APRIL 4, 2016
“The most important part of a quality VBS program is not the T-shirts or the crafts or catchy skits that open the day. It is the relationships that are formed with the leaders, peers, and with God. Putting our time in the training and nurture of the staff of VBS is more critical than finding inflatable palm trees or the right banner to hang out front.” -Kathy Dawson, Hope4CE
As we approach the summer and see all the publicity about Vacation Bible School programs, we are reminded how important this experience can be for children. It is one of the few concentrated blocks of time that the church has to do faith formation with a child. Many of you remember the experiences and people who were part of your VBS events long ago. Relationships are the key to a successful Vacation Bible School as youth and adults lend a hand in leading children closer to Christ.
At the end of this post you’ll find the VBS program options set up in our Resource Center earlier this year. We do this each year and then lend kits to committees as they make their choice. My recommendations for the top VBS programs this year are:
- Water All Around The World published by Living Waters PCUSA Synod,
- Cokesbury’s Surf Shack, and
- Group’s Egypt: Joseph’s Journey from Prison to Palace.
I am not a fan of expensive glitz and glamor, or making VBS themes biblical but with gimmicky, cutesy things, which is why I chose the three listed as recommendations. The Water All Around The World program provides an economical VBS all in one notebook. The crafts are simple and do not require lots of time gathering things. There are Moravians in all of the highlighted countries, so it is an excellent opportunity to use our supplemental Moravian Mission VBS. Everyone is familiar with the Cokesbury model, a traditional, very teacher friendly program which has been out for several years. They do one a nice job using themes and tying them into biblical stories. Group’s Egypt is a marketplace model that takes you back to marketplaces and journeys of biblical times. This program allows you to easily mix ages or can be done with specific ages.
Here at the Resource Center, we keep a list of which churches are doing what school and when. Churches are often able to share VBS resources and decorations with each other. Come check Vacation Bible School out in the BCM soon! In the meantime, enjoy the photos and overviews of various programs below.
FYI, here are some of the programs being used in 2016:
- Surf Shack: Highland Presbyterian, Central Moravian, Olivet
- Cave Quest: Fulp, First Presbyterian Winston Salem, Fairview, Guilford Park Presbyterian, First Presbyterian Greensboro, Great Kills Moravian, and New Dorp Moravian.
- Water Around the World: Salem Creek RCC
- Standard Deep Sea Discovery: Grace Moravian
- Egypt: New Philadelphia, Jamestown Presbyterian, and Unity/Shallowford Presbyterian.
- Surprised by Love from Mennomedia: Hope Moravian
VBS Name: CAVE QUEST
Theme: Following Jesus The Light of the World
Bible Stories: Prophets fortell light of the world (John 1:1-34), Jesus and Peter walk on water (Matthew 14:22-36), Jesus sheds light on how to live (Matthew 5-7), Jesus dies and comes back to life (Luke 23:1-24:12), Jesus ascends and empowers his followers (Acts 1:1-11)
Music: Music non-reproducible, Sing and Play Music CD
VBS Name: EGYPT
Theme: Joseph’s Journey from prison to palace
Bible Stories: Joseph interprets dreams (Genesis 40:1-23), Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge (Genesis 41:1-40), Joseph leads Egypt through famine (Genesis 41:41-42), Joseph forgives his brothers (Genesis 42:6-45:15), Joseph settles his family in Egypt (Genesis 45:16-47:27)
Music: Music non-reproducible, Celebration Music CD
VBS Name: BARNYARD ROUNDUP
Publisher: Concordia Publishing
Theme: Jesus gathers us together
Bible Stories: Jesus the good shepherd (John 10:1-18), Jesus feeds 5000 (Mark 6:30-44), Jesus tells about a sower (Matt 13:1-23), Jesus and the lost son (Luke 15:11-32), Jesus appears to Mary in the garden (John 20:1-10)
Music: Music non-reproducible, Moovin and Groovin Passalong CD
VBS Name: DEEP SEA DISCOVERY
Publisher: Standard Publishing
Theme: Not only is God with me everywhere I go, but he wants me to go out and share his love with others.
Bible Stories: Noah survives the flood (Genesis 6-9), Jonah prays inside the fish (Jonah 1-3), Peter walks on water (Matthew 14), Jesus appears by the sea (John 21), Paul sets sail to tell God’s story (Acts 13-14)
Music: Music non reproducible, Passalong Music CD
VBS Name: SURF SHACK
Theme: Catch the wave of God’s amazing love
Bible Stories: Creation (Genesis 1), Miriam cares for Moses (Exodus 2:1-10), baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17), Jesus calms the storm (Luke 8:22-25), breakfast on the beach (John 21:1-17)
Music: Music non-reproducible, Student Take-home CD
VBS Name: WATER ALL AROUND THE WORLD
Publisher: Living waters for the world
Theme: Learn how Jesus is Living Water for our bodies and souls
Bible Stories: God sends water to Hagar and Ishmael (Genesis 21), water from the rock (Exodus 17), Noah and the flood (Genesis 8), baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3), woman at the well (John 4)
Music: Music reproducible
VBS Name: JOY IN JESUS
Theme: Everywhere All the time
Bible Stories: A room for praise (Psalm 100), a room on a roof (II Kings 4:8-17), a room without a roof (Mark 2:1-12), an upstairs room (Acts 20:7-12) under a roof (Matthew 8:5-11,1)
Music: Music non-reproducible, Student Take-home CD
If you have questions or need additional information, email (bhayesATmcsp.org) or call the Resource Center (336) 722-8126.
Beth Hayes is the Director of Congregational Ministries and Resources, Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM)