Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Top Ten Vacation Bible School Countdown for 2011 is Almost Here!

Tomorrow begins my Top Ten Vacation Bible School Countdown for 2011 so today I want to take a few moments to let you know what I looked for in the VBS resources I reviewed and how I determined where the VBS kits "placed" in my review. I want to say all the kits I reviewed are excellent! I'm happy to see well developed Bible themes carried through with excellence through each station and activity. No matter which kit you select for use in your ministry, you can be sure you will find resources designed to give you the tools you need to reach children with the Good News of Jesus and help children who already know Him grow in their walk with Him!

As I reviewed the kits I looked for Bible lessons written to intentionally engage the children in the teaching of the Bible lessons. We all remember what we do better and longer than what we hear . . . one reason drivers ed classes involve more than just class time. Aren't we all glad for that! We want our children to remember, understand and live God's Word for truly changed lives and that begins with remembering. When children just "listen" to the teacher teach, it is too easy for their minds to wander. If however; children are involved in a drama or some other creative Bible lesson, their minds are focused on the lesson so they will be able to remember God's Word. I'm delighted to say many of the VBS resources this year did an excellent job of intentionally engaging children in the Bible lesson!

I also looked for a strong emphasis on application. Lessons need to provide opportunities for children to understand what it means - how it applies to their lives. I'm happy to say most of the VBS resources included specific time in each day's schedule for children to sit with their small groups to talk about the application of all they learned in that day! Yes, we want children to remember God's Word, but we also want them to understand how it applies to their every day lives. 

I'm extremely pleased to see over the past few years a strong move by publishers to include specific ways children can take what they learned out the doors of the church and live it in their life that very day! I look for "Live-It" activities in VBS curriculum. If children are able to go and do something to live what they learned they will be able to see how God's Word isn't just a book about people who lived a long time ago. Rather it is about their lives and their walk with God! "Live-It" activities help children understand the truths in God's Word are for them to live in their everyday lives now! This brings about truly changed lives!

I also look for complete director's information, consider the music and if the crafts offer a wide range of options. I especially like to see a basic director's kit and reproducible student materials so those churches where finances are particularly tight can still afford to provide a VBS for the children in their church and community. 

These are the components I look for in the curriculum I reviewed and the resources that have them are going to "score" higher in my review. Having said that, all the kits are solid resources - you will be able to provide an effective VBS ministry with any of them. Consider selecting more than one to use in your ministry over the coming year . . . my next post will include some ideas about using VBS for more than just a week of ministry and the week of January 17th we will consider some more detailed ideas of how to utilize VBS beyond one week. My Top Ten Countdown begins tomorrow - please tell people you know so they can join in the conversations about 2011 VBS!

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