VBS & Fall Fest

Could there be a more perfect way to reuse VBS decorations than at your church’s fall festival? LifeWay Kids had our own fall festival last week… complete with food, candy, and games. Candace & I put our own spin on the classic “fish for a prize” game and totally decked out Candace’s office door with decorations from the Great Barrier Reef (Amazing Wonders Aviation).

You can check out more of the great games, booths, and decorations from our fall office party on the Kids Ministry 101 blog all this week!

We want to hear from you… Does your church do any kind of fall festival? How have you reused VBS decorations for other church/community events? Give us all some inspiration!

Foto Friday…I’m here!

Where’s Keith? Here I am! Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t blogged for a while but it’s been a bit crazy, busy and hairy with the deadlines.

Okay, maybe all the hairiness is from the gorilla suit I’ve been wearing! :D

But honestly, I have been working!

So what have I been working on? I’m glad you asked!

This week, I’ve been working on the VBX 2013 Preteen Leader Pack. I love working on the VBX material! It’s always jammed packed with visuals. Here’s shot of the cover.

One of the other items I have been working on is the VBS 2013 Supersized Coaster Backdrop. This backdrop really excites me! Take a look at it and see if you can see why I love this one SO much.

Bucket rides? Nope, that’s not it! But I do love the bucket rides. Such a fun way to get from one side of the park to the other side and relax while you are doing it.

Roller coasters? Getting closer! It does have something to do with the roller coasters! Take a look at the next photo.

Check it out! You can connect multiple Supersized Coaster Backdrops and make one COLOSSAL Coaster backdrop! :D

It’s back to work now! Have a great weekend and God bless!

Coming with VBS 2013 – Backyard Kids Club™

 One of the most exciting things about my job is watching God put the pieces together to make something great happen. That’s what it has felt like as the plans for a Backyard Kids Club resource have come together. Here’s a sneak peak at the why, what, and who of Backyard Kids Club.

Why offer a Backyard Kids Club option? 

Many churches are looking for ways to take VBS outside their church and into their communities. Whether those communities are down the street or around the world, our Backyard Kids Club Directors Guide and Backyard Kids Club Kit provide portable resources that can be used easily wherever you can gather a group of kids!

What will be available to help organize and conduct a Backyard Kids Club?

The Backyard Kids Club Directors Guide is designed for the person or team who will be coordinating and planning the Backyard Kids Club or Clubs. Based on expert advice from folks who have held successful Backyard Kids Clubs, this guide gives easy, step-by-step instructions.

The Backyard Kids Club Kit is an all-in-one box designed for a club of about 25 to 30 kids. The traditional VBS curriculum is simplified to fit a limited outdoor setting. The kit includes leader resources for worship and music, Bible study, crafts, and recreation. A special “Host Folder” even includes snack ideas. Music CDs and a choreography DVD are included!

What if a church wants some of the “extras” that go with a traditional VBS?

Because our Backyard Kids Club uses the same Bible content, music, and theme as our traditional VBS, all the fun accessories used for a large scale VBS will coordinate with your Backyard Kids Club!

Who will be able to benefit from the Backyard Kids Club resources?

  • Churches who are looking to take VBS outside the church walls and into communities where kids are
  • Mission groups who need a pack-and-go VBS option for local community centers, campgrounds, or mission locations in other states or around the world
  • Small churches who may have twenty or fewer children, but wish to provide a summer VBS experience that will reach the kids and their families

I know there are even more ideas about how this resource could be used. What are some of your ideas? Have we gotten your wheels turning? We’d love to hear from you!

Today on Kids Ministry 101, learn more about LifeWay’s Kids Ministry Conference! 

Say Y-E-S to Preschool V-B-S!

VBS season is in full swing & while all of you have been gearing up for VBS in your churches, all of us on the VBS team have been doing the same thing! It is so wonderful to get to experience VBS “from the trenches”… not as a job but as Kingdom work! I taught kindergartners this year… 31 of them, in fact! Out of those 31, only 7 were from my church. VBS really is an incredible outreach tool!

This year, my church tried something a little bit different. We added a second worship rally to our schedule that was specifically for preschoolers & kindergartners. The morning kicked off for 1st-6th graders with the traditional Worship Rally, but preschoolers started the morning in their respective rooms. Then at 9:40 (when all of the big kids had cleared out), we got to fly in for a worship rally designed just for us! We had a fabulous leader who basically modified the preschool music rotation teaching plans so that we could sing songs, play instruments, move around, and talk about the daily Bible stories in ways that just wouldn’t fly if preteens were in the room. But it was perfect for preschoolers! We even had time for offerings and practicing the theme song each day.

The kids’ favorite song from the week had to be one called “Always”… and it played a significant part in one of my all-time favorite VBS memories. The song lyrics are almost identical to preschool’s Day 2 verse: “Be strong. Do not be afraid. God is with you” (Joshua 1:9). On Wednesday morning one of my kindergartners came in the door and walked straight to me. “Miss Melita,” she said, “last night at bedtime I got kind of scared. But then I remembered that song. I sang it to myself probably 4-20 times. And you know what? It worked! God was with me, and I wasn’t afraid anymore.”

WOW! A 6-year-old child connected the truth of the Bible to a real life situation because she had “hidden it in her heart” through song. Wow! That’s what it’s all about!

Here’s a little video of “Always” from our preschool worship rally. And if you’re really good, you might be able to catch a glimpse of Gordon, too! Enjoy!

Always — preschool worship rally

VBS 2014? Really?

Believe it or not, LifeWay’s VBS team is already thinking 2014!

Now you know why I am constantly in danger of post-dating checks a year or two in advance! Seriously, scheduled online payment of my utility bills only to receive past due notices on them all. It seems I was living a year – a hazard of all VBS Groupies – in advance and dated payments with the wrong year.

At any one time I am collecting VBS reports from the previous year, responding to VBS questions from the current year, planning VBS events for the next year, and dreaming VBS for two years away. This is truly the best job in the world!

Now, to the real topic of this post – VBS Missions Rotation.

As many of you are in the midst of VBS 2012, and as we begin planning for VBS 2014, I am interested in how you use LifeWay’s Missions Rotation resources for both preschoolers and children.

  • If your church does not include the Mission Rotation, why not?
  • If you do not use them during VBS, do you use them at another time or in conjunction with another ministry? Explain.
  • If you do use the resources, what do you most like about them?
  • What would you like to see changed?
  • How do you incorporate the suggested hands-on mission project?
  • How could the hands-on project be more effective for your church?

You can respond here or send your comments and suggestions to me at jerry.wooley@lifeway.com.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Front Yard, Backyard, and All Around the House!

From my years as an older teenager and young adult, I remember being involved in several VBS-type ministries known as Backyard Bible Clubs and Big A Clubs. These clubs were a simplified or scaled-down version of VBS and were an effective way of reaching families – many of which would never attend an event on a church campus.

During all the years since, the concept of Backyard Bible Club (BBC for short) has survived mostly in connection to mission trips. But a new wind is blowing, and the concept of BBCs is experiencing revival all across the country – especially by larger congregations that have a regional influence beyond an individual neighborhood or community.

Once it was thought that BBCs were staffed by a couple of people and primarily attended by a dozen or so kids who lived within view of the designated yard. This trend is changing as more and more BBCs are becoming evangelistic outposts for entire neighborhoods.

Recently I had the privilege of visiting a BBC not far from my own neighborhood. Four years ago the Club registered approximately 12. The next year, 20. Around 40 the third year. And this year – drum roll please – over 60 kids and adults descended nightly on the front yard, backyard, garage, and bonus room of the Nashville area home of Vicki Hulsey.

While Miss Vicki (all polite Southern children refer to their female neighbors as “Miss”) generously opens her home for the annual BBC, she has extended the evangelistic potential by gathering the children and their families throughout the year for other neighborhood activities and parties. Her home has become a true outpost of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church.

This story is phenomenal so stay turned for more.

For now I would like to hear your BBC stories. You can share them here or send them to me at jerry.wooley@lifeway.com.

In 2013 we are introducing Backyard Kids Club as a new component to Colossal Coaster World. We will be telling you more about this exciting ministry resource in days to come. So again, stay tuned!

Foto Friday…product testing!

One of the joys of my job is getting to test some potential VBS products and promotional samples. Not all of the samples become actual VBS products and some change from what we initially see to the final product. Occasionally I get my daughter to help me! So, with that said, enjoy!
These are just a few samples of things we looked at. They may not necessarily become a promotional product.

My daughter testing some glasses. Do you think they are TOO big?

What do you think about my new glasses? TOO flashy?

I gotta run to catch the next ride! ! !

Rhonda and Carol “modeling” some sample shirts.

EDIT: the shirts are prototypes for the leader shirt. It will be solid color (not the 2 tone. ..believe me, we were surprised when that one came in!) with the coaster car coming down into the pocket. As for the material, they are actually very breathable and a light material. Also, don’t worry, will have the t-shirt too!

Finally, I missed posting Rhonda’s theme park photo from last week and I wanted to make sure you had to opportunity to enjoy her family at Sea World! What a bunch of nuts! lol!

Have a blessed day!