Friday, January 18, 2013

Top Pick VBS 2013 - #1 - God's Backyard Bible Camp - by Standard Publishing

I'm delighted to announce my Top Pick for VBS 2013 is  God's Backyard Bible Club by Standard Publishing! I've been reviewing VBS resources for 16 years. Over the years I've watched as publishers moved from a traditional/class-room format to the learning center/rotation format - it was a huge change when this happened. This year with Standard's VBS the "world" of VBS is about to experience another huge "change" with their commitment to and focus on engaging children in serving Jesus by serving others! 

I LOVE how they have devoted one station to service projects - this is something I would LOVE to see all the publishers do. Far too often stations are "wasted" with silly videos or more games when they could be used to help engage children intentionally in activities which allow them to actually live what they are learning! Standard not only "hits the nail squarely on the head" with God's Backyard Bible Camp, but they have "raised the bar" by presenting a VBS resource which will change, once again, the way we look at VBS! Combine this with the opportunity to choose from two amazing VBS resources - Under the Sun or Under the Stars - and great music from Yancy, well, you have two VBS resources which will impact and change lives!

God's Backyard Bible Camp
Under the Sun
Under the Stars
Standard Publishing
  1. Serve Family - Under the Sun - Miriam took care of her brother Moses - Exodus 2 OR Under the Stars - Joseph forgives his brothers - Genesis 37, 38
  2. Serve Friends - Under the Sun - Four men carried their friend to Jesus - Mark 2 OR Under the Stars - Jesus washed the feet of His disciples - John 13
  3. Serve Neighbors - Under the Sun - A Samaritan man helped a hurt neighbor - Luke 10 OR Under the Stars - Rebekah showed kindness to Abraham's servant - Genesis 24
  4. Serve Community - Under the Sun - Zacchaeus gave to his community - Luke 19 OR - Under the Stars - Gideon led God's people in battle - Judges 6, 7
  5. Serve Jesus - Under the Sun - Peter & John showed Jesus' love and power - Acts 3 - OR - Under the Stars - Paul told about Jesus wherever he went - Acts 27, 28
Setting – In your own sunny backyard OR under the shimmer of starlight in your own backyard!
Message – Children go on an adventure and, as Standard says, "take the love of Jesus into their homes, neighborhoods and communities" as they learn to serve their families, friends, neighbors, community and Jesus under the sun and under the stars!
Focus - Evangelism, Application, Bible Content and Service
Strengths –
  • As I would expect, God's Backyard Bible Club has a strong focus on living what you learn by serving others – I LOVE the way this is focused on in the Service Project station! Each day you’ll find three service project options which allow kids to “focus outward” and care about others! I love this station! What a terrific way to help children see and experience how God's Word is relevant to their everyday lives! It is the focus on serving others which gave Standard the edge and caused them to be my Top Pick for VBS 2013!
  • I especially love the “guided conversation” and “Crew Review” for the small group leaders and station leaders each day to help kids focus on God’s Word and how it lives in their everyday lives!
  • I love the “intro activities” for each day’s Bible lessons – gets kids engaged and thinking!
  • I LOVE the "Point to Jesus" at the end of each lesson - excellent!
  • I’m very happy to see throughout the very engaging Bible lessons, when a question is asked, children are given time to respond and then a child is asked to read a passage from the Bible to see what the Bible says the answer is! LOVE this!
  • Music is excellent this year, it is my Runner up for VBS Music for 2013 . . . Yancy wrote most of the songs and kids – and adults – will love them! However; I’d like to see elementary age kids on the DVD rather than teens. If you use this VBS, your kids – and volunteers – will absolutely LOVE the music – if you do not use this VBS, be sure to get the music and then use it in your children’s ministry!
  • Last year I said I'd like to see a stronger and clear emphasis on a daily "live-it" activity - this year Standard did a tremendous job with this!
Would like to see –
  • Science projects worked into the curriculum – possibly in the opening or close – as these are a great way to capture the attention of kids – particularly the older elementary boys! 
Standard says, "Each day - or night - in God's Backyard Bible Camp  kids will see God at work in the lives of Old and New Testament Bible people and realize that God’s promises are for us too!" I love the focus in each lesson and each station on pointing children to God and challenging them to take what they learned out the doors of the church to live it in their everyday lives, every day by serving others! I am delighted to see a strong Bible content and an intentional effort to help children not just walk away from VBS with more “head knowledge”, but rather a focus on helping children remember, understand and live God’s Word in their everyday lives! 

You will have a tremendously difficult time choosing between the "Under the Sun" and the "Under the Stars" kits, so I say, get them both - and Standard is planning to make a second kit with just the lessons available to those who purchase the other one! Use one for VBS and the other for Summer Sundays or Mid-Week or a special Family event, or ???!!! If you have it, you will use it and you will be so glad you did! 

God's Backyard Bible Camp is a great option for a VBS with a strong focus on serving, evangelism, solid Bible content and application and it is for these reasons it is my Top Pick for VBS 2013! Be sure to take a serious look at God's Backyard Bible Camp and consider how you might use both of them at your church!


  1. I will check this out! Thanks :D

  2. We are enjoying this VBS curriculum. I do have three suggestions to make it better. First, I miss the memory verse posters. Second, it was hard to maneuver around the missions DVD. Finally, it was not user friendly to have the motions on one DVD for the songs and have the words on a separate DVD. After have success with Promise Island the year before, I was disappointed with the above issues.