Tuesday, January 6, 2015

VBS 2015 Review - Top Ten - Journey Off the Map - LifeWay - And Jump Start Kit Give-Away!

Today I'm happy to share another of my Top Ten VBS resources for 2015; this time it is, Journey off the Map from LifeWay! Take a look and consider if Journey off the Map is a good "fit" for your children's ministry!

Journey Off the Map
  1. Know your Guide - Gal. 4:4,5; Luke 2:8-11; Matt. 4:23-24; I Cor. 15:3-5 - Why Jesus came. Jesus is our Guide. 
  2. Follow your Guide - Daniel 1 - Daniel chose to obey God no matter what. God wants us to follow Jesus.
  3. Trust your Guide - Daniel 3 - Daniel's friends obeyed God, no matter what. Jesus wants us to trust Him.
  4. Stay on Track - Daniel 6 - God took care of Daniel. Jesus wants us to focus on Him.
  5. Keep Watching - Daniel 10, 12; John 14; Revelation 22:7 - God always cares. God promised to complete our journey through Jesus.
Setting – Children journey to uncharted territory where they will encounter the unexpected waiting around every bend.
Message/Theme – Children will, "need to stick close to their guides in order to survive. They will discover Jesus is the Ultimate Guide on a journey uncharted by them, but known by Him."
Focus – Evangelism, Content and Application
Strengths –
  • LOVE the "Christ Connection" and "Today's Point" for each lesson in the teacher's info.
  • I LOVE the "Takin' It Home CD" - what a terrific idea - sure to build excitement and more importantly, connect what children are doing at VBS with their own families!
  • LOVE LifeWay's VBS Family App! This is something families will want to check out for sure! Excellent!
  • As I would expect, Journey off the Map has a strong evangelistic emphasis, excellent local mission project and solid Bible teaching
  • Excellent resources for taking your VBS out of your church and into your community with Backyard Kid's Club!
  • Excellent focus on VBS and prayer - info on how to develop your prayer strategies and prayer team and I LOVE the "Mountain Top Prayer Moment" which involves children in praying each day!
  • Excellent resources for children with special needs!
  • I especially am happy to find excellent information on how to reach VBS families after VBS is over! I really love the “Connect in one hour” plan – great way to involve everyone in VBS in having a part with the follow up!
  • I found the options for crafts to be affordable, creative and fun; plus the craft book has a nice variety of craft options made with items you gather - some of these are excellent!
  • Music is well done. . . songs communicate the message and are songs kids will like, but I'd rather see just kids singing; not teens.
  • Love the Missions station! 
  • Excellent resource to help churches turn their building and grounds into uncharted territory!
Would like to see –
  • While some of the age levels and some of the days lessons do have children opening their Bibles during the teaching of the lesson, others do not do this at all. I'd really like to see LifeWay do this for all ages.
  • More excitement in the opening and closing – this is a great place for object lessons/science projects and give you a big way to once again make your point before kids leave for the day.
  • Ideas to help children live what they learn each day - daily challenges like last year.
LifeWay says, "Just as Daniel and his friends stepped into uncharted territory and found God still had a plan, kids can begin to understand obedience to God does not always lead to the expected. The journey of a lifetime begins with an exciting relationship with Jesus which continues into eternity,. Whenever faced with the unexpected, kids can know to listen for God's direction: 'This is the way. Walk in it.'"

I found Journey Off the Map to be well written to engage children with a focus on evangelism with solid Bible teaching. This VBS is an excellent resource - great for back-yard Bible clubs, Teen mission outreach opportunities and would be a lot of fun on Sundays in the Summer! Take a good look at Journey Off the Map to see how it might be a good "fit" for your ministry!

I am happy to say, LifeWay is making available some of their Jump Start kits which are, "packed with all the essentials you need to start planning for Journey off the Map", for me to give away (USA only)! If you are over the age of 18 and would like to be included in the drawing for one of the Jump Start kits - which will be on January 20, 2015, please comment below to let me know how Jesus has guided you; there have been many times I have been able to see where Jesus has guided me, but one big one was in going to California to serve with LIGHT Ministries  - I ended up meeting my husband - on an active volcano!

In addition if you have followed on Google Friend Connect, followed by liking on facebook with the tab in the "Find us on Facebook" box ON THE BLOG or at this link (not just liking the post) and/or have followed About the Children's Department by email you will receive one entry for each of these which you have done. Plus, if you "share" this post, you'll receive another entry (please let me know if you share). This will help me be able to draw names from among people who would like to win one of the Jump Start kits and it gives you several ways to enter the give-away! Thank you for reading About the Children's Department and for sharing it with the people you know!


  1. Jesus has guided me through so much in my life. Just today, he reminded me that I have his power inside of me, when I read a verse that said that I can turn my thoughts under Christ's submission. How awesome!!!

    I shared and Google Connected

    P.S. I'm glad Lifeway is getting better in it's teaching and Bible Studies.

  2. Jesus guides me through our VBS each year! I'm not a particularly organized or creative person, but my efforts as VBS director are always blessed in these areas. (

    BTW - I look forwarder to your reviews each year!)

  3. God has guided me in so many aspects. Where He has guided me the most, is that when I moved to the USA, that He guided me to the right church where I met my wife.

    I shared, and Google Connected, and Like the Facebook, and follow my email.

  4. Jesus has guided me in many ways, but the most life changing has been going into ministry as a vocation and then onto seminary. Both have been life changing!
    I have followed on Facebook; I receive About the Children's Dept. e-mails and I followed on Google Friend Connect

  5. Jesus has guided me through many situations :) Usually when something becomes very clear - like after every move where we look for a new church family and something the pastor says just makes us know ... God put those words in the mouth of the pastor at the right time :)

  6. Jesus clearly guided me to my current state, town, home and church where I found my job in Children's Ministry. It is great to look back and see how he orchestrated it all! Thanks for doing these reviews. I follow you through my Feely reader and enjoy reading your posts. I also follow you on Facebook. Thanks for sharing all your insights.

  7. God has guided me always in my life. I think one of the biggest journeys he took me on was the cancer journey. We had to totally trust Him through all of it. I praise Him that He took me on the journey to find my spouse, our home and our church too.
    Thank you Lynda for your great reviews. We are using this curriculum this year. Now we are praying for a director. I am glad to read that prayer is an important pat of the curriculum.
    I follow by e mail and I like you on facebook as Merry Sunshine
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

  8. God has guided me in my marriage and our ministry and most recently as we are in the adoption process.

  9. God has been guiding my husband and I through the adoption process

  10. God has guided me in my marriage and our ministry and most recently as we are in the adoption process.

  11. God has guided me in starting a community children's ministry with two others. We look to Him for guidance in all that we do. It has been an amazing adventure! Thanks so much for the chance to win this kit! Blessings, Debbie

  12. This will be my 10th year directing VBS. God has lead us to use VBS from several different vendors, and each year with God's guidance we accomplish what He sets us out to do.

  13. He helped my husband and I find each other during really hard times.

  14. God Guides me each day and I am so thankful! One of my favorite hymns is Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah! What a blessed thought that He leads and guides us and that He will never lose our path, even when we do not know what direction to go. He shuts doors that no man can open and opens doors no man can shut. It was so apparent when my husband entered Bible College and we needed a place to live for our family, I prayed that God would find us a place closer than the houses we had looked at for a price we could afford. God did just that with a house that was not even on the market. We found it through God's leading us to a moving sale to ask questions.