“VBS 2020 Curriculum” – What’s the best V.B.S. program for your church?

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“VBS 2020” Themes for Vacation Bible School

It’s time to launch into our 2020 Vacation Bible School planning – This page will help you pick the right VBS program for your church this summer of 2020. Browse the curriculum listing below to discover which publisher has the best VBS theme.

BOLT! New Quarantine friendly VBS at Home – This is a great curriculum option for backyard or family led VBS this summer. It also works if your church is limiting on the number of adult volunteers.

We provide this information as a service to churches (we don’t sell any of these products), and pray that God will bless your programs and church camps!

What 2020 VBS Themes are you considering?

Vacation Bible School Themes for Summer 2020

Christian Education publishers release their “VBS 2020” themes

Concrete and Cranes - LifeWay

“Concrete & Cranes” theme from LifeWay

LifeWay is one of the oldest and most popular publishers of Vacation Bible School themes. They are an official part of the Southern Baptist Convention, so are known for conservative Bible-based teaching. This popularity can be a problem if you are a smaller church in a town where everyone else is doing the “Concrete & Cranes” theme. The upside is lots of local training events for your leaders and volunteers.

Rocky Railroad from Group Publishing

“Rocky Railway” VBS theme from Group VBS Publishing

Group Publishing is non-denominational and appeals to a very broad and diverse group of churches. They are best known for their learn through experience philosophy that helps gets involved in the Bible stories. Their rotation approach is unique and takes some tweaking if you have a long standing VBS schedule. However, the planning materials and online resources make decorating easy for any sized church.

Knights of the North Castle from Cokesbury

“Knights of North Castle” Vaction Bible School theme from Cokesbury

We love Cokesbury, they have been a partner of this website for many years. Their curriculum is excellent on every level and provides all the planning support new churches would need to make the switch. They are historically a United Methodist publishing house, but have become popular across many denominations. Their unique science element gives kids a memorable object lesson for each day of the program. I also love their shirts for Vacation Bible School 2020.

Big Fish Bay from RBP

“Big Fish Bay” theme from Regular Baptist Press

Regular Baptist Press (RBP) is another longtime supporter of our website. They are known for their focus on evangelism and making sure children have a chance to hear the Gospel presentation. Another distinctive, they offer King James Version as an option on all their curriculum materials. If your church is more comfortable with the using KJV for teaching and Bible memory, this theme will not disappoint.

Rainforest Explorers VBS Theme

“Rainforest Explorers VBS” from Concordia Publishing

Official Website – Facebook Page – VBS Review Video (coming January)

It’s been a few years since my close up look at Concordia publishing. This rain forest / jungle theme is certainly to be popular and I look forward to seeing more.

Mystery Island - Answers In Genesis

Mystery Island VBS – Answers In Genesis

Official WebsiteFacebook Page – VBS Review Video (coming January)

Answers VBS is known for it’s young earth apologetics – they want every child to know why a literal Book of Genesis is compatible with modern science.

Champions In Life - Abingdon

Champions In Life – Abingdon

Official Website – Facebook Page – VBS Review Video (coming January)

This materials celebrates the culture in traditionally African American churches, but could be used in any congregation that values diversity. Its’ also from Cokesbury, so you can trust it ‘s a quality program.

Wilderness Escape - Group Holy Land VBS

“Wilderness Escape” from Group Holy Land VBS

Official Website – Facebook Page – Review Video (TBD)

Group (Weekend VBS) 2020 Theme Coming Soon

Official Website – Facebook Page – Review Video (coming January 2020)

Mega Sports Camp – 2020 Theme Coming Soon

Official WebsiteFacebook Page – Review Video (coming January 2020)

Don’t miss the excellent overview of VBS 2020 Themes from Concordia Supply.

Other Vacation Bible School Curriculum

Go Fish Resources

Official WebsiteFacebook Page – see past Go Fish reviews on our website.

“Kids of Courage” Voice of the Martyrs

Official WebsiteFacebook Page – see past reviews on our website

How To Choose the Best VBS for Your Church

Are you choosing a VBS theme for 2020? We have information for all the major publishers to help you compare music, lessons, decorating ideas, t-shirts and games! We even make unboxing videos so you can see inside the materials before you purchase….. Already have your VBS theme? Check out our bonus ideas for LifeWay, Cokesbury, Group, RBP (regular Baptist Press) and more. We have thousands of free resources to supplement the Vacation Bible School materials for your church. Reply and let us know what you are reviewing for your church.

Vacation Bible School curriculum options are getting better every year. With the host of excellent VBS themes comes a problem – which one is right for your church? Here are the top elements I look at when choosing a Vacation Bible School curriculum.

Theology: Vacation Bible School publishers typically downplay doctrinal distinctive. This makes sense, because they are trying to reach the largest cross section of churches. But you can’t assume that every Vacation Bible School Curriculum is theologically neutral. How can you evaluate the theological bias of a VBS program?

  • Check to see if the publisher has a statement of faith.
  • Dig a little deeper and see what types of churches typically use their curriculum.
  • Read the sample lessons carefully and with discernment.
  • If you are trying a new publisher, always check with your pastor or church board.

Quality Of The Lesson Plans: Not all Bible lessons are created equal. When I think about quality I like to see lessons with clear learning objectives. Good curriculum will balance between challenging church kids and connecting with the unchurched. This is not an easy task! I also check to see of the Bible references clearly support the lesson aim. Too often verses are jammed into lessons just fit with the daily theme. Look carefully at the Bible teaching; it’s the heart of every great Vacation Bible School Curricula.

Support: Many curriculum publishers have online forums where you can share ideas with other Vacation Bible School directors. This is a great way to get support and make new friends. Some publishers even offer regional training meetings. This is strength of using a major publisher’s Vacation Bible School Curriculum.

Ministry Setting: Think carefully about your ministry setting. Not all themes will fit well in every community. For example, some Vacation Bible School curricula might not connect with city kids the same way they connect with rural children. If you reach unchurched children, find a VBS program that leans toward evangelism. If most of your VBS learners are from other churches, select a curriculum that leans toward discipleship.

Music And Video Demonstrations: What music styles are influencing the culture in your town? I give a lot of weight to the music when choosing a Vacation Bible School curriculum. If possible, let some kids in your life sample the music off the publisher’s website. I have been surprised to find that music I thought was “cool” sounds like “pre-school music” to our kids. It’s also important to find a publisher that offers DVD music demonstrations.

Marketing: Vacation Bible School as a concept has less cultural draw than in previous generations. Most publishers offer a good selection of publicity material to help boost attendance. Be careful, the cost of these can add up quickly. I usually make flyers with the approved advertising logos that are included in the curriculum. We also place a large sign on the road by our church. This works well because of our location, but you may need to get more creative.

Easy To Use: “Easy” has become a buzzword for children’s ministry curriculum. While there is a danger in lowering expectations for your volunteers, but we all have to negotiate time in our busy lives. I try to make things easy on the preparation side, but expect a lot of energy and compassion from our workers on the scene. Finding a VBS program that makes things easy is always a plus.

Price: Many of the larger Vacation Bible School curricula have similar price points. Watch out for hidden costs such as workbooks, craft kits and extra teacher manuals. If budget is a concern, get creative with snack donations, and craft supplies. I know of several churches that work together to save costs by sharing their materials. You can also shop around online and find steep discounts on Vacation Bible school curriculum.

Don’t miss our articles for VBS directors.

What do you think?

Which elements do you look at when choosing a Vacation Bible School curriculum? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

Free Options for Vacation Bible School

Our website has published 8 different free Vacation Bible School programs. This curriculum is just a quick download away and can be super helpful in smaller churches without the budget to purchase a new 2020 VBS curriculum..

What does VBS mean?

VBS is short for Vacation Bible School, a program of Christian education hosted by churches in the summertime. These events typically last one week and attract children from the wider community rather than only church members.

What is the purpose of Vacation Bible School?

Most churches consider 2020 VBS a key event in their children’s ministry calendar. It is often seen as outreach to non-church members in the local community. Each church has a unique focus, but the overall purpose of VBS is to teach kids about Jesus.

Our website does not sell any curriculum, shirts, or curriculum, but we work with all the publishers to provide accurate information to help your research. We’ll be right here, updating you with all the latest product news as the VBS curriculum is released. This is a big job, so leave a comment if you know of a theme that we’ve missed.

Comments from Our 2020 Readers Survey

If you always use one VBS publisher, you can leave a comment to explain what you love about them!

LifeWay or group help with different churches

We always use LifeWay’s VBS curriculum. We love how organized it is and easy to use. The teacher packets are well stocked with everything you need to be successful for the week.

I love the way Group is so active and hands on, but I also love the way I can include teenagers as crew leaders because they grow as much as the children in this role!I try to make sure it is compatible with our Wesleyan beliefs.this is my first time

I used the Holiday boot Camp VBS the kids enjoyed the program. we had so much fun. and really loved learning more about God the fun way. thank you so much

We used Lifeway since we began our VBS, but used Answers in Genesis two years ago and Group this past year. There are definitely pros and cons to each, especially since some of the publishers do not provide as many resources as we would have liked.

We typically use Lifeway… this year I am not a huge fan of the music, so I am shopping around!

Tips to Organize Vacation Bible School

  • Set the dates and schedule. Them post them far and wide (SAVE THE DATE)
  • Establish the budget, overall and for each rotation. Read our guide for doing VBS on a small budget
  • Most curriculum programs come with a planning guide and even resources for director training. If you need a checklist, start with our basic 9 steps on how to plan a VBS.
  • If you are a new director, make sure to read our 10 Tips for VBS Directors

Build Your Team

VBS Plan & Roster

Download my simple “Plan & Roster” sheet. Use the Word doc to edit or the PDF to preview

More advice for staffing your Vacation Bible School

Promote Your VBS

Kids love Vacation Bible School – but sometimes family calendars get crowded. Make sure you get the message out early and often so parents have lots of chances to save the date.

Lead & Train Your Team

VBS Follow Up

2 thoughts on ““VBS 2020 Curriculum” – What’s the best V.B.S. program for your church?”

  1. WOW! Thank you so much for this in in depth look into VBS programs. Our church only uses KJV materials and I have had quite a time finding KJV programs for VBS. Thank you so much! I learned a lot from this website.
    Lisa in MS


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