Inside Cokesbury VBS: An Interview With Michael Aulisio

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Over the past year, I’ve been reaching out to VBS and Christian Education publishers. This has led to some cool giveaways and given me an inside look at the industry that creates children’s ministry curriculum.
I’m excited to share my interview with Michael Aulisio. He is the Marketing Manager at Cokesbury and has always been very helpful to me when I write about their VBS themes. I hope you enjoy the interview, leave me feedback in the comment section.

Be sure to check out the Cokesbury.com and their VBS website. You can also follow Cokesbury VBS updates on Twitter.

Interview With Michael Aulisio from Cokesbury

Tony: How did Cokesbury get started?

Michael: It has been the established publishing house of the United Methodist Church with roots going back to 1789. How long have they been publshing VBS material? We have been publishing VBS for many many years – I hate to admit it, but I am not sure when the first VBS was published by us.

Tony: How does Cokesbury imagine and choose VBS theme ideas?

Michael: We bring together a team of staff and Christian Educators (both those supporting Cokesbury VBS and those supporting competitors) and spend three to four days in a think tank atmosphere developing future themes.

Tony: Once a theme is chosen, how does the development proceed? What is the timeline?

Michael: We spend the next year in full development beginning with theme testing, title testing, logo and design testing, Bible story selection, writing, field testing and final production before going to print about one year from conception.

Tony: What are some unique aspects of Cokesbury VBS?

Michael: Reflection Time where the children can take a few minutes and review all that they have learned and pull it together; Two Bible story method – drama or single storyteller; Student Take-Home CD that allows kids to have both the VBS music and fun educational computer games, also our mission stories are about children who have made a difference in their own communities — we choose this way to celebrate that children can be in mission at their very young age they do not have to wait until they grow up.

Tony: Do you have a strong fan base outside beyond the UMC?

Michael: Yes, over 35 different denominations

Tony: What trends are affecting VBS in the United States?

Michael: The economy, working families make it difficult to get daytime adult volunteers – VBS moving to the evenings; year-round schools so VBS programs are being used all year long.

Tony: How do you imagine VBS will change over the next 10 years?

Michael: More video and web based curriculum.

Michael was very kind to grant me this interview and he represents Cokesbury well. Please leave your feedback on this interview in the comments. You can also share your experience with Cokesbury curriculum.


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