Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vacation Bible School - Getting It on Paper

Hello again! I hope you are joining us again this week as we talk more about the planning of a schedule for a VBS program on your mission field. If you missed last week's post, I advise you to read it since it gives more information regarding the first steps of planning. This week, I hope to help you get all the ideas flooding your mind onto paper so that you are well prepared for the week of VBS to arrive!

One of the first things we must talk about is the THEME of your VBS program. Now, as I told you in the previous post, my husband and I hold a week long program in the summer; so I will use a week-long program as the example. Remember, you can hold a VBS program anytime of the year as long as you can be sure the children are free to attend. We have been dreaming of a winter program as well, but we have some work to do before we have a building where that could take place!

Back to the THEME. This is one of the most fun things about planning, but it also requires a whole lot of time and thought. I will say one thing here that might surprise you! It is great if you have a theme with daily lessons that flow beautifully and oh, so smoothly, but honestly...the kids don't care as much about that as you do! Please don't misunderstand me. It is great to have a theme, but sometimes we get so wrapped up in the theme that we forget to strive EACH day to use the story or lesson, no matter what it may be, to teach and share the Gospel. Also, it is not always easy to translate or convey our American 'play on words' in the daily themes; so be aware of not making your decor and ideas too "American." Now, I want to share a few themes that we have used here in Russia in our VBS programs. The details are too lengthy to list in this post; so if you would like any more information regarding these themes, please feel free to contact me at:

2007: Jesus Gives Salvation - Verse: Luke 19:10
2008: Jesus Is the Light - Verse: John 8:12
2009: Bible - A Living Book!
2010: How Decisions We Make Today Affect Our Future - this was not printed any where on the flyers or worksheets, but each day we taught about important decisions that affect our lives, i.e., Choosing proper friends, Listening to good advice, etc.
2011: The Heart - Verse: Proverbs 4:23
2012: Olympic Theme

Once you have a theme, you must decide on a DAILY  SCHEDULE of events. This is remembering that you have already determined a daily time frame which you need to be sure you can fill completely with activity but not go over. Remember: Plan to keep the children busy at all times.
Busy children = control!
Here are the activities we include daily in our schedule:
*Registration (we will talk more about this later)
*Introduction/point tabulation time
*Song time
*Bible lesson
*Review game
*Craft time
*Snack time
*Game time
*Object Lesson (we haven't done this every year)
*Dismissal time - gives you a few minutes to hand out worksheets/remind children to invite friends and come back the next day.

VBS 2008 Puppet show

The first couple of years, we also had a daily puppet show to help drive home the point of the day's theme. Puppets are a great way to keep the kids coming back each day by having their dialogue or story continue throughout the week. Also, if you do not have access to puppets, skits are another wonderful tool to help illustrate the daily lessons or themes.

At this point, you will do yourself a huge favor if you take the time now to determine:
your logo for the program which will be used in the printing of the flyers and worksheets,
each song to be sung,
each Bible lesson (obviously this is the skeleton that you build everything around),
daily worksheets (if you plan to use them),
a daily review game,
a daily craft,
plan the snacks and drinks for each day (and who will bring them),
and four or five daily games (always plan for more than you need, just in case).

Trust me! Making all of these decisions now will be such a relief to you as the coordinator. It will give you more time during the week for all of the last minute problems you may have to fix, allow you more time to tally points (if you choose to use a point system), and allow you to focus more on any teaching you may be doing during the week. (Sometimes the coordinator wears many hats!)

Now that all of these decisions have been made, you can begin the paperwork part of preparing:
*Flyers and posters to be printed.
*Songbooks (will they be printed professionally? by you? What will be the cover design?)
*Daily worksheets (more to come on this in future posts)
*Verse lists for the children to have a concise list of all the verses they will hopefully memorize throughout the week!

Now, once you have jotted down some notes regarding which activities you wish to include each day of VBS, print out copies of that daily schedule for each of your workers. Here is an example at the end of this post of one for you to see from a previous VBS we held. I translated most of the important information for you into English. 

Please stick with me as we continue next Wednesday talking more about VBS! Again, if you have any questions or would like to know more about anything in these posts, please write me. I would love to hear from you!


VBS – Day 1
Jehosophat  - Choose your friends wisely.  
Memory Verse: Proverbs 13:20 - “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
“Общающийся с мудрыми будет мудр, а кто дружит с глупыми, развратится.”
Программа (Program):
1.         Регистрация - Foyer        (Dee/Nancy and Lydia)   20 мин. (11:00 – 11:20)
2.         Предисловие-Main Hall  (David/Dee)                    30 мин(11:20 – 11:50)
Молитва (Prayer)   (David)
Explanation of Points (Dee)
                        Song of the Week: “Мы Бодрей на Жизненном Пути Пойдём ”
Object Lesson: (Dee)
Songs: (Dee) “Если Счастлив”, “Да Любит Он!”, Счастлив Я Всегда! 
                                                                        Divide into groups
Younger 6-8 years (Lydia/Dee) – smaller auditorium
Older 9-up years (David/Nancy) - main auditorium
3.         Lesson – Jehosophat/Verse: Proverbs 13:20               15 мин(11:50 – 12:05)
4.         Review Game: (Nancy-Older kids/Lydia-younger) 15 мин.  (12:05 – 12:20)
(Nancy, Lydia, Elizabeth - set up for snacks in foyer while Dee sings with kids)
Соединить (Regroup)   - Everyone in foyer for snacks
5.         Snack time         Gather point cards                10 мин.  (12:20 – 12:30)
 (Nancy, Elizabeth, Lydia - Set up for craft in smaller auditorium)
6.         Craft:  Friendship - Hands (Everyone help as needed)   30 мин(12:30 – 13:00)
7.         Games  (David, Nancy, Elizabeth, Lydia)                        45 мин. (13:05 –13:50)     
8.         Dismissal  Main auditorium                                          5-10 мин.  (13:50 – 14:00)
          Домашнее задание  (Give out homework sheets)
                        Молитва (Prayer)       (David)    


Jolene said...

Fabulous post, DeeDee! We have been in charge of VBS many times, and I can definitely agree with you about getting it all down on paper and the need to be super organized. Things run SO MUCH more smoothly that way!

And, I loved it that I could read both languages in your sample schedule. :-)

David and Dee Dee Sterling said...

Ha! Jolene! I immediately thought of you when I put the photo in the post and the schedule! :) So, I think you need to come and bring that beautiful family of yours over here for a visit since you would understand everything! :)