Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let's Get More Out of Our Vacation Bible School Resources . . . Summer Fun Days!

As I've said before, Vacation Bible School resources are one of your best curriculum buys of the year! Publishers put a lot of thought and attention into determining which Bible lessons they will use, how to add creativity and imagination to the games, craft and setting and selecting the music which best reinforces the Bible lessons and point. Each and every year there are more than a dozen well developed resources for us to evaluate and select the one which will best "fit" our own unique ministries. This is a difficult choice and most churches narrow their choices down to their favorite two or three resources . . . I'd like to encourage you to get those two or three and use them all - because if you have them, you will use them!

Obviously use one for your week of VBS, but then use the others to add focus and strength to your children's ministry. Yesterday we looked at using VBS for your Summer Sunday ministry . . . re-using the VBS resources you used for VBS or buying additional VBS resources to extend the learning and help children think through how it looks in their every day lives to live what they learned in VBS.

Today I'd like you to consider using VBS resources for Summer Fun Days! Some churches plan a day-camp ministry each summer and others plan fun days - one or two days a week for three to five weeks throughout the summer where children experience learning God's Word in a focused and high-energy program. VBS resources are excellent tools to use for these settings as they give you an over-all theme and help you keep your focus. You can use the Bible lessons to engage the children and help them understand God's gift of forgiveness and grace and how to walk with Him during the teaching portion of each "fun day". Obviously the "point" of fun days is not to just have activities, but rather to provide a different setting where children can learn God's Word and talk about how they can take it out the doors of the church and live it in their every day lives!

However; "fun" is a part of "fun days" and this is where you can utilize the games, crafts and music in the VBS resources or just some of them and then plan additional activities such as swimming, going to a ball game or local water park or other local attraction. You wouldn't necessarily need a complete VBS kit for Summer Fun Days - just the Bible lesson book, music and any activity center books which fit well with your over-all goals and plans. Add in a mission/service project and you could develop an opportunity to intentionally engage the children in your church and community and expand your impact doing so! Be sure to think through all the safety issues for such an event and have sufficient staffing - and be certain to screen all your staff.

Summer Fun Days can be a way to re-engage older elementary children, particularly boys, who may think a traditional VBS is for little kids. Most people make their decisions for Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14 so the summer, when children are not in school, is the ideal opportunity to reach out to children and provide opportunities for them to learn of God's love for them, their need for Him and respond to His gift of salvation. It is also the perfect time to engage children who know Jesus and help them better understand how to know and walk with Him!

More and more churches reduce and even eliminate their children's ministry during the summer . . . I'd like to encourage you to do the opposite! Put it into "full-gear" and take advantage of the fact children are out of school and in many cases are looking for something to do! Give them that "something" to do . . . VBS resources are excellent tools to help you do exactly this!

Tomorrow we will look at using VBS resources for Mission Trips.

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