Introducing Our VBS 2013 Song Writers

Seldom does a day go by without someone making a comment about VBS music. Just moments ago I had a conversation with Mary, a precious children’s minister who was having lunch in the LifeWay café. She wanted me to know how much she and the kids love the music from VBS 2011, and how she continues to use it every week as the kids are arriving for Wednesday evening activities. What would VBS be without music? Its words and melodies take up residence in our hearts and souls.

It is a great joy to introduce the creators of LifeWay’s VBS 2013 music.

Paul Marino

For more than 20 years, Paul has been quietly making a name for himself in music. His expertise and experience makes him one of the top consultants in the areas of producing, writing, publishing, leading worship, and concert performance.

As a songwriter, Paul has penned many chart-topping hits, including 16 top ten national radio singles. He wrote the theme song for the movie “Road to Redemption,” produced by Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures. Pal has been a songwriter for LifeWay Church Resources since 2004. He was named LifeWay songwriter of the year for 2010 and 2011. You can find his songs on various LifeWay projects.

As a performer, Paul has sung with the vocal trio, River, for the past 20 years, serving as the group’s producer, vocalist and primary songwriter. River has performed over 1,500 concerts across the glob and amassed many top ten national radio hits. It was real-life experiences with churches of all sizes and denominations that have given Paul the insight needed to help artists hone their craft and define their ministries.

Paul’s production abilities began to be noticed by up-and-coming artists who wanted a producer that not only crafted with proven excellence, but that also cared about their ministry. Paul also added his producing skills to many of the songs recorded for

Paul lives in Brentwood, Tennessee with his wife Karolyn, and children Elias, Mikiah, and Lila.

Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy is a full-time songwriter for LifeWay Worship Music Group.

Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Jeremy moved to Nashville in 1994 to attend Belmont University. He signed an exclusive publishing contract with LifeWay in 2004 when his songs gained the attention of producer/songwriter Greg Nelson.

Since signing with LifeWay, Jeremy’s songs have been recorded by Steve Green, Michael English, Michael W. Smith, Elliott Yamin (American Idol), Brian Free and Assurance, and featured in over 200 choral and print projects.

Three of Jeremy’s songs were included in the 2008 Baptist Hymnal.

Jeremy lives in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee, with his wife, Maribeth, and their new little boy, Keyes.

I am honored to welcome Paul and Jeremy to LifeWay’s VBS team.

You’re first opportunity to hear their excellent work will be during the June 4 VBS 2013 theme announcement. Stay tuned!

24 thoughts on “Introducing Our VBS 2013 Song Writers

  1. Thanks for introducing us!!! Welcome Paul and Jeremy!!! I can’t wait to hear what God gives ya’ll to share with us!!!

  2. I just know that the leading comment from “Mary”, in the beginning of this post, had to mention Jeff Slaughter! He will be greatly missed. What big shoes to fill!!
    I hope the music going forward from Lifeway VBS, is as good as Jeff’s.
    Many prayers concerning that one! That is truly one hard act to follow.

  3. I understand the conflict now sure these guys are great ..i always say dont fix it if aint broke and jeff has done an amazing job. im sure we will like these guys but i dont believe the hirt was worth it ,and im sure all the fans are more upset than jeff . Jeremy is a full-time songwriter for (LifeWay) Worship Music Group.Pal has been a songwriter for LifeWay Church Resources since 2004. He was named (LifeWay) songwriter of the year for 2010 and 2011. not employed by life way Jeff is not good at lifeway vbs songs He is lifeway vbs songs . just because he is not employed by lifeway they should not drop him ,that is the sad part. Im sure we will love these guy and they are good it is obvious but it will never be the same jeff took what you drop in his lap 16 years ago and made it work like no bodyever thought . I know it is not the vbs team there and it not that these guys are anything bad but we all love jeff and we pay for lifeways success so why not give the people what they want and pay for ? love in christ just wanted to share my thoughts in love . love you guys all.. jason smith living springs baptist church 13 yr vbs director

  4. Everyone involved at Lifeway are our brothers and sisters in Christ – this is their ministry so lets live out Heb.10:24 Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Lets pray for them and encourage them!

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments and your prayers. You are appreciated. Just to clarify, like other artist who write music, create teaching pictures, and write curriculum for LifeWay, Paul and Jeremy are contracted for the specific projects and are not employees.

  6. I am just as dissapointed as everyone that Jeff will not be doing the VBS music going forward. BUT…we must all keep in mind that, it was not Jeff who wrote these songs, it was GOD! Jeff has always shared how God would lay on his heart what to write. You know they were from Him.
    The important thing is that these new guys have the heart for the Lord like Jeff had to listen & hear His voice leading. (I sill miss Jeff. Saw him at the VBS Preview!. First one I went to & glad I did with Jeff leaving.)

  7. I also wanted to add that God will use these two like He did Jeff, but in there own unique style. We, as humans dont like change, but God has seasons, Just a note tho, I noticed it took two to replace him. LOL.

  8. We know we can count on LifeWay to give us just what God knows we will need for that moment in time……Looking forward to seeing what God will do through you in the lives of children and those of us who are blessed to spend our lives with them!

  9. Everyone who is concerned about Jeff Slaughter needs to realize that sometimes change is necessary for God’s work to get done. Jeff wasn’t “let go”, “fired” or “dropped”. God is leading him in another direction. Please, before commenting on blogs like this, inform yourselves. Check out Jeff’s blog at and the Lifeway VBS blog from Dec. 1, 2011

    I cannot wait to hear the music that these guys come up with for 2013 VBS! It will be different than what we are used to, but God will work through these songwriters to create great VBS songs!

  10. There is no mention of their work in writing music for children. What background experience do they have in this area with children? Are there any works that we can listen to that target children?

  11. Looking forward to their work for the Lord – hope you guys can remember all those motions!!

  12. I’m just curious why you didn’t choose people with backgrounds in children’s music? I’m sure they are well qualified to write music, but there are plenty of great children’s ministry people who have great skill in kids music and that is something that I’ve felt could be improved. Just my 2cents.

  13. The music & video’s that Jeff produced was the main reason I never looked at any other VBS curriculum. Jeff always made it very easy & fun for the kids to learn the music & motions on the video’s especially the fast upbeat songs that the kids love. I am so worried that the next VBS will not have the same quality of music & video’s that Jeff did.
    I hope the format that has been used for years with Jeff will not change. I also hope that “YES to VBS” will continue to be on the CD/DVD the kids ask for it every year!

  14. Wow. I am sure going to miss Jeff’s hand in VBS. The children love the music, their parent’s love it, teenager’s love it and we all sing the songs for years afterwards. I truly love the heart Jeff has for kids and for music. Every year I know I’m going to love the songs because Jeff wrote them and it’s become a laugh in my household waiting to see what choreography Jeff is going to have us do this year!! Even on video as he leads us through the actions, his love of children and for what he does just shines through. May God continue to lead your steps Jeff as you seek His continued Will for your life.
    Jeremy and Paul – you have big shoes to fill but we will be praying that God Will lead your steps and guide you, just as He did Jeff’s, in ministering not just to children but to all who hear the songs.
    Moneen W of Bow Valley Baptist Church, Cochrane, AB Canada

  15. I feel like an old friend is moving away with the departure of Jeff Slaughter. What wonderful memories he helped create with years of VBS-ers. I’m just wondering if there will still be choreography? The kids absolutely love that! It is the highlight of the week.

  16. Just finished this years VBS and looking to next year and found out that Jeff wasn’t doing the music. I am heart-broken. My kids love him and his music.

  17. I usually start teaching the VBS music to my children’s choir, and I must say that they do not enjoy the music for the 2013 VBS. I really hate this because they begin getting excited about learning it early. I really think that Lifeway dropped the ball on this one.

  18. Oh my, just got back from our first night of VBS. I’m really sad that Jeff is not doing the music, not so much excitement for 2013 songs :(

  19. Just for clarification, it’s not that the songs are bad. I just think you need someone on the instructional videos that seems more spirit filled and inspirational for the kids.

  20. I agree with Melissa…the songs are ok. While the instructional video is clear and easy to follow, there isn’t the enthusiasm we are are used to. Also, one of the highlights in previous VBS music was a little “fancy foot work”. That is missing this year. The motions seem too repetitive and down right boring sometimes. I do like “Stand Strong”. It is my favorite this year. My comments aren’t meant to discourage or condemn, but I feel like Lifeway needs to know how the users of their product feel about it. I’m sure everyone put their all into this year’s music. It’s just a difficult transition from what we are used to.

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