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.

16 thoughts on “VBS 2014? Really?

  1. We use both the preschool and children’s mission rotation and have for at least the past 7 years. The Children’s mission rotation is used in a group setting during closing worship rally (grades 1-6). The preschool is done in a rotation site in conjunction with their music rotation. We love having both mission rotations.
    We sometimes incorporate the hands-on project but a lot of times we have our own church mission trips/projects going on and will do that as our VBS mission project. For example, we have brought in school supplies for a inner-city mission in East St. Louis before b/c we personally know the missionaries who serve there. This year our church has partnered with a missionary in Montreal and our VBS missions offering went to buy bunkbeds for the mission house there in Montreal.

  2. We use the mission videos as part of the worship rally (except for Wednesday). At one time we had a separate mission stop on the rotation. Due to time pressures on a 2 hour 15 minute evening VBS, we found it worked better to move the video back to the opening worship rally.

    On Wednesday night we replace the mission video with a gospel presentation for everyone first grade and above. Since we have a six night VBS the students see all five videos. I edit one of the videos down to two minutes or less and show it during the Missionary Moments spot in our Sunday morning worship service at the other end of VBS week.

    We skip the VBS video adventure that is on the worship rally DVD. The stories of real missionaries make for a great adventure.

    If memory serves me correct, the 2011 missions DVD had more than five videos. The extra videos were edited to two minutes or less and used during the Missionary Moments portion of our Sunday morning worship services.

  3. We do use the Missions for both and will continue because that is what we are teaching our children, to be on a Mission for God through VBS. Now if I may make a suggestion for a theme (which I know you have many), I would love to see you do a military one to honor those who serve not only us, but who usually “find” God in the mist of warfare. Thanks for all the wonderful years of themes.

  4. We have used the Missions rotation every since it was first included. We use it for 1st-6th grades. I believe the Preschool rotation uses it as well. We have our classes divided right now as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 5th and 6th. This changes according to class size. Our largest missions class the last two years has been 3rd and 4th and averaged about 40-45, which is crowded in our classroom. As the VBS missions leader, I try to make our classroom a place they look forward to come to. The challenge to me in teaching missions (which as a Mission Friends leader for 10 years and currently a GA leader for 15+years)is passing on a heart for missions, even when you are teaching children who know very little about God. The format of the VBS Missions rotation helps in this by linking to what is being taught in Bible Study rotation. The videos are interesting-as long as they are not treating the children like they are babies. There have been a few like that-my kids didn’t like those. This year’s had some that really kept their attention: The Alaska, the USS Enterprise and the deaf ministry stuck with them.. When the focus is on locations that are similar, they mix them up. For the most part the activities are good. The children enjoy them, however we have the challenge of playing some of the games in a crowded space. They enjoy activities that are about the mission locations. I just wish we had more time-we have about 20 minutes. When the video is more than 4 minutes we barely have time to watch it and discuss. We can’t do the activities.
    I like when the stories fit the theme, because it has been hard to get the kids to understand why the theme is about one place, but we only hear about that place one day-then we “go” to somewhere else every other day. We have made it work, but the general theme of using a plane, helicopter,etc. to do their missions work helped. Putting the kit items on back of each other is annoying, but I understand it is a paper, money saving measure.
    We had never used the suggested missions project until this year. We also have our own mission efforts our church supports. The main reason we have not used the suggestion is it usually is not practical size or money wise for our church.
    Every year I make use of the missionary updates you post online-thanks! The kids look forward to seeing how our room is decorated-don’t worry we prepare the teaching content first! The last couple of years have been a major challenge! We have not been happy with the theme for the missions rotation-at least as far as the decoration goes. I like the room to make the kids feel like they are in another place-where they will learn about the missions work and culture in that area. When we were on a ship or plane we set sail or take off to these places. We went to the mountaintop this year, but the northern lights were very hard to make! The themes are fun, but it seems like missions rotation is an afterthought. Speaking of which, next year’s doesn’t get me excited (not the missions rotation).
    I know this was a long reply and may not have answered your questions. Please know that your work is greatly appreciated and you are prayed for. So many churches have had to do away with the missions rotation or adjust it for different reasons. We are blessed at my church that missions is given high priority.
    Thanks for all you do and for “listening”!

  5. we combine mission rotation with music rotation. we have done the missions at the closing worship . the hardest part is planning the rotation schedule so it works best for ours to combine.

  6. We have missions at our closing rally and combine 4 yrs through 6th grade. We use the video and maybe one activity that is appropriate for a large group. We don’t use it as a rotation site due to time limitations. We use our own mission projects for local groups. This year we collected 650 items for Good Sam who provides food for needy families in our community. We also use our offering for mission projects. This year we collected over $650 for a local “boot camp” program which helps teens who have been in legal trouble and/or are failing school. Thank you for all that you do to make it work for all of us!

  7. My church had not been using the Missions Rotation at all. I started implementing it into the Children’s Church Materials during the weeks before VBS. We usually don’t actually go into that location then because the mutipurpose room can’t be decorated VBS for that many weeks. The teachers will quickly refer to the bible story, the video is watched, some discussion, bible verse reveiwed and at least one game is played. We then have them watch the Rally DVD to try to do the song that goes along with the theme for the day. We do not have a music program here for them to learn the songs before. It has helped some also with getting out the word of VBS because of the visitors who do not know what VBS is. Our offering is done for something that is a focus of the church instead of a mission project.

  8. This was my first year to use Lifeway for VBS and we LOVED everything about it!! Missions was awesome– I loved the kids being able to see different places. We have one deaf college age girl and 2 girls who sign to her— this mission was awesome in the fact that the kids could relate to her and she could teach them signing. That has also been really special about the music rotation. People who feel they couldn’t help before prospered in these 2 rotations with signing. Amazing!! The people I put in charge of missions are people who have been on a mission trip. This also helps kids relate. As far as the the materials go for what we did we watched the video, had discussion, we premade a lot of stuff to help make the activity easier. But that parachute thing was insane!!! We had to scrap that completely. We did an offering at the opening rally each night. The boys had a jar and the girls. We raised money for one of our missionaries in Africa who helps kids. The kids raised over $1000!!! We made it into a competition. If the girls raised the most, our male mission rotation leader got a pie in the face. If the boys won, then our girl mission rotation leader got a pie in the face. The girls won :)
    Missions was only used for our kids who finished kinder-finished 3rd grade. We couldn’t make it fit in VBX. I absolutely love yalls VBS!!! Thank you!!!!

  9. We do the missions rotation as a large group to close each day (open as a large group for Worship Rally). We have to modify the games and hands-on part (basically I select a few kids from each class to come on stage and play the game while the others cheer them on). We use the hands-on project and made it a competition between the boys and girls this year. Would have loved to have been provided with more information on shipping options, etc. Or just ideas from the people of Kotzebue on what works best for them to receive the materials. We collect Missions offering during worship rally but continue to emphasize it during missions rotation. I try to have a “take home” each day (streamer/penny for northern lights; snowshoe with “pray for the people of Kotzebe”, etc.) We love our missions!

  10. We’ve done the Missions Rotation every year. Most years we only let Kindergarteners through 6th grade go to the rotation because of the difficulty of holding the attention of the 3 & 4 year olds. About three years ago, we did an experiment and ordered the preschool rotation pack and decided to let the 3 & 4 year olds go to Missions Rotation. The preschool pack helped tremendously and it gave the teachers a little more of a break by adding another site to their rotations. What made it so good was the Missions teacher started off the week teaching the same missionary story to both preschool and older children. The preschool stayed on that missionary for two days before moving on to the next one and then picked up the same missionary story that the children were on and stayed on that story for two days and then picked up on the last missionary. The next year however, the teacher assumed the preschool pack would follow the same pattern as the year before and as she was preparing the activities and prayer reminders, she planned for the preschool to use the same things. She was surprised to fine when she opened the preschool pack to prepare the activities, the first day mission story was not the same. That meant double work and double study. She had to learn two stories and prepare different activities. That would not have been a problem if the preschool mission’s teacher was a different one than the children’s mission teacher. My suggestion would be…to at least start the week off with both the materials (preschool rotation pack & children’s rotation) being on the same missionary. The first day of VBS is always so hectic and a little behind schedule in most cases. It would help the mission leader who does both age groups to start off the week with a little less stress as they figure out what works and what doesn’t without having to remember two missionaries and two mission stories. I did not hear if the mission leader used the preschool pack this year and if there were any issues with it. One more thing, our VBX teacher this year wanted to keep her class in her room for missions. She let the preteens watch the mission videos while eating their snacks and then had some discussion and they really seemed to get into the stories this year. They loved it that so many of the missionaries had to use some type of aviation in their work. Thank you to you and your team for all the work you do to make VBS so awesome!

  11. I have been teaching the preschool music VBS for years. I wish lifeway would incorporate more music games for the preschooler. We sing our songs that we will sing on family night and I have to think of things to do with the preschoolers to finish our time out. We have 20 minutes of music. It would be nice to have music games already planned out for us. I spend hours trying to think of music games to match our theme. I would also like to see a Circus theme or Zoo theme. Thanks I love ♥♥♥ VBS

  12. We use the missions rotation for all ages and our mission center is always the favorite stop for the kids. Every year we partner with Operation Christmas Child as our mission emphasis (in regard to offering).

  13. We use the missions rotation as a standard rotation during our VBS. We particularly like the videos – they really bring missions alive for our kids! Our Missions director always sponsors a “mission project” that is separate from our VBS offering. We try to keep it simple and kid-focused, this year was collecting school supplies for a neighboring area. One of our kids decided that she is being called into mission work after viewing the 2012 videos!

  14. Our church does a M-F 3 hours evening VBS. In that time, we have a 30 minute chapel where we learn the theme song, the ballad and the ABC song to sing and sign as a large group. Then the students dismiss to Bible study time for 45 minutes and go to classes by age/grade level (Pre-K – 5th grade). After that, we group K & 1st, 2nd & 3rd and 4th and 5th together and they rotate through 3 thirty minute sessions of Music/Recreation, Missions/Snack, and Crafts. Pre-K has their own brief time in Missions during the other groups’ Bible study time. Then we end up all back together again in Chapel to sing the large group songs again, do the prize drawing, announcements and dismissal. During the week, usually on MWF, we have music during one rotation and on T, TH we have recreation outdoors. Since we are in Florida, you can never tell about the weather, so these days are always flexible. During each groups’ music time, I teach the other 3 songs, one to each group and that is the song their group performs during Family Night before receiving their certificates. As far as the Missions rotation goes, we do not do the Mission Offering that is suggested, we always do our own to a ministry in the area or sometimes in another country where we know either the missionaries or have been there on mission. Generally, the students come into our Kids’ Connection room (where one whole wall is the projection screen), they get their brown bag dinner and eat, and while finishing up, the video goes on and at the end of the time, there are questions/games/activities that reinforce the theme for the day. Our missions teacher is a gifted public school teacher and she is able to make the story/video work for all grade levels. That part is a difficulty I know and the fact that pre-schoolers just don’t have any idea what they are watching and get bored easily. We have same problem with the action video that we show during the chapel service Tues- Fri nights with the finale on Sunday during Family Night.

  15. I have been teaching Missions Rotation since Rickshaw Rally. LOVE IT! One thing I have said since then is I wish we had a packet (like Bible Study) to go with the missions leader’s book. So, when you guys added the insert pictures and maps it has been a huge help!! Lots of kids are visual learners, and having something to show them helps. Activities are as time allows because we only have 15-20 minutes if we are lucky. Re-enforcing the Bible Study content is great and the review questions and activities are a great tool to help drive home what they have just heard.
    I teach Missions Rotation in our local association also, and found that trying to buy the stuff for all the activities for each day to deomonstrate for my clinic becomes a little expensive. So it’s a pick and choose what I have to show them and have to explain the rest as I can. Sometimes it takes me a bit to figure out some of the activities. The directions have been a little sketchy, but over all good. I love VBS and Missions, and can’t wait to see the great things that is in store! Praying for you guys, and you will do a great job, as always!

  16. We always do missions and it is a part of our normal rotation schedule. We rotate in all the children’s classes that go through normal rotations. We also rotate in our VBX class and our Youth class (who do not attend any other rotation since they are self contained in their classes). For preschoolers, I give the preschool missions packet to one of our assistant VBS teachers in that older preschool class. They use it during their class time before rotating to crafts and music.
    For the last three years we have participated in the suggested ministry project. OCC was a great one for us since our church already participates in that ministry. At the end we just held on to our completed boxes and put them in with our church’s collections later that year. The BGR Kits for Kids were fun to do, but living in the West, it cost us an arm and a leg to ship them. Having this one on the West Coast this year should be slightly less to ship things (and ramen noodles are lighter than notebooks). My biggest suggestion is to request lighter items or to give us an East coast option as well as a West coast option so shipping costs can be kept to a minimum.

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