Files for VBX leaders:
Our church just got done with one phenomenal week of Vacation Bible School: Boomerang Express from Lifeway. I must say: I was very impressed and somewhat shocked when I saw that the motto for the VBS week was “It All Comes Back to Jesus.” The main lesson that I learned in seminary was how all the Scripture, God is calling us to be Christ-centered. All of the Old Testament is pointing forward to the person and work of Christ while all of the New Testament is proclaiming the person and work of Christ. So it was crazy cool to be able to teach that this week to our kids.
I was in charge of the VBX week which was specifically for all the students going into the 6th and 7th grade this fall. This is the age group that is usally the least attended for VBS’s. Because that seems to be the case, we have done absolutely everything possible to step-it-up for the tween-agers, seriously hype it, and show them that they are never too cool for Christ. So in this blog post I’m going to give you the schedule of what we did every day…and how we did it. And by the way, our VBX usually makes up for about a fourth of the entire VBS attenders, the students LOVE it, and they keep coming back!
09:00 – 09:20 We let our VBXers start out the morning with the whole VBS crew in the morning worship rally. We want them to stay connected with the entire group, to be visible leaders, and to not become too exclusive. So they do everything else all the other kids do during the worship rally.
09:20 – 09:30 We walk the VBXers over from the morning worship rally to our student building where the room’s environment is set with all kinds of colored LED lights, a great set (not overdone or cheesy), music, fog, laser light, and chairs set up. On the first day, they are put into teams. We had about 50 students, so we used 6 team leaders which were seniors, 09 graduates, or college students already in our ministry. We split all the students into 6 teams (3 guy teams and 3 girl teams) where they competed for points. Every team got their own team color bandana and named their team (something found in Australia). The winner of the points totaled up at the end of the week received a $10 iTunes gift card.
09:30 – 09:35 VBX AnnounXments: Instead of me telling them what they’ll be doing all day, we put on the projection screen what they’ll be doing, and the teams scream it out as loud as they can for points. This way they hear their schedule for the day, they get excited about it, and they pump it up all themselves.
09:35 – 09:45 VBX Xclusive Missions Video: We show the Lifeway missions video every day for the VBXers and briefly talk about the importance of missions, reaching the nations, and spreading the name of Christ everywhere.
09:45 – 10:00 VBX Xcite Team Time: Each of the teams meet separately in their team circles and they recite Bible verses, show their Bibles, and introduce the new friends they brought. All of these get points for the week. If they can say the VBX memory verse from the day before, they get double the points.
10:00 – 10:20 VBX Xercise Game Time: We take the VBXers out to their own exclusive game field. We played games with them so they could build up their points like: chicken/cowboy/conqueror, extreme tail grab, extreme tag free for all with socks, knots, surf’s up (maneuver skate board through cones), extreme paper/rock/scissors, extreme shoe kick and hunt. The best website I’ve found for games is www.thesource4ym.com.
10:20 – 10:40 VBX SnaXin and ChillaXin Time: This is what sets VBX apart from our VBS. We want to give them plenty of time to chill, to hangout, to enjoy each other, to get to know their team leaders, and to just be tweenagers at church. So we turn back on the cool music, turn back on the cool lights, we turn on all the video game systems, and we just let them chill. The guys usually rush to the video games while the girls usually rush to all of our café tables. We also step up the snacks to make sure that our VBXers aren’t treated like little kids with a couple sips of koolaide and a generic brand oreo cookie. We give them the good stuff!
10:40 – 11:30 VBX Xplode Worship and Teaching Time: This year, we really stepped up our worship and teaching. We gave it more time so that it’s more like what we do with our student ministry every Wednesday night. We start off this time with a hilarious video, and we play one last game with it. Such as: we played a beat-boxing dog video and the game was to see which team could beat box the best. We played a rollercoaster video and the game was to see which team could experience the rollercoaster the best. We played a dancing video and the game was to see which team could dance the best. We played a Price is Right video and the game was to see which team could “Come on Down” the best.
We then tally up the points and let them know who the winners were that day…and so far during the week. We do the points at this time so that its done, and all they have to think about is Jesus during the worship and the teaching time.
We then bring in our student ministry band (who is totally rockin), and we lead the VBXers in two really fun worship songs to get them pumped up for Jesus. I then teach about 15 minutes on the days lesson and follow the Lifeway VBS curriculum but in my own style. I’m very heavy on Jesus and the gospel all week long. I don’t wait till Wednesday to share the gospel. I share it all week long and let it be the center of the each teaching theme for each day. So this year we hammered the life of Peter hard, but we talked daily about sin, about salvation, about following Christ as Lord, about worshipping Him, and about making Him the priority of our lives. I’ll attach the powerpoints and handouts we used to this blog.
After this, we do our counseling time. I used to have the team leaders do a small group discussion time with their students, but it never seemed to go very well. So now we just have the students who need to be counseled for salvation, sin, etc step out with their leaders to talk about it one on one.
During this time, we have our praise band come back up and lead in two more songs. These songs are more deep and worshipful, as we want the VBXers to worship Christ in a very engaging way.
11:40 – 12:00 We then dismiss to the closing worship rally daily with the rest of VBS. I think this is the one thing I would change. Next year for VBX, I think we’ll just keep them until about noon, and then walk them over at noon to be picked up by their parents. It seemed like that two times of the worship rally was too much for these older kids.
Friday Mission Trip: One more thing we do during the week: On Friday I set aside 20 minutes for our VBXers to go on a mission trip together. Its crazy, but right behind our church is a HUGE Hindu Temple. So I walk them back there to see it, and I talk about false gods, false religion, Satan worship, and how the Christian God is the one true God who is identified by Jesus Christ.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Cheering 10 100 1,000 10,000 100,000
Verses 10 100 1,000 10,000 100,000
Bibles 50 500 5,000 50,000 500,000
Visitors 100 1,000 10,000 100,000 1,000,000
Games 100 1,000 10,000 100,000 1,000,000
So there you have it. Our VBX was a huge hit this year. It was even way better than last year. I think we’re really onto something with what we’re doing. Here’s one last very important part…your volunteers! We had volunteers for everything. I had absolutely amazing people step up and help lead this entire week. There were two ladies in our church who were in charge of pretty much everything: the set-up of the room, the snacks, the points, cleaning, tshirts, etc. We had a guy running all of our projection slides, our videos, our games, our sound board, our lighting, and basically our environment. We had a girl running all of our games for us, getting them set-up, giving out points, etc. And our 6 small group leaders were the ones who really made a difference with the VBXers, loving on them, mentoring them, listening to them, leading them, and having fun with them. We also had a couple students who just ran around and did anything we needed them to do to make it a seamless and successful week.
Lastly, notice we didn’t do any craft time. This age student hates crafts! But we did give them a VBX Tshirt at the end of the week to help them remember VBX, but it also had our church information on it as well. How clever!