Thursday, January 16, 2020

VBS 2020 - Big Fish Bay from Regular Baptist Press

Today, as we continue my 2020 VBS reviews, we are looking at Big Fish Bay from Regular Baptist Press! 

RBP did a great job with the content and substance of this VBS resource - if  you are not familiar with their materials and have never taken a close look at them in the past, this year is a great year to consider if Big Fish Bay is a good "fit" for your Children's Ministry!

Big Fish Bay

Regular Baptist Press
  1. Overboard: Jonah Runs from God - Jonah 1:1–16 - God’s leading is always best for us.
  2. In the Sea: Jonah Thanks God - Jonah 1:17—2:10 - God’s rescuing work is the answer to our greatest needs.
  3. On the Lifeboat: Nineveh Receives God’s Mercy - Jonah 3:1–10 - God’s compassion and mercy are worth sharing.
  4. Against the Wind: Jonah Is Angry at God - Jonah 4:1–11 - God’s desires should be our desires.
  5. From the Lighthouse: Jesus Shows God’s Mercy - Luke 23:33–46; 24:1–12 - God offers us His mercy through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Setting – Big Fish Bay is a nautical theme where kids explore an exciting bay, fish off the pier, and venture out to sea, complete with a lighthouse, tall ships, and coastal animals. 
Message – "Children will embark on a journey into the life of Jonah. They’ll encounter God’s mercy and see how His compassionate heart was most fully expressed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Seeing God’s mercy, sharing God’s mercy—kids will be “Hooked on God’s Mercy."
Focus – Evangelism, Bible content and Application

Strengths –
  • As I would expect, Big Fish Bay has a strong evangelistic emphasis, solid Bible content and great information on how to reach VBS families after VBS is over!
  • Excellent info in the Director's book to help you set goals and count-down for an effective VBS outreach and ministry to the children in your church and community.
  • Provides a variety of recruiting and training information/ resources.
  • Solid information about leading a child to Jesus - appreciate the caution to help avoid the "herd instinct" where children respond because others did.
  • Very complete director’s book – especially appreciate the info on engaging children with special needs and the thorough way it covers screening volunteers and safety along with volunteer dedication and appreciation!
  • I'm happy to see creative engagement of the children during the Bible adventure portion of each day’s lesson again this year for all the ages!
  • I’m very happy to see teachers and children reading from the Bible during most of the Bible lessons for the Middler and Junior ages! 
  • The activities connect well and do a good job of reinforcing the daily point!
  • Strong, intentional focus on providing children the opportunity to make the decision to trust and believe in Jesus in each day’s lesson.
  • I still would like to see a bit more “pep” and possibly more original music – but you have the option to use music with a piano track or instrumental track again.
  • Great craft book with an abundance of affordable ideas
Would like to see –
  • Ideas to help children serve in their own communities.
  • 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 RBP source these items from other places.
  • Zipper tags or something children could take home each day to remind them of the event they learned and what they are going to do to live it.
  • Resources for churches which do not use the classroom model – Bible lessons in a book for a Bible lesson station and a station with object lessons/science projects/activities – this would provide more options and make the materials easier for churches to use.
  • More excitement in the opening and closing – this is a great place for object lessons/science projects and gives you a big way to once again make your point before children leave for the day.
  • I’d like to see a more intentional and stronger focus on specific things for children to go and “do” before they return the next day to live what they learned.
Regular Baptist Press says, "Big Fish Bay features a nautical theme built around Psalm 103:8, 'The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.' With this exciting VBS program, churches can help communities learn about God’s mercy from the book of Jonah and see how God’s merciful heart was most fully expressed in Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection. Kids will be challenged to see God’s mercy and share it with others."  

As I would expect from Regular Baptist Press, the Bible content is solid and I’m very happy to once again see an intentional focus on helping children who are already Christians learn how to live what they learn in their everyday lives! 
If you are looking for a resource to use in a park or other outdoor location, 
Big Fish Bay is a great pick as it is easy to set up and decorate outside and the content is solid.

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