Youth VBS 2012: The Race – Experiencing God’s Amazing Power

This is Jeff Land! It’s my first time getting to post on the VBS blog! I don’t have one of those super-cool, black-and-white headshots like the other VBS bloggers have, so I decided to make my own. I love VBS. For those of your VBS Geeks of the Week, you might remember me from a LifeWay VBS conference when I teach preteen conferences for VBX!

I’m diverting from my usual talk about preteens, to talk to you about Youth VBS. My publishing team has recently been given the opportunity to produce Youth VBS for 2013 and I’m so excited about taking you all on an adventure to … wait, I bet you thought you had me didn’t you. I wasn’t about to get the VBS team after me by accidentally telling you that the theme is … no way, I’m not going to go there.

I wanted to tell you a little about this year’s VBS and then get some information from you. This year, youth will experience a race around the world to some of God’s amazing wonders. Youth will be challenged to trust God in all circumstances. For a complete list of the biblical content go here.

Its time to talk about VBS 2013. Like I said earlier, the theme is … Would you quit it? You could seriously get me fired. While I can’t tell you the theme, I can tell you that we are working hard on it! I can also tell you that I’m trying to add my own personal spin on it. You see, I want lots of people to use this resource because I want lots of youth to know about Jesus Christ! Don’t you? So, if you wouldn’t mind helping me out a little bit, I’ve got a few questions for you!

1. Does your church use Youth VBS?

2. If so, how does your church use it? Do they use it at the same time as your children’s VBS, before VBS, or after VBS?

3. If your church doesn’t use it? Why not? What would make Youth VBS more appealing? (Personal note: I think that doing Youth VBS doesn’t have to take away youth workers, you could do it before VBS as a training or after as a Sunday night program for the summers. Wait, maybe that is more of a marketing push than a personal note!)

4. If you have used youth VBS, what do you love about it and what you wish would change?

Those are all my questions for now, but if you think of anything else, let me know. I love getting feedback!

Did I mention that one commenter is going to receive a special prize? So please respond and help me out! Tell me how we can make Youth VBS something that every church in America raves about!  Contest ends Friday, April 13th at 3pm CST.

26 thoughts on “Youth VBS 2012: The Race – Experiencing God’s Amazing Power

  1. 1. No
    3. We would not be able to do VBS with out our youth so we focus more on the kids than the youth.
    4. We would love to use the youth material, but for right now, it doesn’t work for our church.

  2. 1. YES
    2. For 5 Sunday nights before our children’s VBS we have Youth VBS and Adult VBS! Our youth get pumped up for children’s VBS and feel they are important to have their own VBS! This year we are having a Kick Off Amazing Race for the Youth – similar to the tv show!
    3. NA
    4. So far….so great!

  3. 1. Yes, we use the Youth VBS
    2. We do youth VBS along with the children’s. We have our own schedule and sometimes do off campus field trips that go along with the theme.
    4. I love the flexibility of using it to work with youth. They are at that age where VBS seems childish and we have to work extra hard to make it fun and appealing. A lot of our older youth work with the younger children, so we have mainly our younger youth and a few older ones who are willing to be mentors. The lessons are great, however they are usually so packed that it’s hard to get it all in during our time allowance. I agree that a music/drama package just for youth would be great!

  4. 1. Yes
    2. We have the Youth VBS the same week.
    4. Would LOVE to see clip art and promotional items for Youth.

  5. 1. Yes, we do use the youth vbs.
    2. We do VBS for little bitty folks all the way to adults at the same time. Youth most times is our largest group.
    4. We like the fact that it does go along with the rest of the vbs material, everyone is on the same wave length and therefore able to relate to all that is going on the entire week. It is difficult to get all the info included in due to time, and we do not purchase student books only the teacher book.

  6. 1. Yes we do.
    2. Our youth meet the same time as our children, but on a slightly different schedule.
    3. Improve: it would be nice to have some theme-related decorations for purchase that are designed more for the Youth curriculum. As someone else posted, music geared toward youth would be great too!
    4. Though I have not taught the youth class, as a director I like the craft/rec/mission options in the back of the leader guide. I’ve seen some neat ideas in there over the past few years.

  7. We use the Youth VBS at the the same time as regular VBS. I’m co-teaching it with my husband for the first time this year so I don’t have much feedback about it yet but we’re really excited about it.

  8. at this time our VBS stops at 5th grade but i think this is a fantastic idea!!! if we were to do something like that it would be great for Sunday nights during the summer.

  9. This summer will be our 6th year doing Youth VBS. We typically hold it on the last full week of July just before school starts back as our big summer close out event. It has been a great outreach for our youth ministry as we have had students saved at each youth vbs. Our children’s VBS is in June but our student ministry is so busy with camp, etc that not many of our students help with children’s VBS. I really like the flexibility of the curriculum and how it has improved over the last few years. All in all, I’ve done Youth VBS for the past 8 or 9 years. Our students are not big into the student book even though we provide them. It’s always hit and miss. One year they will read them and one year they won’t. I’m not sure what the switch is though.

    We have a lot of fun with our Youth VBS. We always have a ministry project we support whether it’s a penny war, food collection, or school supplies distribution, we find a way to incorporate missions/ministry into our week. We have brought in different bands for worship and last year we held a small carnival.

    If interested fee free to check out for an idea of what we do for Youth VBS. I know it seems like shameless plug but for those who have not done it before, it may help to see a visual of what it looks like for one group.

  10. This is our 1st year to use the Youth VBS materials & my husband and I are co-teaching this age group.
    1. I would love to see a DVD of short videos that could be shown with the materials too….with a wide variety of genres…serious, comedy, music, etc.
    2. Like someone else mentioned….music geared specifically to the youth age would be awesome!
    3. We are giving away an iTunes gift card to the youth member who brings the most visitors to our class throughout the week to encourage them to invite friends to VBS (at an age when VBS may not be “cool”).
    4. I would love to see more decoration ideas for youth age.
    5. From what we’ve seen of this material, we LOVE the Bible story presentation and how it “gets them in the Word” themselves instead of us just talking the whole time!

  11. We have Youth VBS at the same time as Pre-K to adult. We do not allow “youth” (7-12 grade) to serve as assistant teachers to younger grades, encouraging them to participate in youth VBS. We do not use the youth VBS shirts, our youth use the regular theme shirts. I would like the Youth theme to be directed for youth, however also tied back in to the main theme. For a small church, we cant really theme around the AWA/hangar/rotation sites as well as the ‘amazing race’ theme. Really like the bible stories, would like to see video clips or more real-life application for this age group.

  12. We have used youth VBS materials in the past, but we are not planning to have Youth VBS this year. I LOVE that the material is very relevant for today’s youth and young adults! When we have done Youth VBS, we have done it many ways – one year in the daytime for our Youth who were workers during the evening VBS (the same day)… that worked out really well!!
    The main reason we are not planning to do Youth VBS this summer is that our church is small and our youth “group” is only 2 kids. We will use VBX for grades 5-8 and Adult VBS for 9th grade and up. If we reach a lot of Middle and High schoolers, we will do a Youth VBS over Winter Break.

  13. 1.YES!
    2. D-Now weekend in February! (It was fantastic! You can ‘fan’ GBC Youth Ministries on FaceBook for pics of the event.) 2 sister churches joined us, we had a band, the whole thing. Oh, how I LOVE getting into the VBS material that early in the year!!

    4. The books are BEAUTIFUL! We love it :) Include more ideas for worship options (song suggestions). Perhaps some more theme-related recreation games, ex: specific scavenger hunt ideas. Please, please, please expand this curriculum: think promotional material, decor, more clip art, music. I would LOVE if you could expand VBS Tools to have a Youth VBS option/theme. We have to use a third party email marketing/database/website…it would be awesome if I could keep using VBS Tools!

  14. -Yes, our church holds a special Youth VBS every year.
    -First, we hold VBS for 4 yrs through 6th grade and adults over one week during June. Our youth serve as volunteers in this VBS. In July, we have a special 2 day Youth VBS. We pack the entire week’s worth of activities and lessons into those two days. It’s really hectic but the youth like the fast pace.
    -I love being able to spend some quality time with our Youth during Youth VBS. We make memories that last a lifetime. Last year, I didn’t feel the lessons were really reaching out and grabbing the Youth. Also, I usually have to come up with my own crafts because I feel the crafts that are offered aren’t mature enough and/or fun enough.
    -I would love to see Bible lessons that are brought to life for the youth from a modern day perspective. I would also like crafts that use lots of fun materials. For example, I changed one of the crafts one year to making sand art inside of glass bottles. The youth couldn’t get enough of it. I also had them decorate their own pot and plant something in it one year. Things like this really appeal to them. I would love it if there was a special song just for the Youth that they could call their own.

  15. Pingback: Foto Friday…Idea Bank | LifeWay VBS Blog

  16. No, our church does not use the youth vbs.Wish we did. I have looked at it and really like this years. Our youth help out with our VBS for the children. I would like to see more products for the youth VBS. I think it would be easier for teachers and youth Minister to decorate and make the Youth VBS more appealing to the youth.

  17. My church does not use youth VBS. I didn’t even know it existed until this year. We’ve probably never used it either because people didn’t know it existed, “It’s never been done before”, and our church doesn’t have a dedicated youth pastor very often.

  18. We have tried keeping those pesky youth away from our VBS but they keep showing up! They attend the opening assembly and then head off for their own Bible study time, meal (we have evening VBS) and then some games. Who knew summer got so boring that they did not consider themselves too old for VBS? Seriously, VBS is a great opportunity for a week long youth event so if you are a VBS director, get your youth pastor or helpers on board with VBS. And the awesome thing, you can just hand them the wonderful material provided by Lifeway. In my humble opinion, if you leave out a youth class, you are missing out on a great opportunity for outreach!

  19. We haven’t since I’ve been at this church and now I am the VBS director and would love to have one this year even though my youth (my own children especially) have helped me the past couple of years but I think they stil need that discipling in these years more than ever. Be in prayer for us that we can draw not only our own youth from our church but more from our community.

  20. 1) We tried the Wednesday night study through the summer idea but it just didn’t work well for us. Too many of our youth are in and out all summer. This year we will be doing things in a different manner.
    2) We are going to use it as D-Now material for an intense weekend in May to help prepare our youth workers. A few of our youth went with the VBS directors to the training in Dallas. What a HUGE blessing that has been for us! The youth are pumped up and validated in their service. PLUS, they came home committed to a Youth VBS this year. They can’t wait for our D-Now weekend and my leaders have been really on board in helping to keep us moving forward. Their preparation for the kid’s VBS is really helping their mindset for the youth study. I can’t wait to see how God is going to use all of those things combined in their lives this summer!!!

  21. Just found this blog but I will put my 2 cents in anyway.
    1) We have used the Youth VBS the past three years. The numbers increased the second and third years. Even had come backs from the first year that don’t attend our church. they accepted Christ too!
    2)Both years it was the same time as the regular VBS. I know that worked out well for the Food workers.
    3) N/A
    4) We are separating it this year and even bringing in a band. Two reasons: To allow the youth some service time to help our growing regular VBS and to have an event just for them with Christian rock music, decor, etc. My students use the book for the lesson and then they are left under the chairs, etc. We may not even buy the books this year. Just have speakers to teach the lesson and maybe give them a one page handout if they need to write anything. What would make the program better would be some youth age crafts. Every year I scour the internet to find crafts they would be interested in doing. One year we did a leather belt. Worked on it all week. Last year we did the CD clocks, NY subway token keychains, T-shirts with sprayed(splattered) fabric paint. They loved the T-shirts.

  22. Hi there, this is Singapore speaking. Commenting only now as our academic year runs as per a calendar year, rather than mid-year in North America (which *always* gives us problems when we purchase material in June, getting ready for VBS at the year’s end… would you guys consider your Asia Pacific market please, and perhaps do a 2nd print run somewhere in May for us?)

    We’ve used the Lifeway VBS material for close to 10 years now, but we’ve never used the youth material as a camp as youth are an essential part of our volunteer workforce when running the VBS for 5-12yr olds.

    As a Sunday School teacher, I use the youth material as “pre-VBS training” for my class, to prepare them to serve in the camp. This allows them to familiarize themselves with the bible verses, without having to repeat it twice.

    Suggestions: as I’m using the youth material for training rather than a separate camp purpose, I’d like to see slightly more alignment with the video storylines. Right now the camp has three “threads” in my mind – (1) the 5 lessons telling of God’s amazing wonders in the Bible, (2) the “bully” storyline in the video, and (3) the amazing race storyline for youth. If the narratives were a little more cohesive, OR if they could be one scalable storyline, it would make it much easier to tailor and train up/down the age spectrum.

    I hope this helps. I know it’s late. Looking forward to next year’s theme! Gotta get through our camp in December 2012 first…

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