Wednesday, January 15, 2020

VBS 2020 - Concrete & Cranes from LifeWay

Today I'm happy to share another of my VBS resources for 2020; this time it is, Concrete & Cranes from LifeWay. Take a look and consider if Concrete & Cranes is a good "fit" for your Children's Ministry!

Concrete & Cranes
Price - Director's Kit - $35.99; Preschool Starter Kit - $99.99; Elementary Starter Kit - $99.99; Digital kits - $129.99 each
  1. Foundation of Love - Jesus Chose Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13) - Jesus chooses to love me. I can’t earn it.

  2. Foundation of Forgiveness - Paul’s Redemption (Acts 26:1-29 ) - Jesus loves me regardless of my sin.

  3. Foundation of Worth - Jesus Prayed in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46) - Jesus chose to die for me.

  4. Foundation of Promise - Jesus’ Resurrection and Promise (Matthew 28:1-10,16-20) - Jesus will always love me.

  5. Foundation for Life - Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-29) - Jesus’ love is the foundation for the rest of my life.

Setting – This summer, kids will grab their hard hats and head out to the construction site to discover skyscrapers aren’t the only things which  need a rock solid foundation.
Message/Theme – During VBS, kids will discover Jesus’ love provides a foundation which will last. When the storms of life come, they’ll need the One who will be with them to the end of the age. They’ll learn to be wise builders who continue in what they’ve learned and firmly believe. And discover He who began a good work will be faithful to carry it on to completion. We’re all a work in progress. Life is a hard hat zone. But just wait ‘til you see what God will do!
Focus – Evangelism, Content and Application

Strengths –
  • I am happy to see the small group time for each pre-teen Bible lesson which engages children in thinking about, reading and reviewing the Bible event for the day.
  • As I would expect, Concrete & Cranes has a strong evangelistic emphasis, excellent local mission project and solid Bible teaching.
  • Excellent focus on VBS and prayer - info on how to develop your prayer strategies and prayer team.
  • 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!
  • Once again I found the craft book has a nice variety of craft options made with items you gather - some of these are excellent!
Would like to see –
  • I personally liked the way the pre-teen lessons engaged the children in discovering what God's Word says, talking it over, focus on understanding it and encouragement for them to live it. If you use a classroom model, I would use this age level for all the ages - just tweek a bit to simplify for younger children.
  • I would rather see a learning stations approach to the VBS curriculum. The classroom setting is not used by most churches and leaves churches looking for learning station curriculum more likely to "pass" on what is a solid curriculum resource as it is a lot of work to pull from this curriculum to get the station material. A Bible station book - which I'd use grades 3 & 4 this year as their lessons are most engaging and then break up into stations. This would be an excellent addition.
  • Lessons which engage children. Grades 3 & 4 lessons are engaging , but Grades 1 & 2 are minimally engaging and would need to be re-worked to be more engaging.
  • The Opening and Close is not included in the starter kits. It is in the Worship Rally resource, which is purchased on its own - $42.99 for the Worship Rally Pack.
  • The Director's book is not in the starter kit - it is in the Director's kit - which is also purchased on its own.
  • I'd like to see a complete kit - preschool, elementary, director's information and opening/close all in one kit. With them spread out the price really adds up. Having main and necessary components spread out between different kits/resources is frustrating and confusing - it does not need to be. I understand there may be some churches where they just want teacher's material, but most churches need the essentials - one kit with all the essentials would be less confusing and easier to understand what it costs to get what you need.
LifeWay says, "As kids explore a world of concrete and cranes, rivets and rebar, bulldozers and backhoes, they will learn to build their faith on Jesus as they uncover the truth that He who began a good work will be faithful to carry it on to completion."

My grandsons like this setting - but they are boys and they like tools, trucks, etc. I suspect granddaughters would be less enthusiastic about a building setting (just as boys may be less enthusiastic about something like a ballet setting.) I get how the setting "fits" with the theme of building faith on Jesus, but would rather see a setting which is more likely to appeal to both boys and girls. Just my opinion.

As I expect the Bible teaching is solid; I'd like to see more creativity and engagement - outside of writing with pencils on paper - used to help get the children's attention, keep their attention, so they are able to understand, remember and live what the Bible has to say. Particularly in the younger ages. As solid as the content is, I know my active young grandsons would have a very hard time paying attention during the lesson in the grades 1 & 2 material. Please write so it engages children - this makes it more likely they will want to return.

Concrete & Cranes is solid, without a doubt and makes an excellent choice for VBS or Summer Sundays, or mid-week all year, or wherever you want to use it - just use the 3rd & 4th grade or 5th & 6th grade material as they are written to engage the children the best.

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