Friday, January 15, 2016

VBS 2016 - Expedition Norway from Group Publishing

Norway Vbs Ultimate Starter KitToday is the fifth day of my 2016 VBS reviews and I'm happy to share a VBS I really enjoyed reviewing. Last year was the first year Group Publishing gave churches yet another option when it came to VBS . . . a Cross Culture VBS . . . and they are doing so again this year with Expedition Norway! With this resource you get to take children and families from your church to another culture in a different location somewhere in our world - in this case, Norway - so they may "experience" life in this place and see God in the faces of Christian children from Norway!

Cross Culture VBS - Expedition Norway
Group Publishing

  1. When life changes, God is good! - Daniel is taken to Babylon - Daniel 1
  2. When life is scary, God is good! - Daniel faces a den of lions - Daniel 6
  3. When life is sad, God is good! - Jesus died and came back to life - John 18-20
  4. When life is good, God is good! - Jesus made a beachside breakfast for His friends - John 21
Setting – The land of Norway
Message – "Each day at Expedition Norway VBS, children travel through field-tested rotations which reinforce relevant Bible Points and immerse them in Nordic culture and helps them understand God's love is for everyone in the world." 
Focus – Evangelism, Application, Content
Strengths –
  • I LOVE the focus on how God is good all the time - not matter what is happening in our lives! Excellent!
  • I love the creative and engaging Bible lessons - excellent job of engaging children in activity and discussion throughout each lesson!
  • I am really happy to see Group included "Huddle & Prayer" time for the leaders before they begin the activities with their small groups. It is powerful for children and families to see their leaders pray for them before they begin!
  • I LOVE how Expedition Norway provides time in the Opening Celebration for children to share their "God Sightings" from the day before - excellent!
  • KID-VID Stories - are excellent and give children an opportunity to "meet" children from Norway!
  • I found the options for crafts to be unique, interesting and fun!
  • I love the Openings/Closings - full of energy, excitement and engagement of children! 
  • I really liked the songs this year - came close, very close to choosing it as my Top Pick for music, but there are too many teens on the songs and too many songs almost exclusively teens singing. The songs with the children singing are by far better than the ones with the teens.
Would like to see –
  • Ideas to help kids serve in their own communities.
  • I was hoping I'd see teachers and children reading from the Bible during the Bible lessons and would love to see this next year
  • A more affordable “basic” kit option for churches on a very tight budget
  • There are far, far, far too many gadgets and items in this VBS which were made in China. I have significant concerns about child/slave labor for anything made in China and would like to see Group source these items from other places.
  • While on a whole there were children singing in the DVD, there are teens who tend to "over-exaggerate" their smiles and motions and end up looking out of place and "fake". I'd like to see Group just have children on the DVD and stop using older singers.
Group says, "God loves the entire world. God sent His Son as a gift of love for people - people who speak English, Mandarin, Spanish, Quechuan, Thai, Norwegian, Hindi and Farsi. God didn't want to be separated from people - people who wear jeans, saris, kimonos, ponchos and kilts. God wants a relationship with people - people who eat sushi, coconuts, tacos, lefse, curry and croissants. With Cross Culture VBS, you'll get to share the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of one unique culture with the children in your community, while helping them discover God's eternal love for the world. As a result, you'll create confident, faith-filled children who understand the power of Jesus' love in a diverse world." 

I found Expedition Norway to have all the "comforts" of Group with its design and format, but a unique "flavor" with the way it takes children "cross culture" and gives them the opportunity to become familiar with life in Norway. If you are looking for a VBS with a solid and strong focus on God's Word and Missions, definitely take a good look at Expedition Norway! If you are looking for a VBS which is just something different, definitely take a good look at  Expedition Norway!

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