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.



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.

We're Down to the Final Five!

Back on June 4, I asked anyone interested in being considered to lead music at our VBS 2013 events to submit a video of them leading music from VBS 2012. Mail started arriving almost instantly, and we have had a major challenge choosing five semi-finalist for YOUR consideration.

I want to thank each of you who responded. I wish we could choose all of you to travel with us to Preview events in North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. But alas, the budget will only allow for one.

Make sure to tune in next Tuesday, August 7, for your opportunity to view the final five and cast your vote. Until then – keep on singing!

In Honor of My Good Friend, Jeff

I’m so glad to have the honor of writing about my good friend, Jeff Slaughter. As many of you have heard, or perhaps you read the blog post here on December 1, VBS 2012 will be the last VBS with Jeff as our songwriter. Jeff and I began working together when LifeWay’s VBS was redesigned in 1996. Our first project was VBS 1997: The Wild and Wonderful Good News Stampede™. It was Jeff who suggested that we provide choreography videos for our customers. So, we began to produce those with VBS 1999: Mt. Extreme™. We’ve come a long way since then! When our budget would allow, we were able to shoot the choreography segments on location along with the video dramas. My favorite on-location shoot was in Israel in 2008. We shot the songs for Club VBS: Truth Trek™ and the ballad for VBS 2012: Boomerang Express™ (“Because”).

Shooting at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem

We also had the great fortune of shooting the ABCs of Becoming a Christian segment at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Very, very special.

Since the December 1 blog post shared about Jeff’s great work with our team, I thought it would be fun to let Jeff do the talking this time. So, we sat down for lunch and I asked him the following questions.

Me: What was your favorite VBS theme?

Jeff: Boomerang Express™. First of all, I got to travel to Australia! And we shot the ballad in Israel . . . in front of the Garden Tomb. I loved that the biblical content was about a relationship with Jesus and about Peter’s relationship with Him. I think it’s great that LifeWay’s VBS is all about helping kids know how to become Christians, but I especially liked that this one focused on showing kids how to go beyond that and build a friendship with Jesus.

Me: What was the most challenging song to write?

Jeff: “We Believe” (VBS 2005: Ramblin’ Road Trip™). My daddy passed away in March of ’03 and later that same year we began working on Ramblin’ Road. I couldn’t write though. Since he’d passed away, I hadn’t written anything and I just felt stifled. I couldn’t find that creative place anymore. I didn’t know how to begin. Then, I heard the Lord say to me, “Go back to the basics. What do you believe about me? If you could put the most important things you believe about me in a song, what would you write?” As I began to focus on the truths about Him that I had learned throughout my life I could feel Him gently leading me back to that sweet place of creativity. I went to the piano and began to play for the Lord . . . pouring out my sadness as I pressed into the keys. Memories of His faithfulness and love flooded my mind . . . along with memories of things my daddy had taught me about the Lord. All of a sudden I began playing the opening melody of “We Believe.” As soon as I heard it, I began to cry. I wrote the rest of the song in about 30 minutes . . . crying the whole time. “We Believe” went on to become the first VBS song to cross over into the church as an adult choir anthem. It was one of the most challenging to write, but it will always be one of my favorites!

Me: What’s a favorite video shoot memory?

Jeff: The trip to Israel. Habakkuk 2:2-3 was Scripture that meant so much to me as a child and as a teenager. I know some people have heard me tell the story about being an outcast at school because I was overweight, I wore funny glasses, and I was in the band. But, that Scripture helped me know that God had a plan for me, and it would be revealed to me in His time. When we were in Israel, some of the crew and I got to visit The Shrine of the Book. [That’s where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed.] We all were walking around on our own, looking at everything. I stopped to read an ancient manuscript that was on display. I couldn’t believe it! It was an original handwritten manuscript of Habakkuk chapter 2! When I shared it with you, you told me that this particular exhibit was on display only that year in celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary! It was amazing.

Me: I remember that. It was amazing. That was a great experience.

Me: Is the rumor true that you’re a good cook?

Jeff: Yes! I am a good cook!

Me: Any dishes you’re known for?

Jeff: One time I fixed this dish called “Pistachio Crusted Chicken with Coconut Ginger Chili Sauce.” It was awesome!

Me: Tell us where kids can connect with you at CentriKid camps this summer.

Jeff with a fan

Jeff: I’ll be at Lee University and at Ridgecrest Conference Center. You can find the dates on my web page: Camp has been such a vital part of my life for 26 years and I still love it! I’m looking forward to seeing everybody and seeing what the Lord has in store for us!


Jeff Slaughter – A VBS Legend!

For the past 17 years, millions of children and families through VBS have benefited from a talented and enthusiastic music minister whose name is synonymous with VBS.

Jeff Slaughter, the songwriter for LifeWay Christian Resources’ Vacation Bible School team, has decided 2012 will be his last season writing, traveling, performing and teaching with our VBS team.

God has given Jeff new dreams and new visions. We will miss him and pray that God continues to use him. We want you to join us as we celebrate Jeff and his years of creative ministry at all the upcoming 2012 VBS preview events.

At each event, Jeff’s contributions, creativity and career highlights will be celebrated with a video tribute connected to the performance of the Amazing Wonders Aviation musical.

Jeff was originally enlisted in 1997 to create high-energy music written specifically for each year’s VBS theme. With the introduction of The Wild and Wonderful Good News Stampede, Jeff and LifeWay’s VBS became synonymous. Since then, Jeff has produced 22 VBS themes and 133 songs (including 30 songs specifically for preschoolers) for both the mainline and Club VBS.

Jeff’s contribution has helped shape VBS as it is known today. His music has reached into the hearts of kids and the motions he choreographed have helped the lyrics become personal and the message of Christ memorable.

Jeff has also been a highlight of these events, where he shares the stories behind the songs and teaches the accompanying motions firsthand.

The VBS team appreciates Jeff and his creative contributions. We’ve had a tremendous relationship with him. God has not only used Jeff to impact the lives of millions but he has impacted each of us here at LifeWay.

For most of us, the relationship extends beyond “work” to personal, everyday friendship.
We look forward to continued ministry with him throughout the 2012 VBS season and honoring him at the preview events.

Jeff will continue to be a vital part of LifeWay’s CentriKid Camps.

As part of our tribute to Jeff, the VBS team is creating a book of memories, photos, and letters. We would like to invite you to help by sending a note of thanks and best wishes or a story about your favorite VBS song.

Send your message to If you would like to send a photo (no larger than 5×7), send it to me, Jerry Wooley, MSN 182, LifeWay Christian Resources, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, Tennessee 37234. Messages and photos must be received by Friday, December 30.

Love you Jeff.

Foto Friday. . .Yes to VBS!

Okay, I have kind of a different Foto Friday for today. Here’s the background. . .I recently brought home my copy of the VBS 2012 Music for Kids CD. My 4 year old daughter loves the Yes to VBS song and she LOVES to sing it in the car! Well, one night, as we were driving home, I decided to video her enjoying the song. . .now remember, this is at night. So, the video is all dark but the singing is awesome! (oh course, I might be a little biased!) lol!




If you would like to hear the songs, then click on the link and you can hear the songs! Enjoy!



Decorating Music at the Matterhorn

Music at the Matterhorn

Bringing the majesty of the Matterhorn to your music rotation is more than possible. It’s downright easy when you follow the step-by-step instructions in the Decorating Made Easy book. Is it much work to create a monumental mountain like this? Yes, it is work. So don’t go at it alone. While you’re pondering how monumental to make your room decorations, perhaps these tips will help you with ideation.

Tip #1: The cover of your Music Rotation Leader Guide is great inspiration. You can use it to draw an outline of your own mountain and sky, and it will give you ideas for colors.

Tip #2: Decorate with the VBS 2012 Quick Scene Visual Pack Posters. Eight posters come in the pack, and one of them features the Matterhorn!

Tip #3: Don’t put those artificial trees back in the attic after Christmas! You’ll need them in a few months for VBS. Church members may be willing to loan their artificial trees for use, or you might find some really good sales after Christmas. Artificial trees are a great way to fill space and add atmosphere to your music room.

Tip #4: Accessorize. There are lots of ways enhance your room with accessories. Try hanging a silhouette of an airplane, or hang a few of the VBS 2012 Inflatable Airplanes. The VBS 2012 String Flags are also fun to hang. Add a VBS 2012 Soaring Stand Up to your room. Not only is it a fun room decoration, it doubles as a photo booth! Kids will want to pose for a photo with a friend as they fly over the Matterhorn.

With all these resources, creating an environment for your music rotation that excites kids will be a breeze!

Coordinates for the Matterhorn— 45˚ 58’35″N 7˚39’30″E

See You Monday at KMC!

LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference here in Nashville is just seven days away (October 10 – 12) and I’m looking forward to introducing you to VBS 2012 Amazing Wonders Aviation. During two of the breakout sessions Wednesday you will have the opportunity for a sneak peek at the amazing wonders LifeWay’s VBS team has created for Amazing Wonders Aviation and Club VBS SpaceQuest.

For those of you who sign up for a Monday morning pre conference you will have the opportunity to spend the morning with Jeff Slaughter learning the words and motions for all six of the AWA songs. You will experience a fun morning where you will not only learn the music of VBS but the back stories that make the songs come to life.

If you haven’t registered it is not too late. Just call 1.800.254.2022 or go to

Find me at the conference Monday and tell me you read this post and you will receive your very own AWA Pilot’s Wings!

See you in Nashville next week!

Behind the Music in español

!Hola mis amigos! Hello my friends! Great news guys! We’re finally finishing up production of Amazing Wonders Aviation! WOO HOO! It’s crazy/busy around here but even more so for those responsible for translating VBS into Spanish! One of many things that has to be produced is the Spanish music video. Filming was last week so yours truly slapped on my photog hat and snapped a few behind the scene shots for you. Enjoy!!

Constanza Zurita—our "amazing" on-camera host—gets camera-ready with Vanessa Sellers—make-up artist extraordinaire.

Constanza dreams of someday singing in the LifeWay choir! jk

Our on-camera host Constanza Zurita and Jeff Slaughter—what a great team!

Our friend and fellow VBS teammate Lynne Norris produced the EBV (akaVBS) Spanish choreography/music video along with Tim Cox, director/Camera operator and Steve Fralick, audio/lighting. Lynne was also joined by Alyssa Goins from LifeWay’s Music Department (VBS music wouldn’t get done without her!) and Angel Ortiz who is in charge of translating ALL of our Spanish products!

Steve Fralick, Lynne Norris, Tim Cox, Vanessa Sellers (hiding!), ALyssa Goins, Angel Ortiz

It was fun to watch as they worked up new motions. Yes! New motions! Why you ask? Well, it seems some words—even words used in our title—do no translate in Spanish. So new words equals new motions.

"It's Maravillas INCREI´BLES de la Aviacio´n!"

Constanza spent a lot of time and research finding just the right motions for the translation. Kudos to Konstanza!

cooool—motion blurrr

Hasta luego mis amigos! …see you later my friends!

VBS & KMC – a Perfect Fit!

October 10 – 12 is just around the corner. School is back in session, leaves are starting to fall, pumpkins will soon be replacing watermelons in the aisles of the Piggly Wiggly, and before we know it we will be in the middle of October — and that means LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference in Nashville, Tennessee!

KMC gives you one of the first opportunities to see, hear, and experience VBS 2012 Amazing Wonders Aviation and Club VBS: SpaceQuest. I’ll be there on Wednesday morning for an overview session on both themes. By the time we finish you’ll have your pilot’s wings and be ready to take flight! A great way to learn the music and motions of Amazing Wonders Aviation is with the master musician himself – Jeff Slaughter – who will be leading a pre-conference Monday morning. This session fills up fast so sign up today.

In addition to VBS, KMC offers great opportunities to learn, meet new friends from across the Nation, and be inspired by the likes of Ed Stetzer, The Duggars, Jon Acuff, Pete Wilson, Angie Smith, Tim Elmore, and many others.

At KMC 2011 we are being challenged to DREAM BIG, and we want you to dream with us. Call 1.800.254.2022 or go to today!

Looking forward to seeing you October 10-12 in Music City USA!

Name that Tune

I thought we should start this week off with a little fun! Last week Jerry gave you a preview of the VBS songs for VBS 2012. So, I thought that today we would stroll down memory lane and see if you can Name that Tune! Below are snippets of five different VBS songs. See if you can guess the title, the name of the VBS, and the year of the VBS. I will post the answers in the comments on Wednesday. Have fun and no cheating!