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Kidology has been a breath of fresh air to me. We are creative but have become stuck in a certain mode of thinking and doing things. The ideas you have offered have so broadened our way of thinking and variety of avenues of teaching. I see it as God's provision - as we adjust the way we do things to be more effective in the lives of our children. Thank you so much.
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BJ Martin
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Posted: 24 November 2004 at 9:57am | IP Logged Quote BJ Martin

I know that VBS is the last thing many of us want to think about right now.  However, it is that time of year to start the planning process.

I have a lot of pressure on me from the senior staff at my church to change our VBS ministry.  In the past we have run a traditional VBS.  This year, we would like to break out of that mold and do something different.

One idea we are considering is a sports camp operated similar to VBS, but with the emphasis on sports and bible learning.

What other alternatives have you done instead of a traditional VBS?  How can I change this traditional summer ministry into a ministry that is unique and not something that everyone does but will attract children from our community?

Your thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Asburykids
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Terry Johnson

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Posted: 24 November 2004 at 10:29am | IP Logged Quote Asburykids

Life Church in Oklahoma did a Vacation Bible Xtreme (VBX) where the setup was similar to a traditional VBS but instead of the theme songs - the kids learned dance moves to other songs, they had Extreme Sports demonstrations during the snack time (skateboard tricks, stunt bike riders jumping busses and cars, etc) and they did everything kind of a step up from most VBS. They had thousands of kids come for their daytime vbs and nighttime vbs. This would be a good start...

Terry

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Posted: 24 November 2004 at 10:55am | IP Logged Quote sgphillips

Since our church has an after-school program we have combined the VBS stuff into our SUMMER CARE program (since there is no school and the parents what somethings for thier kids).  We took new and old VBS stuff and broke it into 4 2-week blocks with that theme and activities.  This runs all summer and their is a slight fee that is charged for each block (to help pay for supplies and staffed workers).  Along with this they added other materials and trips to the playgrounds, pools, etc. in the area.  Let me know if you need the details.

Scott

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Gerry Galbreath
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Posted: 24 November 2004 at 2:14pm | IP Logged Quote Gerry Galbreath

I have done both a sports camp and a performing arts camp.  The total number of kids that I had at these camps was about half of what I had for VBS but I got more non-church kids.  When I did VBS the majority of the kids came from other churches in town and most of them also went to at least five other VBS's.

I did both my camps as day camps.  There are a lot of parents that are looking for day care for their kids during the summer because both parents work.  My camps went from 9:00 - 4:00 but we offered before and after care starting at 6:00 AM and ending at 6:00 PM.  There was an extra charge for before and after care.

I was charging $100/week for the camps and parents were happy to pay it.  I got kids that wouldn't come to a free VBS but their parents would pay for them to come to one of my day camps.  The thing that attracted the parents to it was that they were actually learning something instead of being babysat all day.  Since most of my workers were volunteers I actually made money off of the day camps.

We didn't try to compete with the real sports camps that were offered during the summer.  There were already plenty of baseball camps, soccer camps, basketball camps etc.  Instead we concentrated on a different sport each day.  It was more of an introduction to sports camp.  Many of the kids decided after spending the week with us that they liked one of the sports and would join a real team afterwards.

I hired Athletic Directors and Coaches from local Christian Schools to teach the sports and my staff and I ran the rest of the camp.  Each day the kids would rotate through a series of activities that were all sports related.  They would each get 2 hours of instruction in whatever sport we were doing for the day plus a craft, movie (Air Bud etc.) We also had a chapel each day where I could teach the Word.  We made sure that the chapels fit the sports theme also. One year we talked about God's All Star Team (The twelve disciples).  Another year we talked about how to get on God's team,learning to play as a team, playing our position etc.

It was very exciting.  Parents were paying me to teach their parents about Jesus.  When I did a VBS I was usually just taliking to church kids who had heard it all before.

When we did the Performing Arts Camp it was similar.  All of the kids went to chapel each day. At chapel we learned about our talents and how to use them for God.  They spent an hour each day where they rotated through a different class each day so all of them got an introduction to puppets, cartooning, balloning, drama, and a stomp class.  In the afternoon they signed up for two electives where they spent 90 minutes each day concentrating on the same two arts for all five days.

On Friday night the kids invited their families and friends to a concert where they performed what they had learned. 

We were able to advertise the camps through the City Parks and Recreation Department and at Schools because we were offering a service to the community and not just a church event.

If you'd like more information on how to put something like this together I'd be happy to share it with you.  You can contact me off the forum for specific details so we don't have to bore everyone else with stuff they don't care about anyway.

Gerry Galbreath

ggalbreath@calvarytemple.com

 

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NWBrian
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Posted: 24 November 2004 at 10:55pm | IP Logged Quote NWBrian

VBS / BIBLE CLUB IDEAS

I hate to ever consider NOT doing VBS simply because statistics show us that VBS is one of the churches greatest opportunities to share the gospel message with children and their families.  The Rescue Heroes VBS Production Manual is avaliable for those interested.  Realizing that VBS just may not work for everyone - I have developed the Summer Zone Mini Camp Handbook that will help every church develope and deploy teams into neighborhoods all over your community.

#1.  VBS - but do nothing traditional.  Operate under the idea that this is not your grandmother's VBS!  Move to large group teaching - more like a production and TV show than a traditional VBS opening. Go all out - find your most creative people, hunt them down, get'em plugged in and let them go wild.  If your interested in the Rescue Heroes VBS Production Manual for Preschool and Elementary, please e-mail me at marshbam31@msn.com.  Avaliable for $149.  This manual contains everything you need to make for the the very best VBS ever! 

#2  Consider Bible Clubs in neighborhood yards or parks.  Be sure to include games, snacks, crafts and creative Bible Stories.  You will want to blitz the area a couple of days before using clows, flyers, balloons, candy, and yard signs.  When you show up - make yourself known!  If your intterested in the Summer Zone Mini Camp handbook that I have written, please e-mail me at marshbam31@msn.com.  Avaliable for $25.  This handbook will give you incredible ideas on how to make Bible Clubs come alive in your area and make a huge IMPACT in your community!

Brian Marshall, Ministry Gear

 

 

 

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NWBrian
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Posted: 24 November 2004 at 11:00pm | IP Logged Quote NWBrian

NWBrian wrote:

VBS / BIBLE CLUB IDEAS

I hate to ever consider NOT doing VBS simply because statistics show us that VBS is one of the churches greatest opportunities to share the gospel message with children and their families.  The Rescue Heroes VBS Production Manual is avaliable for those interested.  Realizing that VBS just may not work for everyone - I have developed the Summer Zone Mini Camp Handbook that will help every church develope and deploy teams into neighborhoods all over your community.

#1.  VBS - but do nothing traditional.  Operate under the idea that this is not your grandmother's VBS!  Move to large group teaching - more like a production and TV show than a traditional VBS opening. Go all out - find your most creative people, hunt them down, get'em plugged in and let them go wild.  If your interested in the Rescue Heroes VBS Production Manual for Preschool and Elementary, please e-mail me at marshbam31@msn.com.  Avaliable for $149.  This manual contains everything you need to make for the the very best VBS ever! 

#2  Consider Bible Clubs in neighborhood yards or parks.  Be sure to include games, snacks, crafts and creative Bible Stories.  You will want to blitz the area a couple of days before using clowns, flyers, balloons, candy, and yard signs.  When you show up - make yourself known!  If your interested in the Summer Zone Mini Camp handbook that I have written, please e-mail me at marshbam31@msn.com.  Avaliable for $25.  This handbook will give you incredible ideas on how to make Bible Clubs come alive in your area and make a huge IMPACT in your community!

Brian Marshall, Ministry Gear

 

 

 

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pkdavis15176
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Posted: 26 November 2004 at 12:08pm | IP Logged Quote pkdavis15176

I experienced the same thing two years ago and I decided to so a 3 day Children's extravaganza.  Each day Had a theme one day was sports day, the inflatable day, then water day, each day the Gospel message was given by Eternal productions a Husband and wife team out of High Point, NC they used media, illusions, drama, it was great and we also feed the kids a meal.  We found that it drew as many as our traditional VBS, but it was a great change of pace

Pastor Ken

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Diane Kettlewell
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Posted: 27 November 2004 at 7:57pm | IP Logged Quote Diane Kettlewell

One of the things that I am encouraging our church to think about is how to ask the question: "How many unchurched kids are we reaching with VBS?"  If the answer to this question is: "tons", then there is no need to regroup.  If the answer is "none", then I think this is a good reason to reconsider and regroup.  I'd like to ask my best teachers to consider having 5 day Bible clubs throughout the community in a variety of places - places like parks, recreation centers, homes, apartments, anywhere kids can be found near your church. 

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Posted: 29 November 2004 at 1:38pm | IP Logged Quote Guests

BJ Martin:
I am a Children's Pastor in Grove City, Ohio and we did something that knocked our pastor's socks off a few years ago! We began a full paradigm shift and we had a FAMILY VBS! We call it FAM JAM ( Family and Me, Jesus and Me). Our vision and goal is to reach and teach the entire family through BIG dramas, family and kid friendly praise and worship and family crafts, snacks and games. We have even packaged our curriculum so that others can catch on to the same phenomenon! If you're interested in discussing the impact this can have on your church, feel free to email me! I'd love to gab with you about it and help you 'think out of the box'. The Lord can use you to do incredible things! Be encouraged! Have a great day!
Serving HIS Kids, Kim Bobb
kbobb@grovecitynazarene.org
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Gerry Galbreath
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Posted: 29 November 2004 at 1:41pm | IP Logged Quote Gerry Galbreath

I have done neighborhood Bible clubs in the past also.  They can still work if done properly.  I have not had much success with doing them in parks.  Most parents are leary about letting their kids go with someone they don't know.  We do have a weekly Kids program in a park on the other side of the tracks that is succesful.  The kids attend a service with us while their parents are picking up free food from our outreach trucks.  However, the parents are close enough to watch what we are doing.  We don't get many kids that come just for the service without thier parents even though we have been doing it for years.

Bible Clubs do work in homes as long as the parents  know the hosts of the Bible Club.  I will not even allow my children to attend something at another house unless I know the family that lives there.  Before trying to begin neighborhood clubs I would make sure that the host families are connected with the other families in thier neighborhood and already have a good relationship with them.

I have conducted very succesful Bible Clubs because they were hosted by families whose homes were already the neighborhood hangout before the club started.  I have also had many of them flop because we tried to start one in a neighborhood that looked good but nobody showed up because the host family was unknown.

Most ministry today starts with relationships.  Once we get to know people and they trust us doors begin to open.

Gerry

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TheJourney
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Posted: 29 November 2004 at 1:54pm | IP Logged Quote TheJourney

What about a service week?

Have the children gather for a week and perform various service projects around the community. They don't have to be complicated or hard. www.servantevangelism.com is a great website that has ideas for kids to serve or easily adaptable. It's fun and a great way to serve the community!

 



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MissNancy
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Posted: 29 November 2004 at 5:51pm | IP Logged Quote MissNancy

We, too, are under the mandate to change our VBS this year.  We are lovingly referring to our new plan as "VBS on Steroids." 

I think that the main motivation is that we always have our kids and the kids from other churches who do not have a VBS.  Kids are encouraged to bring their  friends, but this year we are going to the highways and the byways and asking them to come in.  We will be run buses, etc.  We sponsor a small Hispanic church plant, and they will be joining us, too!

We usually have 350-400 kids...this year the goal is 1,000.  The Student Ministry is using this as their home mission  trip, so we will have even more Youth than normal working on this project. 

One of the things that we want to do it try to establish some arrangements with local daycare centers...so that they will bring their kids over and drop them off.  (Yikes!)  They will have to register the kids in advance...and leave a representative on campus (we think).

VBS will be the spring board for all of our summer programs.  It is going to be interesting to see what God does this year.  We are already having meetings and crying out for His guidance!

This discussion is very timely and appreciated!

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Posted: 30 November 2004 at 9:06am | IP Logged Quote Totallykids

Wow, you guys seem to love your VBSss....Never having done one I can't comment on how well they would go here (Australia), however we have had a bit of success with running programs that are basically packed with activities during the day, but have a theme running through the week - we promote them through our local government schools as child minding over the Holidays, and have had a large proportion of kids come who are unchurched. Definitely charge for them, it makes them seem so much more valuable, and helps cover all costs (and make some money for another project). I think that the decision to run a VBS or to run something different would depend on what you are trying to do. VBS wouldn't work all that well in reaching the unchurched here, but would be great for some more intensive discipleship. In the end it would all depend on your desired outcome. If my senior pastor was looking for greater depth of discipleship, I would run something like a VBS, however if he is looking for us to reach the lost more effectively or build relationships in our community, I would run something more along the lines of what Gerry Galbreath mentioned previously. Still keep a Christian emphasis in the program (chapel in the morning, devotions..., but something that attracts the unchurched in your area..
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MissNancy
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Posted: 30 November 2004 at 10:07am | IP Logged Quote MissNancy

Now that we are all talking about this I want to post a question that I posted in another forum....has anyone ever dealt with daycare centers as far as inviting them to bring kids from their centers...allowing them to offer your VBS as an option for parents?
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Gerry Galbreath
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Posted: 30 November 2004 at 10:19am | IP Logged Quote Gerry Galbreath

I have had several Day cares that were run by people in my church that have brought all their kids.  We also had the church run daycare participate every year.  I also had one other Christian Day care that participated a couple of times. 

One of the problems that some day care centers face is that they may not have transportation to get the kids there.  I also found that unless it is a Christian Day Care they hesitate to participate in any church function because they don't want to offend parents that may not agree. 

I had several parents who had children in Kindercare put in a request to have us pick their kids up every day for VBS.  We took our church van and did the transportation.  A couple of kids invited thier friends from Kindercare and by the end of the week we were picking up 7-8 kids.  It all started with a request from a couple of parents however.

No matter what I've tried I haven't had great success in getting non church kids to a traditional VBS.  Most of the kids I mentioned above already went to church somewhere else and the parents just wanted them in VBS.

Gerry

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BJ Martin
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Posted: 30 November 2004 at 10:44am | IP Logged Quote BJ Martin

Great ideas!  It sounds like a lot of you run your "VBS" programs during the day.  We run ours during the evening, mainly because that is when the volunteers can serve.  I couldn't speak to the daycare issue, but it does spark the idea to talk with daycares about adverstising. 

Keep the ideas coming.

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Posted: 30 November 2004 at 10:51am | IP Logged Quote jullie

We have chosen to not do VBS anymore because every other church in town does it.  Rather than spend energy, time, and money on duplicating what others are doing - and doing successfully - we instead will offer something that is out of the box and will draw a target group of both churched and unchurched children and families.  I am thinking of a Saturday "nickelodeon" type event - complete with games, slime, etc. - video it, put it together as a show and invite the families to a follow up event to eat and watch themselves on "television." 

I believe that while VBS can be done and done well, for most places it has lost its original focus which was outreach.  Instead it seems that too many times it is the same children traveling from VBS to VBS to VBS which can definitely cause "church burn out" in them.  This is something we really need to guard our children from.

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highlandkids
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Posted: 30 November 2004 at 1:59pm | IP Logged Quote highlandkids

I've been involved with Performing Arts camps. They're the best because kids actually learn a skill and at the end of the week you get the parents coming into your church! I also like it because then you can slip away from that yearly Christmas Musical that lasts 3 months. You do this musical all in one week!
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Posted: 02 December 2004 at 5:37pm | IP Logged Quote zitro112284

Vacation Bible Time (VBT) is our biggest outreach event of the year.  We typically run about 150 kids ages 5-12 on Sunday mornings, but 500 per night for VBT.  Our busses go to all the high-density/low-income areas of our community and bring in most of those visitors, with about half of them not having any church home.  Our program runs from 6-8:30 PM, M-F, with a closing program and picnic for families on Sunday.  The elementary kids start with small group interaction and Bible verse.  They they go to an action-packed auditorium time with a large theater set, skits, music, and puppets.  Then the kids rotate to a dramatized Bible story, a Gospel challenge based on the theme, and a carnival with games, rides, crafts, snacks and store.   They end back in the auditorium for a final skit, songs, and penny-war offering.  Preschoolers have a modified schedule.  Children who make decisions for Christ are contacted right after VBT by a counselor.  Then, about a month after VBT, we follow up on all non-churched families by hand-delivering a VBT highlights video to their residence, along with literature about our children's and adult ministries.  SS teachers and Awana leaders also have access to our data base if they want to phone unchurched kids.  We invite all VBT families to a Fall Family Extravaganza event in November.  Many families who join our church have their first contact through VBT.  Hope this helps.

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Posted: 02 December 2004 at 5:56pm | IP Logged Quote scottwylie

IÕm thinking that I wonÕt do VBS this year either. I am thinking about neighborhood clubs, but would love to hear some more ideas!

Scott
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eking
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Posted: 22 February 2005 at 6:29pm | IP Logged Quote eking

I don't do week long VBS any longer.  I'm in a small town where there are many churches who use the same VBS, and I personally  think you're swapping church kids, not going after the new unchurched kids. 

 Instead of the traditional VBS in the summer (when everyone is gone, I might add)  We did a winter Kids Crusade.   We ususally do it in January or February sometimes March, when there is nothing going on. We also do it at night where we have adults to assist.

We keep the kids in the sanctuary instead of going to classes, it's more interactive and fun,  takes less people this way.  We have enough going throughout the service that every 5 minutes there is an object lesson, puppet, skit or something.  The children 4 through adult enjoy it!  This has brought in as many as the VBS has in the past.   The emphasis is evangelistic and we have many children recieve salvation! 

We always add many children and adults to our congregation due to the Crusade.  It also builds our attendance leading up to a doubled crowd on Easter!

To satisfy the people who think we have to do a VBS.....We do a 10 week program during the summer months on Wednesdays.  And do a big day as school starts bringing the kids back after summer.  We spend less doing these 3 things than we would spend on a traditional VBS. 

Get out of the traditional box!

 

Elaine

 

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Posted: 28 February 2005 at 12:34pm | IP Logged Quote sailty

Last year I formally did away with traditional VBS. It was hard but once I explained the reasoning behind the decision to our sweet older ladies who loved VBS they completely understood... I didn't say they liked it they just understood and supported it.

It is impossible to hold a week long vbs type camp that appeals to both a three year old and a sixth grader in my opinion.

We have a week long camp for rising 1st through 6th graders... Camp Jonah and a three day mini camp for 2's through Kindergarten... Camp Creation. The teaching material is geared for each child's level as are crafts and music. I have used Kidmo in Camp Jonah with the older kids for the past two years. They absolutely LOVE it. I embelish it with games, electives for the kids to choose from (they especially like this), we have a game room time, Bible Drill sessions and team building games built into the day. We also take a "field trip" to an old fashioned lake water park. This is the highlight of our week when we wrap all that we have learned about 'faith' into this day. We run from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm Monday thru Friday. This year we are expanding to offer two weeks and are going to try and limit the number of kids per session. This has grown our children's numbers with not only members but more importantly visitors who do not attend church or know christ more than any single thing we have done. Cost for this camp is $50. Schlorships are available to those who need it.

Camp Creation was a tremendous success! Three days, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday for little ones to have thier very own camp. God made the world, God made the animals and God made me and loves me is the theme for this camp. I have been writing the material for this so far. This camp tripled by the number of kids in participation. Cost for this camp is $10.

Looking forward to this year! Would be glad to help you with this concept. jeannie

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MissNancy
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Posted: 28 February 2005 at 1:32pm | IP Logged Quote MissNancy

"It is impossible to hold a week long vbs type camp that appeals to both a three year old and a sixth grader in my opinion."

Now wait a minute....every Sunday we do Sunday School and Worship Services that appeal to an even broader age spectrum with no trouble....our midweek programs and choirs do that, as well.  If you use graded curriculum, it is super easy to do age appropriate stories, crafts, songs and recreation.

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Posted: 28 February 2005 at 1:41pm | IP Logged Quote sailty

I agree with you if you are using space that each group of ages can be broken down and then graded curriculum can be used and this can be a success. We also do the same with Sunday morning. However I think the question was about VBS... and for us holding one large assembly time, with overview teaching, music, crafts and games simply didn't work for such a varied of age groups. Sure you can do it for a 1/2 hour or 45 minutes but for a 3-4 hour span, I believe neither age group one the ends are being reached. And we have used graded materials-- every year. I watched for many years... frustrating the young ones with such a long week and not really "getting the lesson points" and the older ones just checking out ... in their minds of course because they felt it was babish. What we do now seems to serve each group much better. I may be proven wrong in the years to come... but so far success has been in the numbers and in the concepts they are truely learning.

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MissNancy
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Posted: 28 February 2005 at 2:05pm | IP Logged Quote MissNancy

That's so sad.  We love VBS, and don't have any of those problems.  Our kids love it, too.  It is a major church-wide outreach.

As for assemblies...with most curriculums these are optional.  Our lasts 20 minutes and we basically just sing our theme song...and the daily song....and do some fun mission offering challenge.  It is usually over the top....so everyone enjoys it.

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