Three Questions to Ask When Choosing a VBS Curriculum
I don’t think I can ever recall there being a winter in Maryland where there hasn’t been at least one measurable snowfall (enough to shovel)! But here we are, mid-February, and nada. Anyway, warmer weather is coming, and with that means Vacation Bible School is peeking at us from around the corner!
Have you chosen your VBS curriculum? Some churches choose a curriculum for VBS based on the theme. Some churches use the same publisher no matter what theme they create. No matter which way your church leans, I want to encourage you to ask three questions before you make your choice for this summer:
- What is your church’s vision for this year?
- If you trimmed the fat, would it still be tasty?
- Have you asked the Lord to lead you?
Let’s dig into these three questions!
What is your church’s vision for this year? Most times, pastors have a plan, a vision, or a goal for the year. It may not be something shared with everyone, or maybe it is. I encourage you to request and schedule a time to meet with your pastor and find out what his vision is for the church for 2023. Upon hearing this, is there a curriculum that aligns with that vision so the entire church, even the kid’s ministry, is working toward the same goal? Children’s ministry should not be siloed from the larger body of Christ. Its mission and vision should reflect that of the church. Aligning the kid’s ministry mission with the church’s provides unity and clarity among the congregation. I often hear kidmin leaders say their pastor isn’t involved in VBS. Requesting a time to sit down and discuss with the pastor the vision shows him you are committed to the church at large and that the kid’s
ministry is a vital part of the larger vision. He just might become more interested in what’s happening in the kid’s wing if he knows you’re supporting the mission of the church. Next, ask him to lead the kindergarten class during VBS…just kidding (but, seriously, ask him to serve or attend)!
If you trimmed the fat, would it still be tasty? If you took away the theme and the decorations, is there still good meat there to satisfy the souls of our children? In other words, are the Bible lessons both solid theologically and relevant to your specific church and commnuity? Do the daily themes and verses hold substance, or do they appear to be an afterthought to the theme? Are the Bible truths, truths that your church holds and kids will grasp, remember, and apply? We can get so carried away in the theme and all the “stuff” that goes with it (guilty of that myself!) that we view
the bones of the curriculum as an afterthought. We should get more excited over the truths, the Scriptures, and the “meat” than we do over the theme. Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good…” Does your VBS curriculum still taste “good” if you trimmed off the fat?
Finally, have you asked the Lord to lead you? If we’ve learned anything in the last three years, it’s that each year is different. Kids change, the culture around us changes, and the culture within our ministries shifts from year to year. What’s happening in your kid’s ministry right now? Ask God to help you determine what your kids and your community need most right now. Do they need to know that life is full of twists and turns, but Jesus changes the game and guides them through that, or do they need to know that God is the ruler of the Kingdom and he’s given His kingdom keepers spiritual armor to wear, or maybe they need to know how to help shine the light of Jesus in their world. Take the pulse of your ministry, and ask God for direction as to what He wants you to focus on the week of VBS. If you leave Him out of that decision, what else might you leave Him out of during VBS? Get in the habit of seeking Him as you plan for VBS.
Choosing a curriculum for VBS requires prayer, thought, and strategic planning. Invite God in, invite your pastor in, and take a hard look at the “meat” of the curriculum. Once you’ve chosen your VBS curriculum, I’d love to see you at our first-ever VBS Cohort! This year we’re doing four online sessions (offered twice a day to fit your schedule) and finishing up with an in-person event in March where you and your team will receive useful training (no matter what curriculum you choose), enjoy lunch and pray with other churches for the summer of 2023! I would love to see your face online, in person, or both!
Kris Buckman serves as the BCM/D children’s & youth ministry consultant and also serves on the SBC Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force.
Featured Photo: Kids are engaged during a teaching session at a VBS at Faith Glen Burnie. (Photo by Kris Buckman)