A Movement Called VBS

A few days ago I purchased my first pair of TOMS shoes – grey classics. Now I know some of you might be thinking I’m a little too old and definitely not hip enough to wear such shoes, but hey, you are as young as your feet feel, and mine are feeling exceedingly young today!

Upon opening the box I found a tag that proclaimed that I am now part of a movement and should share this information proudly! So I’m sharing.

I have bought plenty of shoes in my life, but this is the first pair that proclaimed me a member of a movement. My point here is not to promote a particular brand of shoes, so I’ll let you figure out the “movement” for yourself. What I do want to promote is the idea of a movement – or a group of people banding together to promote a commonly held belief or passion.

Vacation Bible School is a movement that began in 1898 when Mrs. Walker Hawes, a doctor’s wife from the East side of New York City, obediently responded to God’s call to minister to the neighborhood children who were in desperate need of organized activities.

Here we are 114 years later continuing not only the dream God planted in her heart, but continuing the passion of reaching boys and girls, teenagers, and adult for Jesus Christ through the ministry of VBS. The methods have changed over the years, but the message has thankfully remained the same.

Millions upon millions of people have been recipients of the message and have experienced a personal encounter with Jesus Christ as a result of the faithfulness of Mrs. Walker Hawes and the many – including you – who have followed in her footsteps.

You are part of a movement! Proclaim it proudly!

Social Media as a Ministry Tool: The Basics

Some of you may be thinking, “Social media!? There’s no way I can use that as a ministry tool. I’m too far behind already.” But guess what… if you are reading this blog post, you’re already more savvy than you think.

YOU are reading a blog post– and according to our data, chances are good that you got to this blog by Google searching for VBS or clicking on a link on Facebook or Twitter. So how can you use what you already know about the Internet to connect with your parents, volunteers, and community? Let me show you the way!

1) Just have a social media presence. There are many options to choose from, but Twitter and Facebook are the most commonly used social realms. I would say most parents use Facebook rather than Twitter. But determine what your parents and volunteers are using and sign up. Make sure it’s clear that the Facebook page or Twitter handle belongs to your ministry. Be sure to use a familiar logo so that users can easily identify the account as yours.

2) UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE! Twitter and Facebook are FREE ways to communicate–great tools! But those avenues are useless if you aren’t using them. Use your “status” to inform parents and volunteers of dates/times and ministry needs. Make sure that you update regularly and respond to questions from parents and volunteers.

A good example of a status update might be: “Amazing Wonders Aviation VBS kicks off in just one month!! We’re looking for excited volunteers to help us take flight! Interested? Let us know! ”

Interested volunteers could then interact with that status by responding and expressing their desire to help with VBS. This is especially helpful if you use youth and college students to help with VBS; most students that age are constantly receiving information from social media outlets!

Here are some other great examples:

“Don’t forget!! VBS volunteer training TONIGHT from 6-7pm in the Fellowship Hall. Can’t wait to see your smiling faces!”

“Registered to send your little camper to CentriKid yet? Deadline for registration is May 30th! Scholarships available. Contact Katie for more information.”

3) Have fun! It may surprise you how much fun social media can be. When you show excitement about your new-fangled tool, others will be excited to communicate with you. Enjoy “being part of the conversation” and engaging parents and volunteers in this way.

4) Follow US! If you’re on Facebook, make sure you check out the pages for LifeWay Kids, LifeWay VBS, CentriKid Camps, and LifeWay PreTeens. They’re great places to get updates about the latest stuff going on, ask questions and get in on the conversation with other folks in ministry. If you’re on Twitter, make sure to follow @lifewayvbs, @lifewaykids, @centrikidcamps, and our new curriculum, @gospel_project!

So there are the basics. Think you’re ready to get started? If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment here or email me: katie.decillo@lifeway.com. I’d love to help you out!

I’ll be back soon with more tips and tricks–stay tuned!



More VBS Decorating Ideas Coming Your Way

With VBS and camps just weeks away, we have some great tips and ideas to share on tomorrow’s Kids Ministry 101 Show.

Ann Oliver, preschool ministry leader from Paris, Tennessee, will share great preschool decorating ideas and fun extras for Amazing Wonders Aviation. Mark Jones, decorator extraordinaire from Oklahoma City, has AWA site ideas for even the most artistically challenged (which includes me).

CentriKid Camp specialists Jeremy Echols and Mary Carlisle will be on hand to help you get yourself and your kids ready for camp.

Also on the show will be Brian Haynes, author of Shift: What it Takes to Finally Reach Families Today, and Scott Kindig who will present three basic strategies parents and the church need to raise radical kids.

Join us tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Central at lifeway.com/kidsministry101show.

We’ll be looking for you.

Difficulty With VBS Decorations? Problem Solved!

Decorating for Vacation Bible School can be the most challenging part of teaching VBS. Many years I watched my mom direct a class for VBS at our church. She would agonize over the decorations. She told me on many occasions, that teaching the Bible and explaining God’s plan of salvation to children was her favorite part and consequently the easiest part for her. She was always searching for helpers that liked the decorating because that was the most challenging.

The last VBS she taught (Game Day Central) I was not asked but rather instructed to bring whatever decorations I had and meet at her classroom where she and her teachers would help me set up her room. She said it sweetly but also directly. Of course, I was there at the appointed time and the decorations were hung and smiles light up their faces. That year I remember three children were saved in her class. Later she graduated to serving snacks and now has graduated to Heaven where I am sure she heard Jesus say, “Good and Faithful Servant.”

Maybe you have a mentor like I did. Mom tackled difficult jobs, recruited help and shared the gospel. Yes, she was frustrated at times but never a quitter. She never whined or complained but rather found the help needed and cheered others on to accomplish great things. Today, I want to cheer you on to accomplish great things too. Decorations might be a mountain that doesn’t seem possible to overcome but there are adults and teens in your church that would never consider this a challenge. Maybe they can’t be present at VBS due to work schedules but they can help you create props and decorations if you asked. Don’t be shy. The Lord fits the Body together perfectly and gives us gifts that will assist in the mission. Look around and see who can help make your classroom a success with decorations so you can welcome kids to hear the gospel.

I have created a simple instruction guide for creating the VBS decorations. Please visit my website http://www.mrmarksclassroom.com for printed instructions, photos and short instructional video clips. Maybe this will give your leaders ideas that are easy and affordable. Remember the task is not only making these decorations but also storing them. Seems like we can often use props and backdrops from previous years if we can store them. Think ahead where the items will be stored so you make it fit the space. Painting on bed sheets and using items like collapsible hampers, foam core board, and PVC pipe will allow you more options for storage. You can forward these ideas to your friends and enlisted helpers making decorations. You can also subscribe to this free site to get regular helps for teaching boys and girls.

Thanks to Mark Jones, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, for today’s post and for being a VBS Decorator Extraordinaire!

Foto Friday. . .Clip Art Central!

I’ve been checking over the number of views on our VBS blog and it’s been fun seeing what you have been viewing and what seems to be the popular subjects. Theme reveal or anything involving 2013’s theme seems to be popular.

The clip art blogs seem to be very popular! So I thought I would create this blog to become a “one-stop” location for the clip art. Below you find links to all the clip art blogs I have created for VBS 2012, Amazing Wonders Aviation. I hope this helps!

Continue reading

Door hanger Template

Hi guys, I fielded a question regarding our VBS 2013 Door hanger template that is usually online in our downloadable section of the website. Unfortunately it’s not there yet, so I wanted to post it on the blog in the meantime. :)

We changed the designed this year, so the old template will no longer work.

Here are the templates! Enjoy!



Template Instructions


Hi guys, Keith again.  I noticed a function was not working correctly on the 12_Door_Hanger_TEMPLATE_2 and so I have gone back in to fix it. If you downloaded it before today (March 6, 2012), the file will not work correctly. Thanks all!

Pilot Monologue

So many people have asked for a copy of the pilot monologue that was presented during Worship Rally at the VBS Preview events that we decided to post it here on our blog. The monologue gives a brief overview of the Bible content for each day of Amazing Wonders Aviation. Feel free to use it during your associational or church VBS training or in promotion of VBS in your own church!

Interesting fact: The “flight log entries” were taken from actual entries in a real pilot’s flight log from the 1960s.

[[Costume: aviator goggles, cap, scarf, and bomber jacket. Pilot enters, carrying flight log.]]

Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to be a pilot. My granddaddy was a pilot, so I guess it’s just in my blood. I can remember listening to him tell stories of the incredible places he’d been and thinking, “one day I’m gonna see those things for myself.” I have all of his old flight logs and I love flipping through them and reading the little notes he wrote next to each trip. Sometimes the notes are just the name of a person he ferried from one place to another. Sometimes they detail damage to the plane or repairs that were needed. But sometimes the notes seem to capture the moment of what he was experiencing from the cockpit.

Take this one… September 9th, 1932… “Rainbow & rain over Grand Canyon. Awesome sight. Awesome Creator.” Then later “Extreme turbulence & blowing dust to see Cedar Breaks & Bryce Canyons. Safely through by His hand.” Those few simple words are a reminder to me of an amazing God who has awesome power over nature. [[Day 1]] When the Israelites were preparing to enter the promised land, one thing stood between where they were and where they wanted to be… a wildly rushing river at flood stage. But the God of all creation stopped the water from flowing and the people crossed safely on dry ground. Amazing!

Let’s look at another one. April 22, 1934… “Heavy fog & limited visibility. Sudden hail storm & extensive damage to No. 2 engine forces emergency landing. God protected.” You can check and recheck every piece of equipment and weather conditions and sometimes circumstances are just out of your control. [[Day 2]] But I know there is a God who has power over circumstances! Daniel found himself in a situation out of his control. He landed himself in a lion’s den by praying to God instead of the king. But God closed the mouths of the lions and protected Daniel. Amazing!

But you know, the most amazing thing to me is that God has power over sin and over death. [[Day 3]] Remember that rainbow my grandfather saw over the Grand Canyon? Well it is a reminder of a promise God once made. But you know, God made an even more important promise to mankind. He promised to send a Savior. It was His own Son, Jesus. Can’t you just imagine the looks on Simeon and Anna’s faces when they saw Baby Jesus in the temple that day? They recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promise! Now that’s amazing!

But the story didn’t end there. [[Day 4]] Jesus grew from a baby, to a boy, to a man. He lived a life without sin and yet was willing to pay the penalty for your sin and mine by dying on a cross. Then God, who has power over death, raised Jesus from the dead! Jesus died and rose again to be the Savior of the world. Nothing is more amazing than that!

[[Thumbs through log]] I’m glad my grandfather was a pilot. He instilled in me a love of adventure and a love of flying. But I’m especially glad that he was a man of great faith. [[Day 5]] He truly believed that God had power over his life and his circumstances. He met a lot of interesting people as a pilot, and he never shied away from telling them about our amazing God. In Acts 5, the apostles were being persecuted for performing miraculous healings and other signs and wonders. The high priest and the Sadducees arrested them and threw them in jail. But during the night an angel broke them out of prison and told them to go into the temple courts and tell people about their new life in Christ. Even when they were told to be quiet, they continued to boldly tell others about Jesus. God gave them power to be witnesses in difficult circumstances.

No matter what turbulence you encounter in life, remember the words of Psalm 147:5: “The Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite.”