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 Post subject: VBS
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:16 am 
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Location: Tennessee, USA
Our church hasn't had a Vacation Bible School program for several years, so our small club decided to host a three-day VBS weekend. It took place last weekend.

We did the whole program from scratch, fashioning it around Bible readings about Christ's birth. Our stories were (1) the angel and Zacharias, (2) the angel and Mary and the angel and Joseph, and (3) Jesus' birth. Our crafts corresponded with the story as much as possible and we had an active game period where we taught the kids some of the games we play on Pathfinder camps.

Our club of four had a Pathfinder involved in each area: storytelling (the VBS kids re-enacted the stories with the Pathfinder helping with costumes and props), crafts (all helped), snacks and cooking crafts (we made Christmas cookies and decorated them, and Bethlehem (Bethlehem = house of bread) biscuits with honey), song service (they were in charge of selecting the songs for this), games and any go-fer work. One Pathfinder took advantage of this opportunity to work on the video honor!

The kids who attended really enjoyed themselves, especially playing games with the bigger Pathfinder-aged kids. One little miss said, "I LOVE VBS, it's so much fun!"

And the parents appreciated the timing. They commented, "I like the three days; the kids get so worn out after five days." "I like this time of year -- we got to go visiting and shopping without the kids!" "You ARE going to do this again next year, aren't you???"

Thank God it was a success, because I had some sleepless nights going into the program.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:22 pm 
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
That is a great idea! Our church has been in the same position and has not had a VBS for a while. The idea of our Pathfinders being involved was brought up a staff meeting, but we had not thought of doing it sometime other than summer. That is a really neat idea! I am glad that it went so well!

Jonathan


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:27 am 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona (USA): NAD
That sounds like it was very successful what a wonderful effort on your part.

It is unfortunate that VBS has not been happening at your church in years. Recently I sat in a "Workshop" given by Elder Sung Kwon (Executive Director of ACS), he was in part expressing a discontent that churches only reach out to children through VBS and just once a year.

I am sure it was a lot of work for your group to prepare just a three day VBS, you succeeded though and made seasonally correct too. Do you think you might try to do such a program seasonally (three or four times a year)? If you could do that it would make an amazing longterm impact I think.

Also, would you be willing to share with others the program details for the VBS you just did so they might take advantage of it?

God Bless,

Chris Fishell
Xtreme Youth Resources International


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 Post subject: VBS
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:15 pm 
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Because the VBS was during the Christmas season, we purposefully chose to center our programs around three distinct Christmas stories: the angel visiting Zacharias, the angel visiting Mary and visiting Joseph, and the birth of the Christ Child. The script came from the Bible, the NIV version.

Our program ran from 6:30 pm to 9 or 9:30 pm. Each night, we started with about 30 minutes (yes, you read that right, but the kids LOVED it) of active songs -- "Father Abraham" and "Read your Bible, pray every day" were hands down favorites. After the songs, an adult or Pathfinder helper read the story directly from the Bible. VBS kids were invited to dress in Bible costumes (thanks Oriental Trading!) and act out the parts as the verses were read again.

After the story, we worked on crafts. This took longer than I anticipated. The first night, we worked on an angel weaving project. I thought it would be too "young" for our kids (most were early elementary), but even the adults and Pathfinders got into this (once again, this was an Oriental Trading Company project). We also made butterflies using a candy cane as the body (I found this idea and the paper "wing" template online). I glued on eyes and the kids twisted on chenille stems as "antennae." These used up extra candy canes donated to the church *grin*.

The second night, we made "stained glass" candle holders using donated empty baby food jars and torn up crepe paper in a variety of colors. The kids glued these onto the jars and left to dry until the next day. When the jars were dry, I glued pretty ribbon around the tops and dropped a votive candle in each jar. This represented Jesus, the light of the world.

The last night, our craft was a "Rejoice" doorhanger (once again, Oriental Trading) with a picture of the nativity scene glued to the bottom of the hanger. Lots of little pieces, lots of time, but the result was very nice.

After crafts, we had mostly healthy low-sugar snacks (except when we baked sugar cookies the second night, and decorated them the third evening to take home *blush*). The last night, I baked biscuits in house shapes (used a cookie cutter) which we ate with honey. Bethlehem means house of bread, which, surprisingly, one VBS participant remembered from our Pastor's sermon the week before. We ate mostly fruit and bread types of foods. No nuts, no cheese or milk proeduts to make things easier with the different types of diets. (I made up a little flyer I gave to each parent when a child was registered with each night's story, the craft and what snack would be served. The parents appreciated that!)

After the snack, the kids played an active game in the church basement. I have a lot of Group Publishing's game books, so I picked up ideas from thse. One game we had lots of requests for (which wasn't in any of the books) was "Smile if you love me honey." This is a staple Pathfinder camping game for our club where the object is to make someone smile without touching them, simply by creatively saying "Smile, if you love me honey." A couple of the VBSer's dissolved into giggles as soon as you LOOKED at them, much less said "Smile if you love me honey."

This is waaay more than I'd intended to write, but it is a basic summary of what we did.

Next year, we'll have a three-day around the same time, using a different theme.

I got a lot of compliments for not using a canned VBS like the ones you see promoted everywhere each year, but for having a more personal program. It worked for us, and I'm grateful.

Going on God's errands,

Linda


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:36 pm 
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Thanks for taking the time to write that up Linda. I really appreciate the amount of detail you did go into. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.

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Jim Thomas
The sooner you get behind, the more time you have to catch up.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:03 am 
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Wow!

Chris


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:51 am 
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Location: Reynoldsburg, OH (USA)
Linda,

That was amazing. I will mention this to some of my Pathfinder Directors that do VBS. Thanks.

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Betsy Colón


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