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One of the greatest privileges and advancements of believers, both in this world and unto eternity, consists in their beholding the glory of Christ.

-John Owen, The Glory of Christ

VBS Recap (Part 1 of 2)

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To anyone who has directed a VBS I salute you and for anyone who has volunteered for a VBS I thank you on behalf of your director who I am sure is very grateful for your service. We used the Jerusalem marketplace curriculum from Group. JM was last years VBS, but we don’t do a VBS every year so we used some left over funds in 2005 to buy curriculum for 2006. Yet we modified a lot of it as we went. The primary purpose for using group’s format was the potential for relationships to be built between the kid’s and adults. A few of the things that we changed:

-Added plenty of bible memory.
-Set up a dual rotation schedule ½ in marketplace ½ in worship rotation.
-Moved the marketplace inside
-Changed the synagogue school to bible stories instead of traditions.

We tried to really pull in the surrounding community ~800 homes (our geographic neighbors) by hanging posters and sending multiple mailings but came out with little success. What are some of the things you do to reach out to the geographic neighbors?

We divided the kid’s into the twelve tribes of Judah. The tribes were multi aged, which works AMAZINGLY well. I love to see the older kid’s shepherd the younger and the younger look to the older one’s for guidance. The themes were based around the last days of Christ’s life and important attributes of His character.

Day 1 Jesus is King
Day 2 God’s Love
Day 3 Christ’s Love
Day 4 Jesus’ Death
Day 5 Jesus Resurrection

This allowed us to spread the gospel presentation
out over multiple days, which we really wanted to do so that children could explore the story of Christ with their parents.

From there we had a large group gathering where the students sat with their tribes and I would give them that day’s piece of the gospel. We kept the talking short and allowed for a lot of discovery through discussion. I would present a little in character and then pose a question for discussion or a challenge that prompted the groups to work together in gaining a deeper understanding of the gospel.

After this time we sent half of the students to the marketplace and half of the kid’s to our education/worship rotation. We attempted to bring all of the kids back together so that we could dismiss them safely.

If you choose this format, pray for good weather, but be prepared for bad. We had three of the five days outside and the other two were rained in. All in all it went well. Above is a picture of our meeting area. We found that shepherd’s hooks were a great tool to use for hanging tribe banners.

Our Decorations were very cheap. We have a big open room (when walls are detracted) in our church. We used different colored bed sheets and stapled them to the ceiling for each marketplace booth. Each booth had four sheets two had both ends stapled to the ceiling to create a canopy feel and the other two hung down to create doors. We used wood palettes from a local store to give us walls to separate each booth. These worked very well.

Instead of doing worship as a big group me made a rotation out of it and allowed our leader to have smaller groups. At the end of the week we sang as a whole group and the tears flowed! Make sure you give your song leader a break. We goofed in the schedule and neglected that. She lost her voice once, but did an AMAZING JOB!

Synagogue school was great! Instead of doing Jewish traditions we had a Rabbi do an Old Testament story and then a “Christian from Kansas” connect that story to the gospel. What a great team of storytellers. They integrated the Jewish traditions and it added a lot to the stories.

As always it is the behind the scenes people who save the day! Devote the enough time to praying over the tribes and making sure you have a good system to welcome visitors. I overlooked that but these two saved me more than once!

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