Geek of The Week – Paula Royal!

Hey Guys. Paula Royal caught our attention at the Nashville Preview Event as soon as she walked into the EXPO room. She was wearing an orange colored jacket with the Amazing Wonders Aviation logo embroidered on the back! Not only that, she had embroidered VBS 2012 airplanes on both legs of here blue jeans… scripture reference stitched right in! My first thought? “There goes a Geek of The Week!” (…and I mean that with all due respect!)

It is a pleasure to introduce Paula Royal, Lake Martin Baptist Church, Dadeville, Al – our newly inducted VBS Geek of The Week!

Paula receives her Geek of the Week T-Shirt at the Nashville Preview, Jan 2012

Paula is a delight. I don’t usually use that word but it applies here. What a sweet lady! During the preview, she wore several other self-made, custom designs! (…we’re saving those and other custom made accessories another blog!) For now, here are some shots of Paula’s cool customized clothes that caught our eye…

Paula's outfit!

Front left of Paula's jacket!

Paula's pants - back left!

Paula's pants - front right!

What are your VBS roles?
My roles in VBS are:
1. teaching the 3 – 4 year old class
2. I help others with ideas and decorations when needed
3. the past 2 years (and again this year) I will teach crafts at the Tallapoosa Baptist Association VBS clinic
4. helping anywhere needed

What is your “Geekiest” VBS moment?
Last year at our VBS I dressed as “Liz the Taxi Cab Driver”. I monogrammed
a white jacket with the VBS logo, taxi cabs, the Big Apple with silhouette, Statue of Liberty and the Bible verse. I also painted my tennis shoes black and white checked with yellow accent like a taxi cab. After VBS I passed my “Liz” items to Beulah Baptist Church in our area to use. I asked, if possible, please pass these items on to another church when they were finished.

However I felt my “Geekiest” VBS moment was this year at the TN preview. Dressing as “Liz the Taxi Cab Driver” was fun and crazy, but I never realized that there was such a title as “VBS Geek”. I am a person that is not surprised easily and this time someone got me. I know that God made me special, but what a privilege and honor to be called a “VBS Geek”. [...gotcha Liz!]

What makes you continue to do VBS year after year?
I need to give a little background in this area. Two years ago our
VBS director, Gwen Stockdale asked if I would teach the 3-4 year old class. I said yes and the first night of VBS I had 12-15 little ones. It was total chaos for my helper and I. After class I went to Gwen and told her I felt I was not capable of teaching (as this was the first time I had every taught VBS) and explained what the class was like. I tried so hard to teach the children about Jesus, but things were out of control and I felt I had failed. Gwen said it would all work out and hang in there. We discussed what had happened and come to find out I had received the wrong lesson plan book for my class age. I know now why it is so important to have age appropriate lessons. That night I prayed to God and thanked him for what I thought was a disaster and asked for wisdom to teach my class. Each night thereafter I received blessing after blessing from my little ones.

The reason I continue VBS is the joy in the children’s faces when the bible story clicks with their lives and their love to learn about Jesus. It is a blessing to have children who have been in my class in previous years wanting to come back to learn more. I love teaching the little ones about Jesus and after VBS is over I sit and reflect on the week. I find that I have learned more about my savior and have grown in my Christian walk during this time. My husband said that God and Gwen have me teaching in the right age group, as I can relate to them, as I am on the 3-4 year old level.

Another reason I love VBS is the love, excitement and joy my VBS director and her husband, Gwen and Byron Stockdale, have for the Lord. They are dedicated to our Lord, not only on a daily basis, but when VBS rolls around they are wide open. They are such an inspiration to me. I try daily to be like Jesus, but when you have a good Christian example (as is all our VBS group) to follow, it helps make your Christian walk straighter and stronger.
I plan to continue working with VBS until the Lord leads me in another direction.

What is my favorite VBS theme to date?
I have only been teaching the past 3 years and out of these years my favorite VBS theme is Big Apple Adventure. When we were at the Tennessee preview last year, I saw the shirts and thought what does “I HEART (Love) VBS” have to do with the NY theme. It wasn’t until late that evening it clicked with my brain. My VBS director had so many great ideas for this theme and made it exciting. Gwen is truly Blessed with ideas and teaching others of Jesus. The Sunday after the preview she dressed like “Pearl of Praise” and no one in the congregation recognized her. Everyone, especially me, was excited to see what she had planned for VBS and what God was going to do. I loved how the theme expressed that God loves us all no matter who we are. We are to reach out and teach others about Jesus from every background no matter their circumstance.

I cannot wait for VBS to come this year and see what Gwen has planned, what I will learn, and what God has in store for us.

You might be a “VBS Geek” if ______?
I never thought myself as a “VBS Geek” but I guess I am. After every preview I begin praying, thinking about ideas/decorations, looking for items, and starting to work on lesson plans for my 3-4 year old class. My mind is in VBS mode until after VBS. And now that I know that the next years theme will be announced on June 2nd, I will get in VBS mode even earlier.

Every opportunity I get between now and VBS, I will wear my Amazing Wonders Aviation logo and airplane, my VBS button and bracelet to tell everyone about VBS and God. The other night at my grand-daughters Up Ward basketball game I wore my black vest with the VBS logo on the back. A lady asked me who I worked for and what I did, as she had never seen that logo before. I told her that “I worked for Jesus” and strove to do what He wants me to do. Then I explained about VBS and the theme this year. I love talking with others about Jesus, what He has done and VBS.

Who would have ever thought a girl from Lake Martin Baptist Church, Dadeville, Alabama could be voted as “VBS Geek”. It truly has been a Blessing for me and our VBS group, not to mention the opportunity to tell others of Jesus. I thank God and want to thank you again for this opportunity and experience.

Will we continue to see you at one of the VBS previews?
Lord willing and the lake doesn’t rise!

Paula Royal (aka Liz)
“2012 VBS Geek of The Week”
Lake Martin Baptist Church
Dadeville, Al

Foto Friday. . .Geek of the Week Photos

HI everyone, it’s Keith again! Have you been enjoying our “Geek of the Week” feature? It has been a lot of fun to read and a lot of fun getting to know our VBS geeks, fanactics, groupies. You all amaze us with your enthusiasm, your creativity, excitement and love for all things VBS and how it impacts children’s lives. . .and adult’s lives too!

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Wow! What an amazing and awesome weekend of VBS Previews we had at LifeWay January 26 – 28. Over 1600 enthusiastically over-the-top VBS fans brought the energy level of Nashville to an all time high!

Several years ago I gathered groups of people together in Nashville, Houston, and Oklahoma City with the mission of discovering what brings people back to VBS training events. We know that getting people to attend the first time takes a lot of work, but it takes even more work to get them to return the next year. We wanted to know the key element (ingredient, activity) that turns a casual attendee into a fan that will return year after year after year.

The single element that emerged from all three groups was “WOW!” People want to experience wow. People want to be wowed. People want to tell their friends about the wow.

You might be wondering what creates the “wow” moment of a VBS training or Preview event? There is no easy or single answer. Every person who attends might possible be wowed by something different. For some it is a confetti cannon unexpectedly shooting off streamers at the end of a song. For someone else it is the content or presenter of a specific breakout session. For still others the wow moment is created by the sheer numbers of people and energy of the crowd.

Wow comes from the unexpected. You know you have created “wow” when an attendees parting words are, “This event was so much more than I expected.”

State and associational VBS leaders across the country are getting ready to provide regional and local VBS training events in the next four months. I’m often asked what it takes to get people to attend these event. While not a simple question to answer, we know part of the answer is Wow!

When people give up a Tuesday evening or Saturday morning to attend VBS training they are hoping (actually expecting) to be encouraged, challenged, inspired – in short, WOWED. People are not looking for someone to read the leader guide to them. Most are not even looking for someone to tell them how to conduct a Vacation Bible School.

People want to know what they can do to make their VBS or class stand out from the rest. They want to know the short cuts, the success stories, and the out-of-the-box ideas others have tried. People want to be encouraged, challenged, inspired – in short, WOWED!

If you are a VBS leader preparing to train others make sure you include the unexpected. Make sure you include the WOW!

EXPO Foam Plane

It has definitely been busy here lately. The VBS team has just finished our 4th event (Nashville Previews)! We have met a lot of fun people and taken a lot of photos!

Our airplane photos have been a LOT of fun! You can see them at our VBS Facebook page. Below are the specific links to each event:

1. Ridgecrest Preview

2. Ft. Worth Preview

3. Nashville’s 2 Previews

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Foto Friday. . .Preview Photos!

Wow! I can’t believe we have already finished 2 VBS Preview events (Ridgecrest & Ft. Worth)! We (the VBS Team) actually have a week off. . .not from work though. . .we are working on VBS 2013 right now! I can’t say what it is yet. :P

We have a week to rest up before setting up and hosting the Nashville VBS Preview. There is still a little room for the Thursday/Friday Preview (Jan 27-28).

We also have room for the Kissimmee, FL Preview (Feb 17-18), SO COME ON DOWN! Or come on up. . .if you live south of Kissimmee! lol! It should be nice and sunny! (actually I don’t know that) :P

If you come down to Kissimmee, I’ll tell you a joke that my 4 year old daughter told me! It’s funny!

Today on Foto Friday, I wanted to share just some random photos from the Ridgecrest and Ft. Worth events.

I just flew in and. . .(my arms are not tired!) :P

Great Bible overview Melita!

I don't remember their names but they had me laughing SO HARD!

GREAT t-shirt! ! !

Um, I think the flight is full! :P

These kids were great! Love the hats!

I’ve had people ask and yes, you CAN purchase our Super Sized Hangar Backdrop artwork and then send it to a sign company to print larger!

There's always one on the flight! :D

Gordon is flying Stand-By!

Jerry delivering the message. Thanks Jerry!

***We have several people about the “how-to” instructions for the foam airplane in the photos. We created that for the events, so the instructions are not readily available but we are going to work up a blog post on the “how-to” instructions and get them to you!***

VBS Community Online Live – Week 2

During the Fort Worth VBS Preview last week, a group of VBS leaders worked together to make the Idea Banks of LifeWay’s VBS Community come to life. Here are just a few of the many great ideas:

Follow Up

In addition to Family Night during the week of VBS, host a VBS Celebration Night a few weeks later as the first step in a series of events designed to provide continued connection with unchurched families.

End of Day Dismissal

Create a Parent Lounge and encourage parents to arrive a few minutes early for refreshments and a chance to meet other parents and church staff.

Create numbered boarding gates. Give parent and child a corresponding number and let them both know they can meet at their specified boarding gate.

I’ll share additional ideas next Tuesday. Until then check out and join the Community.

Highlights from Ft. Worth

We just finished another exciting Preview Event in Ft. Worth. The staff at Travis Avenue Baptist Church was awesome. They went well above the call of duty to unload our truck when it arrived and bring everything in out of the rain.

There was another VBS Geek of the Week sighting. This time we were honored to have PJ with us all the way from South Korea.

Notice anything wrong in this picture?

And then here’s Keith bullying the bull on the wall of one of the restaurants we ate at. I am not sure who won the “Stare Down,” but I think Keith is giving him a run for his money!

Last but not least, a big congratulations goes out to Teresa Brown. Teresa’s name was drawn as the winner of a VBS 2012 Quick Scene™ Super Duper Sized Backdrop.

We still have two more events on the calendar—one in Nashville, and one in Orlando. So if you haven’t registered, don’t miss out. Make plans to join us for these exciting events.




We Have a Winner. . .

Congratulations to Teresa Haag. Teresa won the VBS 2012 Super Duper Back Drop for the Ridgecrest Preview Event. Thanks, Teresa for completing your Flight Log. We’ll get your  back drop in the mail soon.

For those of you heading to the Preview in Ft. Worth this week, don’t forget to grab your Flight Logs for your chance to win. See you soon!

VBS 2012 is ready for TAKEOFF!

Happy New Year!

As you read this post the first Amazing Wonders Aviation flight of 2012 is winging its way to Ridgecrest, North Carolina for the first of five national Preview events. Over 1,000 of the most enthusiastic VBS geeks in the nation are packing their bags for two exciting days and one sleepless night where they will discover that “Awesome God! Amazing Power!” is more than a motto. As Psalm 147:5 proclaims, “Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite.” What a great verse to start 2012!

While it might be too late for you to join us at Ridgecrest, there is still time and space for you to join the fun at one of the following sites:

Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, January 13-14
LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee, January 26-27
First Baptist Church, Kissimmee, Florida, February 17-18

To learn more go to or call 1.800.254.2022.

A new conference being offered at Preview this year is “VBS Community Online Live.” We’re taking one of the wealthiest sources of creativity – LifeWay’s VBS Community Idea Banks – and turning it into a live idea generating machine! Ideas generated during the Ridgecrest Preview will be posted right here next Tuesday. So get ready to be inspired!

By the way, if you have not joined the Community do so today at Click on the “Community” tab at the top of the page.

It's Time to File Your Flight Log

I hope you have made your reservations to join us at one of the VBS 2012 Previews. We have been preparing and have a lot of exciting things in store for you including a chance to win a VBS 2012 Quick Scene™ Amazing Wonders Super Duper Sized BackdropA drawing will be held at each location for one lucky winner!

All you have to do is grab a “Flight Log” at registration, locate the QR codes placed around the venue, scan them to find the coordinates to 6 natural wonders, record the coordinates on your Flight Log and turn it in for a chance to win. See official contest rules below.

Official Sweepstakes Rules – Door Prize Sweepstakes Rules for Events – CRD 20111205