Posts Tagged ‘VBS’



Dave Perrel is one of our many VBS Kids Camp volunteers who have faithfully served for numerous years. He served as the leader of our Game Station.  One year after VBS, he suggested we create a science station for VBS the following year. It was an amazing idea, which had not been done by any curriculum publishers.

Dave took the curriculum and created a station that uses science to illustrate our Bible lesson. He has continued to do this every year, and our kids love science at VBS Kids Camp. Dave and his wife, Alisa also serve as small group leaders for our elementary kids on Sundays.

Dave teaches AP physics at Anderson High School and loves teaching and his students. This year Dave has been named an Indiana Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching.

Dave shared with me that the application process was quite lengthy and detailed. He included videos of teaching his science classes at the high school and also included a picture from VBS Kids Camp Science Station.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching has been awarded annually since 1983 to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers across the country. Following an initial state level selection process, the national winners are selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians, and educators.

Winners receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation, which they may use at their discretion. The winners also are invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and a visit to the White House.

Thank you, Dave for sharing your love of science and teaching with East Side Kids! Congratulations on being named an Indiana finalist!


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VBS is all packed up.

  • Returns are made for unused items.
  • The building is back to normal.
  • Your office is relatively organized.
  • The adrenaline rush is over.

Now what do you do?

Thank your volunteer team profusely.  I am working on handwritten notes to each volunteer.

Follow up on the kids and the families that attended.

  • Send an email.
  • Send a group picture.
  • Send information about your next church wide event and about children’s ministry.

I haven’t done this yet, but it’s on the list for next week.

Evaluate every moment of your VBS.

  • Celebrate the good stuff.
  • Make a plan to fix the bad stuff.
  • Address the points of pain for families and kids.
  • Improve on what you have done.
  • Find new ideas.
  • Think about how to make “it” better.  Define it clearly.

I have made my list.  We truly had the best volunteer team and the best VBS ever.  At the same time, we are still planning on improvements and some adjustments.

Plan for next year.

  • Pinterest board is active.
  • Files are set up.
  • Dates are on the church calendar.

I have also started working on a VBS Plan Book that describes what we do throughout the year in preparation for VBS.  Just in case…

Don’t forget Sundays.

  • Sundays come each and every week.
  • You have the opportunity to do VBS each week.
  • Make as great an effort on Sundays as you give to VBS.
  • Get your volunteers excited, because you are excited for another opportunity to tell kids about Jesus.

And in the quiet moments when you think no one is looking, go ahead and keep scouring for ideas for VBS Kids Camp next year.

I just might have done some exploring.

I just might be making some plans for some new adventures.

I just might…

What would you suggest that I do the week after VBS?

What will you be doing?

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VBS Everest Summit has been reached by our boys and girls and volunteer team.  Many of you are still prepping for this great expedition.  A few thoughts for those of you that are still getting ready.

Get your rest before VBS begins.

You do not really need the over-the-top, elaborate set design if you are staying up late at night to finish.  When you create your decorating plan, plan in stages of what you have to absolutely need to create your environment as stage 1, add details for stage 2, and so on.  Then finish what you can so that you are getting your 8 hours of sleep the week before VBS begins.

The kids at your VBS need a climbing crew that is ready to face the challenges.  When you are tired, you lack the ability to climb effectively.  You may think that it does not show, but just ask your volunteer team.  It shows.

When I am tired, I ______________________ (Fill in the blank or better yet ask your spouse or a friend to fill in the blank for you.)  Is this what you want to share at VBS?

You need to be emotionally prepared, spiritually prepared, and physically rested so that you can respond to questions like:

How do I forgive my dad?  He is in prison for beating my mom.

Can you see God?

Why are there avalanches where people get hurt?

Do you like me?

My family doesn’t have a Bible.  Can you give me one?

Does God love me?  How do you know?  Do you love me?

You need to be able to encourage your volunteers especially when other volunteers are telling you how they are stepping up and leading small groups by having amazing conversations.

When you are tired, you miss the important teachable, relationship building moments that reveal who God is.

Kids want you, not your decorations.  Yes, they are fun.  Yes, they create excitement and energy.  You, the leader of VBS, create the atmosphere for the week.  You need to start the week well rested, because it’s going to be a long week.  Don’t start out behind.  We can conquer challenges with God’s mighty power.  Let’s make sure that we don’t add to the challenges by being tired and yes, irritable.

Each day inspire your volunteers to serve as ministers.  

Focus:  Every kid is made in the image of God.

We assembled our entire volunteer team for a final prep meeting on Sunday evening.  Our focus was on the one belief that every kid is made in the image of God.  This was a concept that was introduced by Reggie Joiner at the Orange Conference 2015.  There is a video through Vimeo under Reggie Joiner, One Belief.

Day 1 – And God will generously provide all you need.  2 Corinthians 9:8

God has given you an amazing team and provided for your VBS.  Thank Him and your team profusely.

Day 2 – He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  2 Corinthians 1:4

I wrote a paraphrase of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal that also included the account of where Elijah heard God’s voice.  We reflected on it as we listened to God speak.

Day 3 – He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.  Psalm 147:3

Wednesday tends to be hard day.  The team is getting exhausted.  We started off with a sweet treat – Hershey’s kisses which look like mini-mountains.

We walked through Naaman’s healing, but we focused on the role of the servant girl, because every kid is made in the image of God.  She extended kindness to her master.  She knew that a prophet in Israel could heal her master.  Her name was spoken to 2 powerful kings.  What an influence she had.  We were reminded that every kid is made in the image of God.

Day 4 – You are a God of forgiveness.  Nehemiah 9:17

We shared stories of how God was speaking to kids and adults during the week.


If you are using the rotation method, double-check so that as your groups move they move either clockwise through your rooms or counter-clockwise.  This just makes for happier leaders and more efficient movement.

Be generous in thanking your team every day as a group and individually.

When you hear compliments from others about individuals, let them know what was said especially about your youth volunteers.  This inspires confidence and encourages them.

Always point to God and His mighty power for an incredible week filled with kids, volunteers, and love for God and each other.

Hold on to Him!

VBS Climb Crew

VBS Kids Camp Climbing Crew


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Day 2 – Everest VBS Kids Camp

I love Day 2 of VBS Kids Camp.

  • We survived the chaos of the first day of getting kids registered and checked into their “group” for the week.
  • We have an idea of how many kids we are going to have and what supplies will be needed for the week.  Additional purchases and orders are done.
  • We have an idea of how many volunteers are going to be serving each day.  We also know which groups are working and which groups might need a little coaching.
  • All the “groups” have been through a complete rotation.  Everyone knows where they are going and what to expect at each station.
  • All the first day jitters are over, and the senior pastor is pleased.  Everyone knows their role and responsibility, and we are now a well-oiled machine.
  • We can make last-minute adjustments easily and know what needs to happen.
  • Our focus is fully engaged with relationship building with kids and volunteers, because we want them to introduce everyone to Jesus.

So what’s next?

In a whisper, I say, because I don’t want our climbing crew to panic, “I’m looking at VBS themes for next year and have some ideas of what is possible for 2016.  I have even started my Pinterest board for VBS 2016.”





We love God!

We love kids!

We love VBS Kids Camp!


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Day 1 Everest VBS Kids Camp

Of course, the first day is filled with crazy chaos beginning 30 minutes before the big event starts into 30 minutes or so after VBS starts.

Even so, we push on to get a great start to the first day!

Our first day began with


Everest trivia game;

unusual characters like Mountain Man, Bear Whisperer, and a bear

also a young man who didn’t think he had what it took to climb;

offering challenge to provide kids with a place to meet;

and donations for a youth mission trip,

because so many of our youth leaders will be taking those supplies;


and group huddles before we ventured out.

We experienced

the Bible story of Elijah and ravens who brought him food;

what a way for God to provide;

raven delivery in the morning and evening;

science exploration with a high school science teacher

who creates his own piece;

imagination station to follow-up our science explorations;

KidVid cinema

where small groups had great conversations

about how God provided for kids;

glacier games where kids raced; and

mountaintop treats for a short break;

Then we returned to Base Camp for our Summit Celebration:

more music that included Do, Lord

which many of us had not heard or sung in years;

we loved it;

a snowball challenge games;

our unusual characters returned to wrap up the morning;

and we prayed together

for God

to watch over us and bring us back together for Day #2!

Then our crew scurried to reset everything for Day #2,

because we get to do it again tomorrow.

Thank you, God!

And God will generously supply all that you need.  2 Corinthians 9:8

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A storm is brewing outside tonight.  There’s lightning and thunder.  The rain is beginning to fall. All is well.

VBS Kids Camp is all ready in preparation for kids who are made in the image of God.

The best climbing crew has been assembled over the last 2 months.  They have trained, prepared, and are ready to take a group of kids to the summit.

The church building has been given a makeover.  We are counting down to check in time first thing in the morning.

Snacks have been prepared.

Games have been planned.

Science experiments have been set up.

Bible storytellers are ready to speak of God’s mighty power through the lives of Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus.

Videos of real life kids with real life challenges are loaded and ready to be played.  What challenges do our kids and volunteers have?

Now everything is quiet.  It’s time to sleep and be ready to scale Everest.

One more prayer for our kids, volunteers, and families before I close my eyes tonight.


Whatever the challenges we face this week, thank you for loving and caring for us!  We can conquer challenges with your mighty power.  We are believing and trusting you!

See you in the morning!

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We are conquering challenges this week.

Tonight though I am wondering what I have forgotten or what have others forgotten.

My last-minute list includes

inspiring words for our final volunteer meeting on Sunday

t-shirts for volunteers distributed along with schedules and assignments

focusing on God’s Word + kids + volunteers + fun

decorating on Sunday afternoon

getting group rosters completed after online registration closes on Sunday

crew leader/guides backpacks being filled with group rosters

t-shirts for kids displayed and ready

wondering what I have forgotten?

wondering what my site leaders have forgotten?

praying that everyone has prepared their hearts and mind

to love kids and others!

What do I need to remember?

Conquering Challenges with God’s Mighty Power!

He’s got this!

Keep Our Focus – God loves kids!  We love kids!

Let’s introduce them to each other.

Remove distractions that get in the way of our focus.

You know who and what they are.  Stay focused.

Stock up on rewards for your team.  Done!

It’s going to be a great week.

Status report from Everest VBS Kids Camp

coming next week!

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