Family Connections that REALLY Connect!

Family Connections that REALLY Connect!

VBS starts at my church in just seven weeks! My heart’s beating a little faster with anticipation—but these last few weeks are so crowded with a million details! Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself, Wait. Remember what this is about! It’s about connecting in a real way with parents of new VBS kids, both during and after VBS. How am I gonna DO that? was good or bad? I sure can!

It’s an easy question to forget in the crush of details, but it’s one of my BIG goals. Outreach is one powerful reason we do VBS!

So, I want to surprise these parents with the amount of love our church has for them and their families! And I want God’s love, expressed through us, to draw them to Jesus. I want to see God change their hearts and make them wholehearted followers of Jesus Christ! To ACCOMPLISH this goal, I have to keep on asking,
How can we make a lasting impression on new families? How do we communicate God’s love in ways that have real meaning for them?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Show up in places they least expect.
    We don’t just say goodbye at the door. No, no, no! We “friend” them on Facebook. We invite them for coffee. We visit them, call them, text them, invite them to events—and we keep it up until they can see that we really care!
  2. Offer events that have value and relevance to their lives.
    We offer family events they can attend with their kids. We offer them useful information about family life. We have Parents’ Date Nights, classes on parenting topics (on Sunday morning, which happen to be at the same time as our kids’ Sunday School). And we make sure they know about these things!
  3. Use everything in our VBS arsenal in surprising ways—it’s a week of stealth family ministry! Here are ideas.
    • Go to your Wild West Décor and More CD-ROM. Print out plenty of extra coloring pages. Keep them on hand all during VBS—use them not just as time-fillers, but also as something kids can color and take home—especially pages that have a Bible verse on them! It’s a simple way to get Scripture into that kid’s home. God’s Word is powerful, even on a coloring page!
    • Before VBS, hold a coloring contest—parents are more likely to see that Bible verse if they help their kids color the picture. Display the pictures all around your foyer or in the main gathering room for kids. We are going to start our coloring contest this Sunday—it gets those coloring pages into the hands of families as it builds excitement and awareness about VBS!
    • Use the daily skits. In many churches, parents hang around until the opening assembly is over. What an opportunity to introduce the daily Bible theme in the skit time! The skits are most effective when performed live by people the kids know. But if you don’t have a drama team, use the Once Upon a Time in Dirt Clod Skit video to bring the Bible content right into Assembly time. This is the BEST video skit we’ve ever produced and we know you’ll love it!
    • Make prayer another VBS “freebie”! Set up a prayer room at VBS. Invite parents, staff or anyone involved to go there for immediate prayer support! Create a soothing atmosphere and staff that room with a couple of your church’s great volunteer pray-ers. For those who don’t want to pray right then, provide cards to fill out and pass on to your prayer team.
    • Bless parents with the Parent Pocket Guides! These handy guides not only give parents an idea of what their kids are learning but also have a devotional for them, questions for them to ask their kids, even games to play together! Best of all, it contains “How to Lead Your Child to Christ.” This article can help them understand the gospel for themselves, as well as helping them help their kids!
    • Use the Parent Newsletters! These newsletters are already done and included in your Director’s Planning Guide. (See the link below!) They contain the Bible passage for the story and the Bible Memory Verse, some parenting ideas and a devotional. You can customize these newsletters with VBS announcements and information about other fun family activities that are coming up.

My final goal? I will personally meet every new family during VBS week. Make it your goal, too!

Since you are the Director, delegate! If you don’t have to do everything yourself, you will have time to greet each and every family there—and be sure to get your pastor to do the same. This awesome opportunity is well worth the extra effort! It’s all about connecting new families so that the power of VBS is long-lasting—and life-changing!

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

Assembly Time—and WOW Power!

Assembly Time—and WOW Power!

There is an old saying: “First impressions are lasting impressions.” It’s not always true, but think about it: Can’t you remember a first impression that still sticks with you today, whether it was good or bad? I sure can!

VBS makes a BIG first impression. As complicated, confusing and frustrating as the first session of VBS might be, it is also that moment of first impressions! Some kids won’t notice. Some kids won’t care. But SOME kids who come through the door will use that first impression to decide whether or not it’s worth it to keep coming back—especially those un-churched kids we’ve worked so hard to get through the door!

So there’s nothing like being extremely WELL-PREPARED for that first assembly. Making your first assembly your BEST assembly, instead of hoping to “get better as the week goes on,” means that the first assembly is exciting, engaging and exhilarating. And it’s your chance to give a first impression that intrigues every kid who comes through the doors! The goal is to get each and every one of them eager to see what is next in the day and the week to come!

With that in mind, here are a few ideas to get you started. Then go to myvbsparty.com and Facebook to get more ideas from directors and assembly leaders around the world!

  • Get the excitement started right away! The easiest way to get everyone on board is to start EARLY: Team with your Sunday School and Children’s leaders to teach the VBS theme song to your kids during Sunday School and Children’s church before VBS starts! Your “regular” kids will start off the week knowing one song—and eager to sing it loudly because they’re READY for SonWest Roundup!
  • Get into the Daily Skits! Most of you say you like to perform the skits live—and that’s a great thing! Skits are most effective when performed live by people the kids know. So those of you who have Drama teams or Drama “Queens”—put them to work! Give them plenty of time to work on their chance to join a reality show! There is nothing better than seeing Pastor acting the part of the sheriff (or Dirty Daryl)!

    If (like my church) you’ve got NO Drama team, use the Once Upon a Time In Dirt Clod Skit video. These are undoubtedly the BEST filmed skits we’ve ever done! These skits will help to introduce the daily Bible theme in a fun story that builds throughout the week.

    If your Drama team is only two people, you might want to check out the FREE DOWNLOAD of the two-person Silent Slim Sketches. Like our Ranger Ned Neverspeak, Slim will give a no-words sketch every day with the assemblies leader to help everyone remember the Daily Animal and Ultimate Point. This is another easy way to involve your Pastor or youth director—no lines to learn, and kids love to see them involved!

  • Turn up the Music! We have FUN Music Videos—play these as kids enter and exit as a way to get them excited and reinforce the theme or Bible content for the day. It’s a well-known fact that the VBS music lasts a long, long time beyond the week! And remember, ALL of Gospel Light’s music is reproducible! So make sure you take advantage of that! Make or buy copies so that EVERY kid takes home a copy of the music—only heaven knows what God will do with that!

    This year, two of the videos feature people doing the motions; the others are fun treatments with graphics and other footage. The kids will love them! This is some of our most fun music EVER, so maybe you’ll want to have a focus group with your fifth graders a couple of weeks before VBS. See which songs they like best—and play those the first day! You’ll have engaged your older kids right from the get-go! (If you’re wondering how to learn the motions, just go to the “Instructional Videos” on the menu! They’re right there for you. And remember that we always have the motion instructions written out for you as another FREE DOWNLOAD from myvbsparty.com!)

  • Check out your Rip-Roarin’ Assemblies Guide! It’s full of ideas! There is an outline for every assembly to keep your Assembly Leader on track, plus all kinds of other ways to get kids excited during Assembly time.
  • Use the Rip-Roarin’ Multimedia CD-ROM—those big, exciting visuals of the Bible verses and Bible stories can be used for every part of your assembly time! And of course, there is a PowerPoint for every song, set to play with the music!

    PC USERS, rejoice! If you’ve had trouble playing the PowerPoint through a PC system, know that we’ve fixed our PowerPoints this year, just for the PC platform. YES, we do whatever it takes!

Opening and closing assemblies that are high-energy and are fun give kids more and more reasons to come back. So be sure to practice a lot—make Monday’s assembly as MUCH FUN as Friday’s!

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

It’s New, It’s Now—It’s Eternal!

NEW!

There is one word that sometimes annoys me, but always hooks my interest: It’s the word NEW (usually followed by a number of exclamation points)!!!! Even though I see it every day, whenever I do, a little voice rises up in me and says, “You might MISS something if you don’t check it out!” Of course, what I discover is not always new at all. But at other times, there really IS something new to discover!

And discovering something NEW is at the heart of SonWest VBS! As we worked on Bible content for 2013, we thought about Jesus and how He is found on every page of the Bible. What better way to find something NEW in something “old”—the stories of Moses! And of course, what better place to feel the wide-open spaces than the Wild West? We wanted this NEW course to point kids to Jesus through God’s eternal truths that come to us through the ancient stories of Moses the Egyptian prince—we wanted their heads and their hearts to connect to Jesus, the Ultimate Savior!

But you know us—a new course, new places to go, is not enough! Each year, we look for NEW ideas—things that will make directing this program easier, items that will make teaching more clear, give VBS more impact—and make it more FUN! Whether it’s a shortcut for you or a piece that will fascinate the kids, we look for NEW ways to make VBS the most positive experience for the kids that we can make it!

  1. PARENT POCKET GUIDES—This year, we’ve heard your voices and created a pocket guide just for PARENTS! The guide takes parents through the important points of each lesson for this course. Featured are parent devotionals, Bible questions to ask the kids and fun family activities to do together—and of course, How to Lead Your Child to Christ!
  2. PRINTED BACKDROPS—Decorating a big space becomes SO easy with our great new printed backdrops! These backdrops come in three sections, on thick poster paper. They make decorating a SNAP! (I love these because I HATE to paint! Just pull them out of the tube, put them up and stand back—TA-DAAH! Decorated!)
  3. SILLY BANDS—Our Silly Bands are in the shapes of our Daily Animals, in the daily colors! They are a fun, cool addition for any and every kid—and the shapes give you another place to make the Animal Connection!

There is so much more. Look for all the NEW!!!!! stuff in our catalogs. You’re sure to find that gem that will make YOUR VBS as lively as the Wild West can be! NEW things will surprise and delight kids as you point them to Jesus in the stories of Moses as God’s eternal, Ultimate Savior!

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

Packed with Surprise!

Packed with Surprise!

Have you opened the Big Box? Maybe you’ve even dug all the way to the bottom! A new VBS kit is exciting, inviting—and packed full of stuff that can help you lead kids to Jesus. You know your kids are going to LOVE this program (that’s one reason you picked it)… but when you see such a HUGE pile of ideas, you start to wonder, What do I DO with it all?

To maximize the dollars you’ve already spent, you want to get the full use of every piece, every idea and every opportunity to present Jesus to the kids at VBS! (Veteran directors tell us all the time, “Wow! I didn’t know you had THAT feature!”)

So here is the easiest way to get acquainted!

Put in the Overview DVD, grab a notebook and pen and a latte. Click “play” to get to know your new best friend!

Watching the Overview of the program gives you the big picture and helps you see what you can do. (I wrote, “WOW!” about six times—things I’d forgotten or never noticed before!)

Then open your Director’s Planning Guide! This is the “Cliff’s Notes” of how to run a great VBS—it’s a revolutionary way to get your work organized and distributed to where it needs to go! And because it is on CDROM, you can distribute sections or articles electronically, post it on your website or print it and send it via snail mail—and still have all the information you need for yourself!

Then, take time to get to know the Bible Story Center Guides. When you’ve got the SOUL of the whole operation in your hands, you begin to see the possibilities. After all, we do VBS to be sure kids know who Jesus is and how fascinating God’s Word can be! Put your best storytellers in the Bible Story Centers, assisted by your brightest and most creative helpers! Don’t let anything take away from this time. Show the kids by your attitude that God’s Word matters!

Here are three ways to run your Bible Story Center:

  1. If you have one great storyteller, be sure to give that person all three books: Since the Guides are written to target each developmental level, the storyteller needs to use the age-level opening activities, language and discussion questions. That gives the Bible real meaning for every kid!
  2. Invite three people to be storytellers, each one focused on one age level.
  3. If you combine kids into multi-age groups or tell the story in one large group of multi-age kids, use the 3rd-4th grade Bible Story Center Guide.
Bible Stories Ages 6-8 Bible Stories Ages 8-10 Bible Stories Ages 10-12

Saddle Up
Bible Stories
(Ages 6 to 8)

978.08307.64433
$9.99

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Saddle Up
Bible Stories
(Ages 8 to 10)

978.08307.64440
$9.99

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Saddle Up
Bible Stories
(Ages 10 to 12)

978.08307.64457
$9.99

buy now

As you allocate money, remember the Student Guides. They’re the most compact, flexible, foldable and fun student pieces ever! They come on a pad in sets of five, so you don’t have to buy an extra book for that kid who shows up twice! These little fold-up guides review the Bible story and provide a life application activity as well! They will likely have more spiritual significance than a pricey craft kit or expensive trinket. Using them will help to settle the Word deep into kids’ hearts!

Another thing to plan for each kid is a set of Connection Cards and Carabiner. These are inexpensive, fun tools to keep God’s Word at their fingertips or snapped to their belt loops.

To get the freshest discussions about VBS, join us on Facebook (Gospel Light VBS) or go to myvbsparty.com. Ask questions! We love to answer-and we’ll continue to post ideas and uses for the components of our curriculum.

We are delighted to be working with you in the most effective annual Gospel outreach to children in America. I love to see the ways God uses people to show kids that the Gospel is always good news!

Don’t we have the most wonderful jobs ever?

Download the Ordering Guide from the SonWest VBS Director’s Planning Guide (pdf)

Download the Materials Preview from the SonWest VBS Director’s Planning Guide (pdf)

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

Tons of Fun Training!

Tons of Fun Training!

I recently sat through a planning meeting for an event at my daughter’s school. It was so tedious: so much time was wasted, and frankly, it was SO. VERY. BORING. But it DID make me think, the message here is that to be an adult, you have to be BORING. And then, I began to wonder, Uh-oh, are my VBS training meetings like this?

Learning how to do something new should be fascinating! And we humans are natural learners! Yet when we hear the word “training,” most of us do NOT think, “PAR-TAY!” What if we were to plan our training meetings to be full of fun, excitement, and learning, too! Even though training is something we MUST do, it doesn’t have to be onerous and dull. Making it a PARTY would certainly communicate our passion about VBS to every volunteer!

Training is worth doing well. Every kid who comes through the doors of your church needs a loving, safe and Christ-like adult who is trained enough to help him or her to know Jesus—not only through Bible teaching, but also through every single game, song and activity! Besides that, it’s truly only worth having helpers who know what to do so that they can actually help!

So why be boring? THIS year, turn training into fun time! The first place to stop? myvbsparty.com!

We created myvbsparty.com to provide you with an array of fun and exciting resources to use at your training party! VBS directors and volunteers can use the site to collaborate among themselves or even with other churches. You can share ideas, stories, pictures, videos of your own and everything else related to Gospel Light VBS!

Directors will find walk-through videos that explain the components of the VBS program. You can use these resources to learn from children’s ministry veterans about how to make VBS one of the most effective places to lead kids to Jesus.

Plan your training time around myvbsparty.com for your volunteers! Use the videos during a training meeting as “starting points” for volunteer interaction and as a quick way to explain each center. The videos will provide your volunteers with the excitement of VBS in action and will add fun and energy to your training time.

Training can be a blast! Use the links below to navigate the details. After all, this VBS training is so eternally important, you’ll be glad you did it well!

MOST IMPORTANT: Train your volunteers on how to lead a child to Jesus. It’s the most important thing you can do!(Imagine seeing the VBS kids who’ll greet you in heaven—the ultimate reward doing good training!)

Pray, pray, pray for each worker, each leader—and let us know how we can pray for you!

Download “How to Conduct a Training Meeting” from VBS Smart Pages (pdf)

Download “Effective Training Meetings” from Director’s Planning Guide (pdf)

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

Building Excitement!

Passion and Publicity!

I don’t know about your church, but at my church we’re NOT extravagantly funded for VBS! So when we begin to plan our decorating and don’t really have the funds to make it happen, I get that same feeling I’ve often felt since I moved to the West. Like waiting for “the big one” here in Southern California, I get a little knot in my stomach when I think about it!

But time moves on. The VBS countdown continues to tick. So it’s time for us to build the excitement. Don’t fret about the “how”—choose to remember the “who”—God is able! Take a deep breath. Time to LEAD—by example!

First, take time to draw close to the Lord God Almighty. He says, “I AM the Lord. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (In case you’re wondering, the correct answer here is, “NO!”) Start a VBS prayer journal, if you haven’t already done so: List every need and problem you can think of. Yes, even silly decorating needs. Then jot down God’s promises that might apply to each situation. After all, He already knows what you need but He wants you to have clarity, too—so you don’t run around in a dither. This is the time to shine the peace of Christ!

James gently reminds us that often, “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). When we ask and believe that our Good Father will answer us in the very best way, we can give a grin and forge ahead with our hearts at rest. He is able—and He wants us to be looking for His supernatural answers! (This is starting to sound like fun!)

Second, check out the great ideas found at www.myvbsparty.com. Look at the how-to videos. Take a look around. Download those downloads, view the decorating shorts and the overview! Wander through the forums for some great ideas from VBS directors who are overflowing with creativity! Look around, be inspired—and join in! Here are just a few decorating ideas from these creative decorators!

  • Carpet companies throw away heavy cardboard rolls. They make terrific tree trunks or log fences!
  • Some businesses have to pay to dump wooden pallets. Rescue a few! Use them for a floor, a fence or a 3-D wall.
  • Boy or Girl Scouts associated with your church might do VBS decorating to fulfill a merit badge requirement. Other kids may need to do community service hours required by their schools. Instant help!
  • Create a display that’s themed to your VBS and attach “gift tags” to it! Write the name of a needed supply (can of juice, roll of duct tape) on each gift tag. Church members take the tags, buy and attach the gift tags to the items and then place the “gifts” back at the display before a given date!
  • Is your VBS after Father’s Day? How about enlisting families to decorate the church to honor dads by decking out the building in Western cowboy gear and VBS backdrops? You’ll get more families involved; the resulting scenery will promote VBS—AND you’ll jump-start VBS decorating!
  • Challenge any teen or adult class or small group to a hold a contest within their group to see how many kids they can sponsor for VBS at $5 apiece. (Send them a pre-made contest chart so they can have some fun!) That amount might not cover all the cost for every kid, but it will certainly help—and EVERYONE becomes invested in VBS in a measurable, eternal way! (And invite donors to your closing program—reserve a section for them right up front!)

Any or all of these ideas can call forth the creativity and involvement of a huge number of folks at your church—and make most everyone feel like they’re part of what is going on! Find a way for every church member to join in!

And be sure to invite them to join you in prayer. Send out email prayer lists, tweet prayer requests, text message the answers! God wants us to pray and celebrate as His family, relying fully on Him!

So lead by example. Expect for God to do great things. May this year live long in memory as the Very Best VBS Ever!

Keep sending us your prayer requests. We’re praying for you!

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

Passion and Publicity!

Introducing Jesus

VBS is all about evangelism! We want to get kids into the Word and get the Word into kids. But it can be hard to keep the passion level up sometimes while we’re in the planning stages. Seven weeks into planning VBS, I felt like I’d hit a wall. I was doing some VBS workshops for Gospel Light, softball season got started last week, and my daughter was on Spring Break. Before I knew it—it was Easter Sunday and a new kind of exhaustion set in. But now that Easter has passed my excitement level is back! I’m ready to jump back into planning my own church’s VBS! YeeHaw!!

With my passion restored I now turn to publicity. This may seem like a dull job to some of you, but let’s be real: If kids are going to hear God’s good news and meet Jesus, then we need for adults to bring their kids! And that won’t happen in our communities unless we publicize, publicize, publicize—like everything else we do in kidmin, it really helps to “go over the top” with publicity, too!

There are many ways to communicate your message to the people who need to hear it! But before you publicize, take time to render your information into just two simple and clear messages: Create one message for your community and one for your church family. Check the messages for clarity and accuracy. Pass them to someone else to read, because they will see your words differently than you do! Then edit and save those messages so that you can use them over and over, in every venue listed (you’ll be glad you did!).

Think of reaching the community in terms of repeated exposures: It takes many “views,” or times people are exposed to an idea, for those who are strangers to your church to realize that VBS is going on, that it’s fun for their kids, that their kids are invited—and that they need to register them for this to happen!

Use every new promotional tool and media channel to get the word out about VBS—especially FREE tools!

Here are the avenues for free publicity:

  • Community bulletin boards are found in many places kids and parents go together (fast food restaurants, libraries, coffee houses, recreation programs, etc.). Locate these around your neighborhood. Put up posters about VBS that include dates, times and place. Print “tags” along the bottom, which have your church’s website or phone number for people to pull off and take with them.
  • Local cable companies usually have scrolling bulletin boards or community news channels that announce your information without charge. Radio stations offer the same service, especially when your message is brief and well-written.
  • Partner with your youth pastor! Have the church’s youth deliver doorknob hangers or postcards to the neighborhoods around your church. They might place information on car windshields at local youth baseball or soccer games or pass them out as kids leave elementary schools. They can hand out invitations at local parks or family events. (Check local regulations first!)
  • Use text messages, Facebook and Twitter to their full potential! Encourage every volunteer to post an announcement about VBS on their Facebook page, along with the logo. (Create this announcement and post it to your own page so they can share it, as well as email it to them so that they can send it to friends via email.)
  • Create an event on your church’s Facebook page. Or create a Facebook page for your church’s VBS! Link it to your church’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account!
  • Get some high school or college kids to do a couple of silly YouTube videos to promote your VBS. Post them on your Facebook pages. Link them on Twitter. Who knows? If your video goes viral—THAT can bring in lots of kids!

Remember, creating repeated exposures is the goal: reach the community often with the same information so that they will pay attention, understand, decide and then act—so get your message in front of them four or more times, in several different ways.

There are many more ideas—join us on Facebook and on myvbsparty.com to share our publicity ideas together and inspire each other. Let’s get the word out—so that we can get the Word out. LET’S GO!

Click here to download an article about the Publicity Coordinator job.

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

Introducing Jesus

Introducing Jesus

What is it about evangelism that makes us tremble and trip over our words? What makes us say, “Evangelism is not my calling” or “Evangelism is not my spiritual gift”? Every year, the hardest training session we have seems to be the one that deals with evangelism! But I actually think that most of our problems arise from some “voices in our heads” that create false guilt and phony pressure. Somewhere along the way we got the idea that helping people to join God’s family is some feat of amazing salesmanship. We imagine that WE have to lead this person to Christ: no sinner’s prayer—no sale! Nonsense! God does the saving, not us!

My husband told me this morning about an acquaintance who recently introduced her son to him. His comment was, “She clearly thinks her son is a gift to the world!” His comment got me thinking about evangelism—what if we think of evangelism like this? After all, when you adore the person you’re introducing, you’re excited! Just as that adoring mom was glad to introduce her (wonderful!) son, we get to joyfully introduce God’s Son, whom we love so much! We simply need to be open to the opportunities that God puts in front of us to introduce our “favorite Son”!

When we eagerly, naturally, talk about Jesus, kids know it’s OK to talk with us about spiritual things. If you sense that a child is searching, start by doing what I do—pray! Pray that God will speak through you, that He will give you the right words and then trust Him to do that! I make it a point to find some one-on-one time to talk with that child. Click on the link below for a free download of an article called Leading a Child to Christ.”When you already have these simple, “kid-friendly” words well in mind, it removes the fear!

Don’t leave this important task to chance; train your staff to effectively lead kids to Jesus! Here are a few tips to help them see how easy this is to do:

  • Be real. Children will recognize a person who has a real, living, growing relationship with Jesus.
  • Listen with all your heart. A child needs to know he or she is heard. Only then is there a heart connection that translates to knowing, “I’m loved by that leader!”
  • Recognize the signs. Some children will ask very direct questions; others will be searching for words. Even others might do something to provoke you, just to see if your love is real. Ask simple, nonthreatening questions to help a kid think through the things they’re trying to find out.
  • Make the child feel at ease. If you are relaxed, the child will be, too. Explain in the simplest words, so that the child will understand—and let the child ask questions. If you don’t know the answer, say, “I don’t know. But I will find out and I will tell you tomorrow”—and then make SURE that you don’t forget to continue that conversation!
  • Tell your own story. Tell how it came to be that you joined God’s family. How did that happen? What does it mean to you today?
  • Be prepared. Don’t get so caught up in all the other details of VBS that you’re not ready when a child wants to join God’s family or asks more questions! This is Great Big Kingdom Business—the reason we do VBS!

Gospel Light has lots of useful tools; our Volunteer Pocket Guide is a great one to give each volunteer, because it includes the “Leading a Child to Christ” article as well as other questions and connections that inspire conversation with the kids. Get one for each volunteer.

Gospel Light’s God Loves You! evangelism booklet is another good tool. Bright and colorful, it’s the simplest way to walk kids through the steps to joining God’s family! Keep a stock on hand and be sure that every leader has several, so that they’re ready to read it with a child or give it to a child whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Is evangelism important enough for you to shake things up? Here’s the challenge: Make evangelism training MANDATORY!

What matters more than leading children to Jesus? Let’s have fun introducing our favorite Son!

Click here to download “Leading a Child to Christ”.

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

Grab Your Megaphone!

Trust God to Deliver

“We’ve got SPIRIT, yes we do. We’ve got spirit—how about YOU?!” Infected with the excitement of the game, the crowd responded to the cheerleaders with more volume each time—until finally, they completely drowned out the entire squad! That’s championship excitement at its best! And that’s when it hit me: VBS needs a CHEERLEADING SQUAD!

My girls laughed at the idea, but I still think I’m right. Every church really does need VBS cheerleaders! I even tried to come up with a cheer myself, which my cheerleader daughter edited into a simple, “I BELIEVE, yes I do, I BELIEVE in VBS, do YOU?” And while I haven’t run out to buy a new megaphone, I’m thinking my idea is pretty sound!

You see, one of the reasons VBS is such an effective way to reach kids for Jesus is YOU—expressing what you BELIEVE! You have passion for this project. YOU believe in the program you’ve chosen. YOU have a vision for what God is going to do through that week of VBS. So grab that megaphone—it’s time for YOU to become Head Cheerleader! Your infectious enthusiasm is a powerful key to inspiring others to join in with VBS this year. There’s no better way to gather a dedicated support (and cheerleading) team! Here’s how:

  • I start with my favorite device—a list! List all of your staffing needs and write simple job descriptions (even easier, take them from the Director’s Planning Guide CD-ROM!). Then PRAY over that list. Believe that God DOES have a person to fill each spot, joyfully and well!
  • Here’s my recruiting method: I try to get each potential volunteer to picture just one specific kid in their neighborhood—a kid they know really needs Jesus. Picturing a real kid gives clarity and helps instill passion. Once a volunteer has thought of a kid, perhaps even written down the kid’s name, I invite the person to imagine with me what it would be like to see this kid meet Jesus every day for a whole week—and follow Him, join the church, grow spiritually and become the pastor of this very congregation someday! It could happen! Then I ask, “How would you feel to know you were a part of that?” Always bring people back to the reason we do VBS—to take Jesus to the next generation!
  • Go after the church staff first! It’s a great help as you begin to recruit to be able to say, “Pastor Jim volunteered to lead …” People are quicker to get involved when they see that their pastors are committed to VBS, too! Don’t forget your elders and deacons—they can do everything from building sets to being wonderful small group leaders!
  • Once your church staff has committed, make another list: Potential Cheerleaders. Begin with last year’s volunteers, college students who will be home, middle school and high school students who might be available and of course, the senior citizen groups! Armed with this list, send email, create a Facebook page, get on your church’s website—whatever it takes to spread the excitement! If you begin recruiting now, everyone can block out the time. Even the busiest college student can help if you ask far enough ahead!
  • Once you have several positions filled, post a chart of volunteers needed and fill in the names for the positions already filled. (For some reason, no one wants to be the first volunteer! And for many, the choice of where to serve will depend somewhat on the possibility of working with a person they already know!)
  • Give each person considering volunteering a Volunteer Pocket Guide (available from Gospel Light). This is a simple way to help anyone catch the vision for the VBS program—and turn a considerer into a volunteer!
  • And last? FOOD never hurts! Putting out a snack or treat at the volunteer sign up spot is likely to slow people down enough to stop and consider while they snack!

So get your megaphone ready. Shake out your pompoms! Let people catch your SPIRIT!

“I BELIEVE, yes I DO! I BELIEVE in VBS, do YOU?”

Click here to download Volunteer Forms from Gospel Light’s VBS Smart Pages.

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

Trust God to Deliver

Trust God to Deliver

Last week was great! I got to spend three days talking to VBS directors at CPC—Children’s Pastor’s Conference. It was so much fun to hear what they had planned and it was a great opportunity for me to get their good ideas on ways to deal with the challenges of my own VBS.

I found that many of us have the same dilemma: What is the most appropriate way to handle the limited funds we have to do the amazing things we want to do with VBS this summer? Here is my answer: Trust God to deliver what you need—and plan for Him to surprise you!

In this economy, with prices soaring, it is even more critical that we use God’s resources wisely. We need to start by understanding what we have to work with, and then, how best to use and extend the finances we have. If you are like my church, having just a little to work with, here are some ideas we use each year that may help you extend what you have:

  • We are compiling a complete list of supplies we are going to need for VBS (snacks, crafts, decorating etc.). We will post the list on a designed bulletin board so that people can sign up to let us know what they can supply.
  • Our church will be giving a themed postcard to each person who signs up, noting which item(s) they have agreed to donate. They can put the card on the refrigerator so they don’t forget! You can buy the pack of postcards or create your own from the clip art supplied in Wild West Décor and More.
  • We are asking 100 people to sponsor a child for VBS this year. We did this last year and every last kid was covered, even the ones we didn’t expect! For $20.00 per child, a sponsorship ensures that each child gets a Wild West Pack that includes a complete set of Student Guides, a set of Connection Cards with horse carabiner, a Child Cowboy Hat, a set of silly bands, a music CD, a t-shirt iron on, moustache and a bookmark. (Wow, that’s a bag full of stuff for the money!)
  • We will create a way to show the number of kids we have sponsored so far—hmm, maybe an old fashioned candy jar or a cowboy boot?
  • We are also encouraging each member of the congregation to adopt a teacher to pray for during the weeks before and during VBS. Every volunteer will have his or her name written on a Sheriff Badge with a prayer request attached. We are going to use the pack of Sheriff stars and pin the prayer request to the back. Prayer partners can grab a badge and use it as a reminder to pray for that teacher!

I want to leave you with this: Just like our church, most everyone is facing a challenging situation. But instead of finding ourselves discouraged, let’s invite God to show us what HE can do. He is able to fill us with incredibly creative ideas—so that we can STILL deliver on those BIG goals we set earlier. Pray and don’t give up! Pray John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Trust God to deliver. You’ll be astounded by what He can do!

I guarantee He will surprise you.

Click here to download an article on Budgeting Your Expenses from Gospel Light’s VBS Smart Pages.

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

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