Here is one more VBS theme option for you to think about. It’s the Children Desiring God VBS Curriculum, published by John Piper’s church. If you have used their material, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Vacation Bible School has sure changed a lot since I was a child; that’s right, I attended VBS in the days when we had simple snacks of juice and cookies, listened to Bible stories, memorized substantial Scripture passages and used gold spray paint to finish out our macaroni shell and dried-bean-covered paper plates. And we loved it!
But congregations still exist out there who welcome a more simple approach to VBS. I don’t think it’s impossible to attract children to a well-run and managed VBS that is put on in a low-key and undramatic fashion. Children respond to love, good stories and games and crafts just as they always have. And I love the idea of being able to focus more on, well, on the Bible in a less distracted setting.
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Is Children Desiring God VBS Right For You?
It won’t be for everyone, but the VBS curriculum from Children Desiring God offers a great alternative to some of the other programs being used. The CDG VBS is also perfect for doing backyard Bible club in the neighborhoods of your city. Here are some ways to tell if this approach and this curriculum could work for you.
1. You’re looking for a VBS start-up that is relatively inexpensive.
A teacher’s kit is $60.00, and includes 5 duplicate sets of lessons, one student project book (additional ones are 5 for $9.75), a CD with PDF’s of color visuals and activity pages, and other resources. A 35-page color resource packet printed on cardstock is $20.00. In all, the total start-up cost for teaching materials for a VBS of 60 children would be around $197.00.
2. You’re looking to go a little deeper at VBS.
The folks at Children Desiring God are known for their solid and engaging children’s curriculum. Serious does not equal boring, of course, and their material is anything but that! I’ve always found children, both my own and the ones I teach at church, to be very responsive to their approach.
3. You’re willing and able to come up with your own craft ideas, games, puppet shows/skits, etc.
Those elements are left up to each church in their VBS curriculum. For some churches this wouldn’t pose a big problem; some may have to dig a bit deeper into their creative sides! You know, kids really don’t have to have the big productions we sometimes think they do. And some kids appreciate a more laid-back atmosphere. Another option: call what you’re offering a “Backyard Bible Club.” That may deflect expectations of a more slick production.
4. You want a solidly evangelistic opportunity from your VBS.
Not that other programs don’t provide that, but CDG, you’ll find, is quite intentional and winsome in their evangelical approach, both to the children in your VBS and to their parents. Lesson plans include helpful suggestions on reaching and teaching unchurched children and their parents.
If you’re interested, you can check out all four Children Desiring God’s VBS programs here. And remember, you can also use this curriculum as a Backyard Bible Study in the Fall, or even in your neighborhood. I’m happy to recommend it as a relatively low-key but very effective resource for reaching children’s and parents’ hearts for with the love and truth of Jesus.