisdom, He saw fit to send one little girl to the library before coming to church. Guess what book she checked out. Yep, it was a Snoopy book. Yes, she did indeed bring it to class instead of leaving it in the car, so she could show an actual picture of Charlie Brown and put the matter to rest. He does indeed have a little swirl of hair. So what to do now that all the kids were labeling their pictures “Charlie Brown” instead of “Baby Jesus?”

We tried reminding the kids that this was just supposed to be a picture to help them remember that Baby Jesus was special even though He looked and acted like all the other babies. We told the kids that Jesus was better than Charlie Brown ever could be. We asked if Charlie Brown would die on the cross for us. Now some kids reasoned that he might die on a cross for us. At this point we reminded the kids that even if he did, it would never be enough. Only the sacrifice of a sinless person, only Jesus would ever be enough. And then they began to focus less on Charlie Brown and more on the true meaning of how special Jesus is and how we need Him to be our Savior.

So in that moment when your lesson is derailed, do not fear, do not feel defeated, this may just be the teachable moment God has planned.

Tips for Moving from Derailed to Teachable Moment

1. Anticipate and plan for things that could derail your lesson. It can be something as small as the artwork you use, but know that kids will pick up on the small things.

2. Turn the moments around by asking questions and guiding discussion. Lead the kids back to the biblical truth that you are trying to drive home.

3. Take a “time out.” Stop for a moment, take a deep breath, regroup, and start again. The more flustered you get about the situation, the more kids will want to continue the distraction.

4. Remember that this may not have been in your plan, but it very well could have been in God’s plan.

Share with us your tips that get you moving from a derailed moment to a teachable one in the comments.

Agency D3 Kids Starter Kits

Wouldn’t it be great to have everything you need to get started with VBS in one box? We think so, too! That’s why we created the Kids Starter Kits & Preschool Starter Kits for Agency D3. Take a look at this video where Melita unpacks the Kids Starter Kit.

Now that makes things easier, right? Pick up a Kids Starter Kit today at your local LifeWay Christian Store or order it online.

Be sure to check back next week when we unpack the Preschool Starter Kit.

Foto Friday…The VBS App!

tyrrellHi everybody! Exciting news today! The LifeWay VBS Agency D3 App is now live in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store!

Here are some screenshots of the app!
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Let me know what you think!

On the Second Day of Christmas

wooley1 2013This morning Nashville awoke to a world blanketed with snow, and I just returned from the office break room where the holiday classic White Christmas was being played for lunch entertainment. It really does seem like the beginning of Christmas – or in this case the Second Day of Christmas!

Since I grew up in Dallas where snow is typically not part of the Christmas scene, the festivities of this most special holiday truly begins not with snow but when certain foods start making an appearance. My family’s most memorable Christmas traditions are based on food. My father loved to cook. And he especially liked to cook when the expected crowd resembled a small army.

While families traditionally gather around tables overflowing with turkey and trimmings, my family – for at least the last 45 years – has gathered around a table barely able to withstand the weight of dozens-upon-dozens of home-made hot tamales – all lovingly hand-crafted by my father.

Some years a little salsa was needed to add an extra punch. While other years each tamale contained so much fire a full glass of tea was needed to temper the burn. I forgot to mention that Dad was an experimental cook, so you were never sure what the experience would be until you took the first bite. But no matter how hot or mild, by the end of the evening 45 to 50 dozen tamales would become history along with gallons of iced tea, pounds of peanut brittle (another of Dad’s specialties) and peanut butter balls.

Dad is no longer here, but his tamale bowls and steamers have been passed on to another generation, and the tradition remains alive and well.

Merry Christmas to you one and all. May your days be blessed with the sweetness of family, traditions, and the knowledge of the Hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15).

 

 

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.