Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What Matters Most When Selecting Your VBS Resources?

I have reviewed VBS resources each year since 1994 - yes, for 25 years. Over this time I have read through a lot of VBS resources (usually at least nine or ten each year, and some years - when there were more publishers releasing VBS resources - as many as 16).

For a VBS resource to make it into my review it HAS to be Scripturally sound. Period. I will not include a resource which is not Scripturally sound in my review.

Now, I have heard people from time to time complain about how they thought a VBS resource I reviewed was not Scripturally sound; so, what is required for a VBS resource to be Scripturally sound? I look for the following . . .

  • Is the Bible the focus of the teaching time?
  • Is the Bible faithfully presented?
  • Is any doctrine faithfully presented?
For me, these are the things I look for when determining if a VBS resource is Scripturally sound.

Now I know there are churches where they want "more" Bible in each lesson and churches where they feel like the Bible point had to be "stretched" to get to where the publisher put it.

Yes, publishers could put more Bible in their Bible lessons. For a number of years, in my reviews, I put under the "would like to see" section if I felt like they should have had "more" Bible in the lessons. I wrote how I wanted to see publishers have the teachers teach from an open Bible, show the children where in the Bible their adventure was found and have children open and read from the Bible as well. I'm very, very happy to see this becoming a part of VBS resources!

And yes, from time to time, publishers do "stretch" the Bible point to get to where they want it in their curriculum. Each and every publisher I have ever reviewed has done this from time to time. I would like to see them be more attentive to selecting Bible accounts which "fit" what they are trying to teach without "stretching" them to do so.

I have also heard over the years how some people think some VBS resource focus more on the "living" the Bible event than the teaching of the Bible or the evangelism focus. This is true. Some VBS publishers do focus more on the living of the Bible accounts they chose than they do on an evangelism focus.

I'm very happy to see each VBS resource this year has both an evangelism focus AND a living it focus. In my opinion both are needed for a truly effective outreach. Most churches have few children who participate in their VBS who do not also participate in their Sunday and/or mid-week ministry. This means, if a church is being intentional about inviting children to trust and follow Jesus, the children in their VBS have heard the Gospel before.

I do believe every VBS must present the Gospel - there could be children there who have not made the decision to believe in Jesus before and VBS is the ideal opportunity to reach them. However; most of the children in a VBS have already made this decision. These children need to be challenged to take God's Word and live it in their everyday life. This is where the living it focus comes in.

If I am only selecting one VBS resource (and I sincerely hope you are choosing more than one VBS resource to use this year - think Sundays, family days and mid-week ministry all year) then I want a resource which does provide the opportunity to invite children to trust and follow Jesus. BUT I also want a resource which creatively captures the children's attention and helps them understand how to take the Bible event and apply it to their lives, so they will be able to live it in their life.

If I think a VBS resource could have focused more on the Bible, it is easy for volunteers to add this - boost the lesson a bit, but if it is not written to creatively engage children, in my experience, not all volunteers understand how to do this. I would rather have to boost the Bible focus a bit and know the children will be engaged, so I would choose a curriculum with the active teaching. I do not want to see "church kids" just tune out on the Bible teaching, because they have "heard it before". I want them to be engaged, for their attention to be captured.

And for those children who were created by God to learn by moving, wiggling and doing - an active curriculum which engages children is far better than one which forces children to sit and listen to an adult talk. I do NOT want children to get the idea church is not for them, because they are an active learning and the lessons are focused upon children who learn by listening and watching.

So, as you choose your VBS this year, choose a Biblically sound VBS (every VBS I review is Biblically sound), choose one with a focus on evangelism and choose one which will creatively engage children, so they all understand and live God's Word.

No comments:

Post a Comment