Your BEST story from VBS Week!

BEST STORY if your VBS was last week!
Patricia Golden
Two salvations!!!

Trish Baker
We had close to 160 kids attend our vbs 34 salvations !!!

Janice Hill Croft
We had one of our visiting children come up to the story telling teacher and timidly ask her if these stories were true. She was able to tell the young girl that indeed, every one of these stories are true! Hearing it made me tear up.

Mary Popp Riley
Usually average 35 kiddos a day… First day we had 31preschoolers…70 kids a day average!!!!! What a blessing we had.

Karen Horne Lofton
120 kids…awesome experience, they loved the RoundUp song…asked if we could extend VBS to 2 weeks…LOL!

Angel Peters Deal
We are small church but we had 115 cowboys/cowgirls join us and many, many comments from the kids and parents that this was the best VBS ever!!! The Western Theme was a hit. Only complaint is from the staff/directors: no instructional music videos on utube this time. Last year we were able to send our volunteers to utube to practice, this year our 50 volunteers were only able to learn as went and so many of them wanted to practice at home but we could only afford to purchase the one DVD. But overall it was an awesome week. Thanks for putting together such a great VBS kit.
Leslie Ann
This year my husband joined our VBS team for the first time, it was my 6th year, I felt so blessed! He also played Sherriff Sunday in the skit! He now knows what a blessing it its to be part of such an incredible ministry! We had a blast with our 3rd and 4th grade class…Our room was the Sherriff’s Office and our class were the Regulators! We hosted 157+ kids in all (25 in our class) with 34 salvations!

Stacy Allen Baker
When asked about how a little baby Moses could save the Isreaelites, a second grader answered….”Well God sent Moses when he was a baby and then he grew up and saved them. Hey! Wait!! That’s just like Jesus was a baby and then grew up! Oh my gosh!! Did you know that Mrs. Baker?”

Kelli Espiritu
Here in baking Bakersfield and praising the Lord our VBS just ended. Next week temps will be over 100 degrees! We averaged about 150 kids last week and praise Jesus for 21 salvation decisions. Thank you for wonderful music this year. The songs weren’t juvenile as our Friday night “Salvation Celebration” for parents was enjoyed by all. I am wondering if the smaller Ultimate Connection signs can all be vertical or horizontal next year. 3 were horizontal and 2 vertical and it wasn’t uniform as I displayed them. All my center coordinators loved the curriculum again this year. I will continue to use GL here at Calvary Chapel. Luv it!

Favorite VBS moments:

Heather Smuda
I loved the sound of concentration in the craft room when the kids were into what they were doing.

Eileen Allen
Was amazed listening to kids reading the bible and getting excited over reading it!

Pat Hemenway
Our VBS was over last week but thought I’d share anyway. As the youth director, I spend a lot more time with teenagers than I do with the younger kiddos so this year for a change I opted to have the preschoolers! It was so awesome to hear my 5 little 3 & 4 yr olds shouting out answers to Pastor’s review during closing. By the end of the week, I was totally wiped out…and now I’m really ready to take the teenagers on their mission trip!

Michelle Reagan
Our VBS was last week also. Friday night the other Co -Director and I were talking with the 5-7 yr. Old group and asking what plans they had for Saturday. They all said they were coming to VBS. When we told them we didn’t have VBS on Saturday they begged us to let them come. At that moment we knew we were doing something right.

Karla Klassen Fehr
We finished yesterday. My favorite moments were when my 4 year old neighbor asked if she could come back tomorrow, and one of the student guides said VBS should go for 2 weeks instead of one:)

VBS VIDEO CONTEST~!

If you’ve got a video of your recent VBS, post it on FACEBOOK (Gospel Light VBS is the Facebook page)—you’ll be entered into our drawing for fabulous prizes (or at least modest ones!) and that all-important minute or two of Facebook Fame! Just upload it right on your post! YEE HAW!

We LOVE LOVE LOVE to see what you all are doing with SonWest—from snakes made from neckties to bringing in the pastor on a tractor to a corn maze (complete with pony wagon!) to (of COURSE!) lots of moustache photo ops and wanted posters! We love seeing the crativity! And Angie St. John Purdin . . . you had an ARMADILLO visit? WOW!

 

REPORTS FROM ALL OVER!

Check out some of these great stories from Facebook…seeing Jesus at work in VBS weeks around the country!

From July 17

Today was Day 4, Ultimate Provision!!! Tell us how God provided at VBS!
Allen Moody
God has been providing long before VBS actually began! However, the week of he gave us some great volunteers to help minister to our children!

Erin Pritchard Beal
The big surprise tonight was the visit from Skippy the horse who provided rides for all willing children! I started praying six months ago for a pony, thought we had one lined up and then that fell through. God in His provision supplied Skippy, so everyone could ride, not just the little kids.

Cherished Treasures Photos
TEN SOULS SAVED!!!

Julie Schmidt Moedt
He provided children and volunteers in just the perfect combination! And all the energy we needed at the time, but our closing program was tonight and we are all exhausted!

from July 15

IF you started your VBS today, give us a YEEHAW and tell us how it went!
Natasha Richard Awesome! We have 700+ kids!
Dana Timmermann Our church was blessed with 79 children at VBS today! They loved the songs!! It went very well and excited for the rest of the week!!
Cathy Tomlinson this is our second night. such a blessing. yeehaw
Allen Moody YEEHAW! We had a great first day at VBS! Great kids and a great staff ! Our kids really seemed to latch onto the skit this year. Can’t wait to continue it tomorrow!
Karen Clark It was awesome! Kids were hooked from the opening skits on through. My 3rd/4th graders loved the story of Moses in the basket on the Nile, and they latched right onto The Ultimate Plan of Jesus saving each of us! Fantastic!
Meredith Barton YEEEEE HAAAW! went well, the first night is always the most stressful! looking forward to the rest of the week!
Julie Schmidt Moedt We started this morning! We literally had a rip-roarin’ good time with Jesus! And with 175 children and a ton of volunteers. It was awesome to hear them singing and laughing and yelling Yeehaw! Thank you, Gospel Light, for helping make this possible!
Tom-Denise Mendonca We had a rip roarin’ great first day out here in the wild wild west of the Pacific Northwest. We had 479 children in attendance today. It was a great site to see all the smiling faces and loud happy noises when the parents picked up their children.
Sue Bromeier IT WAS AWESOME. Can t wait until tomorrow!!

Kacy Bruner Sullins Yeehaw! We had 12 and are thankful and praying for more

Jennifer Mance Horning We had a great time! 60 kids all full of smiles!

Gail Hornberger We only had 21 kids and are praying for more, but everyone there had a wonderful time and loved the theme : )

Debbie Butler Stump YEEHAW! Tiring but great!

Tracey Leh We start Sunday!

Chassi Bumgardner YEEHAW it went awesome HAD A RIP ROARIN GOOD TIME

Jenny Dunn Elliott Yeehaw!!!! A few hiccups today, but such a wonderful day full of God’s amazing support. Thank you Lord. We couldn’t have pulled it off without you.

Julie Ham Torresluna Yeehaw!! It went great! We are doing backyard bible school at my house. It was awesome!! We had 29 kids I love the music this year!!!!!

Tracey Wilson Tippen Yeehaw!!! We started tonight with 64 kids, 15 youth helpers and a whole heard of adult volunteers. We are doing the bible story skits for the first time and it is AWESOME. Our youth are doing those as well as the opening skit. There is something for everyone at SonWest Round up!

Robin Lakenes Love the music!!!!!!

Windy Farley Yippee! We started today with 11 kids and 12 support staff which is really good for our small little church.

Heather Tietz changed up the Moses craft and it went awesome with preschool!!! So cute!

Kelly Leatherman Fero So BLESSED! We started Sunday night with 75 kids and last night we had 98! I am so proud of the children! “Dirty Daryl” has had kids offering him their snack, telling him to come to music because singing might make him more cheerful, they have tried to be-friend him-PRECIOUS! Last night we had Mustache Monday-hilarious! Totally having a wonderful time so far!

Bryan Caballero We started ours yesterday! right Brenda Hendriks ! on our 15th year!

Last Minute Preparations for VBS

Last Minute Preparations for VBS

The excitement is building! Your VBS program is just around the corner. All the tough stuff has been dealt with and you’re ready to roll right? Well, not exactly. There are still a few last-minute preparations that could be made. But take heart and read-on you’re almost there!

Preregistration— Preregistration allows you to assemble roster lists in advance. Class or group rosters should be prepared a day or two before your VBS begins. You may want to create a preliminary roster earlier for your teachers. However everyone should know that the roster will probably change and be added to each day. To assign children to their appropriate classes, collect all the current preregistration forms and follow these steps.

  1. Categorize registration forms by age or by group classifications.
  2. Make several photocopies of each blank roster form—one for each group (don’t forget nursery and preschool classes).
  3. Label the top of each form with age/grade level, teacher/counselor’s name, class/group name, class/group color and class location (if applicable).
  4. Write each student’s name on the form, last name first, in alphabetical order. Include parent’s name and phone number under each name. Record any special health or physical concerns next to the child’s name.
  5. Leave sufficient lines to add newcomers.
  6. Record the total number of pre-enrolled students at the end of each form.
  7. After you have completed each of the roster forms needed, make two photocopies of each list. Give one copy to the appropriate teacher or counselor. (If possible provide a clipboard and attached pen.) Keep one copy for yourself. The original copy will go to volunteers at the registration table.

If you need a PDF Registration form, one is available here.

Follow Up—One of the most exciting aspects of VBS is the opportunity to reach unchurched children with the good news of Jesus Christ. Some of the children may be learning about God for the first time. For them, the love and acceptance felt at VBS will be a new and welcome experience, leaving them wanting more.

Here are 3 keys to remember about following up with children after VBS:

  1. Reinforce the importance of follow-up with your teachers/counselors.
  2. Send a card from you or your pastor to each unchurched family.
  3. Ask church families to invite unchurched families back to Sunday School.

Is your ministry over on the last day of Vacation Bible School? It doesn’t have to be! You can be used by God to offer the children and volunteers from your VBS the opportunity to continue experiencing His love. Maximize the full potential of your VBS outreach by planning a proactive follow-up program. For more on Following Up click here.

Serving Christ through you,
Donna Lucas
Publishing Director
Gospel Light /Children’s Ministry Resources
donna.lucas@gospellight.com

It’s Almost Here—Time to Direct!

It's Almost Here—Time to Direct!

For some of you, VBS week is HERE!! The kids are showing up from all over. We had more registrations than we anticipated at our church—Thank You, GOD! It’s exciting and sometimes a little terrifying!

Your Role
What is your highest and best use in directing this VBS?? Are you the “fixer” or the “director”?

The “fixer” kind of director runs around providing supplies or substituting at the last minute. If that’s you, it’s likely that you’re used to doing it all—and maybe you didn’t recruit an assistant! But when you are the “fixer,” you can miss out on an important part of the job—being the “face” of VBS!

It’s powerful for new kids and new families to have some “face time” with one person who has the time to talk with them, answer their questions and make them feel at home. As you meet new families, take time to get to know them. Find out their kids’ names and ages. Welcome them! Tell them about the VBS closing program. Give them information about the church.

This side of the director’s job is often overlooked—but it is important! So, delegate a little more. Give out a few more tasks to one or two people who you know could do those “runaround” jobs well. Then you are freed up to make it a priority to “be the face.”

This year I have delegated more than ever! Now I am free not only to be the “face” of VBS, but also these other important roles:

  • Head Cheerleader! Be available to pray with and for volunteers; be the keeper of the flame of enthusiasm. (Make up a goofy cheer for your team and say it softly as you walk by—guaranteed to bring a smile!)
  • Flow Analyst. If your assistant is the one to make sure teachers are present and on schedule and to assign substitutes, you are free to roam and look at the overall flow. Where is a kid standing on the sidelines? Who is not being welcomed? Who is the “runner” that needs to be chased down every five minutes? What needs to change to help the volunteers in the snack center stay on schedule? Take notes, make suggestions for ways to solve “flow” problems—because you’re the one who has the time and ability to see them.
  • Daily Visitor. Visit each learning area at least once a day. Sit in for a few minutes. Stop to pray silently for the kids and the situations you see!
  • Evangelism Encourager! Remind the kids to bring new friends throughout the week—you never know whose life will be changed! Keep evangelism at the front of your volunteers’ minds. Continually offer strategies and words to help volunteers talk about Jesus to the kids.
  • The Closer! Stay around for a while after VBS each day. Chat with volunteers. Listen to any problems or concerns—and give them your full attention. Let it be known that you’ll stay until everyone has finished. Follow through on their concerns—and pray with them!

Pray, pray, pray for each volunteer, every child—and let us know how we can pray for you!

Download Dealing with Discipline article from Director’s Planning Guide, Folder B (pdf)

Serving Christ through you,
Donna Lucas
Publishing Director
Gospel Light /Children’s Ministry Resources
donna.lucas@gospellight.com

VBS—Make it the Beginning

VBS—Make it the Beginning

At VBS, we register kids, count them, keep track of them, and keep the momentum of VBS going for the week! It’s great—kids come to Christ, learn Bible verses, and have fun! When VBS is over, we tally and tell how many kids came. We rejoice, clean up and then we take vacations—or at least a nap!

For many churches, following up with kids who came to VBS is casual (or maybe it just falls between the cracks and we’re too ashamed to admit it). Of course, GOD is still paying attention—He’s not ever going to forget these kids! He will still work! But sometimes we forget that we could JOIN in that work and share in that blessing!

How much more effective would this year’s VBS be to see it as a launch, a BEGINNING, as the most effective outreach and growth tool our churches hold? One friend, part of a 200-member church, told me that because they hold a VBS-themed Summer Sunday program which begins the Sunday right after VBS, 5 or 6 new families usually come to join in. For a church of that size, that’s significant outreach and growth!

So, think NOW—especially if you have not thought it before—about following up with the family of every kid who is not already part of your church! Each of those kids is not only precious to Jesus but also represents an entire household, full of parents, foster siblings, live-in friends or elderly relatives—all ready to hear the good news!

Do you have a follow-up coordinator? If not, pray! Ask God to bring that person to your mind and to give him or her a vision for the importance of this job. Then be sure your coordinator has all the resources you can provide (see the links below)!

TIPS:

  • For some registration coordinators, follow-up is considered to be the other half of their jobs: they already have all the contact information at hand. It’s just a matter of parceling it out! He or she can get that information to whoever had the most contact with each child. Whether it’s a teacher or helper, the person with whom the child had the most contact should do most of the follow up.
  • If you haven’t already had training, add a letter like the “Suggestions for Follow-Up” Letter in the links below to your training packet. If your teachers and helpers understand the power of following up ahead of time, they’ll see the bigger picture all during VBS week—and will be more effective in following up.
  • Schedule at least one summer family event. Include that invitation along with whatever information you send home about the church’s programs.
  • Your curriculum provides daily newsletters and invitations to a closing program. Use them! Help parents to expect and look for communication from you!
  • Be sure that the children’s ministry coordinator and the Sunday School teachers who would likely have contact with VBS visitors also have appropriate contact information.

This year, go beyond sending home information: Invite God to help you gain a vision for what VBS follow-up can do. Ask Him to help you inspire your forces—your coordinators and your teachers—so that children and the families who have been touched by VBS keep on coming back for more of Jesus!

Download Preparing for Follow-up article from VBS Smart Pages (pdf)
Download Suggestions for Follow-up article from VBS Smart Pages (pdf)
Download Understanding Religious Backgrounds article from Director’s Planning Guide, Folder B (pdf)

Serving Christ through you,
Donna Lucas
Publishing Director
Gospel Light /Children’s Ministry Resources
donna.lucas@gospellight.com

Refreshment Break!

Refreshment Break!

Do you feel like the “VBS pressure” is increasing?

For me, VBS is coming up FAST—less than a month to go. Yikes! Whether you’re scrambling with last-minute details, a sudden lack of volunteers or a surge of kids who’ve registered from out of the blue, it’s time to get refreshed.

REFRESHED? In all of THIS? Yes! It will make us ready to hustle for the finish line!

When the pressure is on, it may seem counterproductive to make extra time with your VBS prayer journal and God’s Word. But as Luther often said, “I have so much work to do today that I cannot get through it with less than three hours of prayer”!

So however much time you take, do take time to go back to the first entry in your VBS prayer journal. Remember how God answered that prayer. Then, keep looking through—and thank Him for the way He has answered even the requests you haven’t seen the answers to yet!

There is great power in reflecting on God’s Word. It shifts our focus and opens us up to letting Him restore our souls! Today, reflect on our Bible verse from Hebrews 13:8—“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” WOW! Take a minute to list your needs. Then think of how Jesus might have answered each one when He lived on Earth-and remember that He has not changed! That sure takes my attitude from panic to power!

So take a refreshment break today! Breathe deeply, look back at the answers to prayer you’ve had already and take a little time to rest. Remember that God is far more interested in the success of this VBS than even you are! Jesus is able to cover every detail as we ASK Him! He wants us to make this summer’s program His effective way to reach children in our towns!

As we all come “down to the wire” and the enemy seems to send little darts of difficulty, doubt and harassment, we can respond in one of two ways: We can choose to feel like things are starting to fall apart—or we can choose to remember who is guarding us, and praise Him for His power in the situation. Expect Him to work—and be looking for His answers!

Even while we’re working on last-minute details, we can choose to rest on the inside.

For those of you who told us the dates of your VBS, we are praying for your programs—and for your stamina in these last few weeks, too!

Be refreshed; be at rest in your heart even as you “gear up” on the outside!
Jesus is able!

Download Follow Up with Prayer article from VBS Smart Pages (pdf)

Serving Christ through you,
Donna Lucas
Publishing Director
Gospel Light /Children’s Ministry Resources
donna.lucas@gospellight.com

Losing…One Volunteer at a Time!

Unleash Your Youth to Lead!

Many people are kind of addicted to the TV show, “The Biggest Loser.” The premise of the show, of course, is to see which overweight participant can shed the most pounds. With lots of “reality” footage, the audience gets to participate in this very personal process. But for us VBS directors, there is another process that may not be as much fun as the TV show, although it can feel just as personal—losing volunteers! Losing volunteers won’t win you any prizes, unless you’re going for the title of “Stress Meister!” And because these “lost volunteers” are likely folks you see every weekend, it can be hard to handle your own reactions when you see them on the patio after church!

So even if you are not currently experiencing the VBS version of “Biggest Loser,” it’s good to think about these realities before you DO feel like a loser when a key VBS volunteer texts you with this message: “Going to Costa Rica @ week of VBS—so sorry, big change of plans…”

The FIRST thing—before you return the text or anything else, is to take your feelings (and your possible desire to yell at this person) right to Jesus! Never forget that it is completely SAFE to tell God JUST how you feel! He is willing to listen to your feelings and big enough to take your frustration and sense of betrayal. Take some time to pray—seriously—before you do anything else!

The second thing is to remember that God WILL meet all your needs! (Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to put “He Will Provide” on “repeat” in your iPod for a while!) He is completely able to take care of this situation. Some volunteers will discover conflicts along the way—and you need to remember that God knew they were going to “flake” long before they did. He is always up to something for your good and His glory—so don’t take it personally. And remember, this is also an opportunity! Invite God to show you who He wants to put in the place of the person who dropped out. God has been preparing someone for this position and it may be an adventure of faith that not only changes that person’s life, but also has a positive impact on others. Let Him prove to you that He can do extraordinary things!

The third thing to do is to stay in touch with your team leaders as often as possible. Just check in with them to be sure you are aware of how things are going with the folks on their teams. And then encourage each of them to cultivate some folks for backup. After all, people do get sick, have family crises, accidents and surprising developments (like going to Costa Rica)! It’s best if you and your team leaders are aware and keeping the lines of communication open. After all, these sorts of things also give you the chance to model that calm trust in Jesus we all need whenever when volunteers drop out or crises arise!

Ask God for a right focus and right heart attitude. Rest in Jesus’ great promises! Instead of letting a situation make you feel like a heavy contestant at the beginning of the Biggest Loser (“This is too hard, I can’t do it, there is way more work here than I think I can do!”)—resist those lies of the enemy! Invite God to transform the situation into another “glory story” of how He provided.

Believe for yourself every promise you’ll be teaching to kids at VBS! God is able!

Download Guidelines for Recruiting Success article from Director’s Planning Guide. (pdf

Serving Christ through you,
Donna Lucas
Publishing Director
Gospel Light /Children’s Ministry Resources
donna.lucas@gospellight.com

Unleash Your Youth to Lead!

Unleash Your Youth to Lead!

I don’t know about your church, but at my church most parents are both working to make ends meet! Oh, I did hear about an amazing church (it’s a big one!) where there are about fifty, that’s 50, dads who take vacation time during VBS week each summer to work at VBS and then spend time with their families! Now the exciting thing is that it DOES happen! Which proves that it CAN happen! But for most of us, that many dads would be the answer to a long-term prayer request!

Let’s face it—with most parents at work all day, we rely more and more on our middle school and high school youth to help lead Vacation Bible School. As the mother of middle and high schoolers, my girls couldn’t wait for 6th grade so they could be helpers at VBS. But we all know there are some pitfalls to getting teens to really be helpers. But they have marvelous energy—and goofiness, and the ability to connect with younger kids! SO, regardless of your previous experience, let me encourage you with some thoughts and tips!

Five Great Reasons for Teen Helpers:

  1. Younger kids love teen helpers! They readily admire and eagerly follow teen helpers’ guidance.
  2. Teen helpers model to younger kids that the natural progression of following Jesus is to grow up in Him and become helpers themselves!
  3. Teen helpers’ energy and enthusiasm encourage adults—and they are willing to run after those little Straying Sammies again and again!
  4. Teens gain valuable ministry experience, gain new skills and opportunities for great spiritual growth.
  5. VBS becomes an intergenerational experience—adults, youth and kids are all involved in learning together.

Five Great Tips to Get Great Teen Helpers!

  1. Choose a Youth Coordinator. (See Job Descriptions in the Director’s Planning Guide.) This person should know your church’s teens and will help you choose the best teens for each job.
  2. Define the requirements. Within your church’s youth programs and child-safety policies, set standards to follow for each youth position.
  3. Create a contract. Outline time commitments, spiritual and attitudinal requirements and job responsibilities. Have teens and their parents sign it.
  4. Train adequately. Remember that teens’ veneer of sophistication is just that. They don’t know what they don’t know! Describe the details of what you expect them to do. Provide each one with a Volunteer Pocket Guide and help them become familiar with it.
  5. Give teens a vision for ministry! Challenge them to go beyond playing with kids or preparing snacks. Show them how to talk with and pray with younger kids; give them words (and redirect them to the Volunteer Pocket Guide as a reference!). Invite them to learn how to lead little kids to Jesus—it can become a lifelong habit!

Summer Teen Bonus!
If you see that your teens have caught the vision, have gained skills and have risen to a ministry level during VBS, keep it going! Pack up your decorations and leftover materials and send the teens on the road! Teams of teens can bring VBS to backyards or community centers in areas where kids normally don’t attend VBS. Your teens gain valuable ministry experience, more kids join God’s family—and you’ve given your youth an instant short-term “staycation missions trip” where teens get to see God at work!

So unless 50 of your dads turn out for VBS, know that with a little forethought, you can use the youth of your church in BIG ways for GOD!

Download Using Youth Helpers article from Director’s Planning Guide. (pdf

Serving Christ through you,
Donna Lucas
Publishing Director
Gospel Light /Children’s Ministry Resources
donna.lucas@gospellight.com

Page 1 of 512345»