By Robb Faust
“Tag! You’re it!” The sound of kids playing in the backyard is one of my favorite things about living in a neighborhood. In an age of handheld games, iPods, and iPhones, the kids in our community still enjoy getting together outside for fun, sports, and even a game of tag. When homework is done and simple household chores completed, my son, Ethan, is quick to ask, “Can I go outside and play now?” Making time for friends in our neighborhood is a priority for him each day.
Loving God, Loving Others
In Mark 12:29-31, Jesus tells us to love God and love others. For kids like Ethan, making time for friends and neighbors is one way they show love and serve the people around them. Serving neighbors is just the beginning. This summer, through a unique Vacation Bible School experience, your church can impact the world for Christ by learning to serve family, friends, neighbors, community, and Jesus.
Teaching kids to serve others is at the heart of Standard Publishing’s all-new 2013 Vacation Bible School, God’s Backyard Bible Camp.
Get ready for an outdoor adventure that starts in your own backyard and gets bigger each day! This year, Standard Publishing is giving churches a choice with two SuperSimple™ kits available.
Think back to your childhood. Most of us have two favorite summertime memories—summer days and summer nights. Standard Publishing is capturing the fun and adventure of both in two unique Vacation Bible School programs for 2013.
According to a 2012 survey,* 53 percent of churches are conducting VBS in the evening, finding it easier to recruit families and volunteers to participate later in the day. Standard is proud to offer a first-of-its-kind evening-themed VBS, God’s Backyard Bible Camp—Under the Stars. For those who love cozy campfires, fireflies, and crickets chirping on a summer night, “Under the Stars” is perfect. In fact, you can also use it to give kids a brand new daytime VBS experience. “Under the Stars” provides fun, nighttime themed decorations, and Bible stories that occur in the evening.
Standard is also offering a second theme choice, God’s Backyard Bible Camp—Under the Sun, where different daytime Bible stories are combined with decorations that celebrate backyard barbecues, water fun, and sunny days. Both programs truly stand out because kids participate in music, missions, and Bible experiences that teach all about serving others.
Music and Missions
All-new songs and music videos created just for God’s Backyard Bible Camp by children’s worship artist and composer Yancy will reinforce lessons and build excitement for serving Jesus. Kids will have fun praising God through eight all-new, all-reproducible songs. Yancy also produced 10 music videos that include a variety of styles and graphics. Plant seeds for a lifetime of worship with these catchy songs that pack a powerful message. Long after VBS is over, kids and adults will find they are still singing and being impacted by them.
Churches can extend their outreach this year by participating in the Kids Serving Kids™ Mission Project, built right into the VBS experience. Through a unique partnership with Back2Back Ministries, author and co-founder Beth Guckenberger will take children to Mexico to meet a young orphaned boy named Joel, who learned he was not forgotten. In daily video segments, kids will see and begin to understand God’s bigger world beyond their backyard and be inspired to help. The new mission project pack (sold separately) gives options to encourage involvement with Back2Back in Mexico. You and your kids will see how our amazing God weaves our stories together to meet needs and build faith.
In addition to great music and a challenging missions emphasis, each VBS theme also features engaging games, service challenges, journals, and interactive Bible stories that teach kids to serve family, friends, neighbors, community, and Jesus.
Complete with Bible stories that take place in the evening, God’s Backyard Bible Camp—Under the Stars includes a summer night theme that adds a new element of excitement for kids as they learn about and experience service under the stars. Dig into God’s Word and read about Joseph’s dreams and how he forgave his brothers. Go to the upper room at night and discover how Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. Learn about Rebekah’s kindness to Abraham’s servant. Follow Gideon into battle in the middle of the night, and see how Paul served Jesus even in the middle of a storm! Inspire kids to serve—under the stars—and around the world!
For churches that prefer summertime fun in the sunshine, God’s Backyard Bible Camp—Under the Sun includes different daytime stories of service that transport kids to a fun-filled world where they’ll learn to serve under the sun. See how Miriam took care of her brother Moses. Find out how four men brought their friend to see Jesus. Learn about the Samaritan man who helped his neighbor. See how Jesus helped Zaccheaus change his life. Discover how Peter and John served Jesus by showing his love and power. Helping kids understand how to live lives of service goes to the heart of what Jesus taught all of us.
Learning to Serve
Whichever theme you choose, the focus of God’s Backyard Bible Camp is on service and comes packed with a variety of ways for kids to discover and experience the kind of service-filled lives God wants us to live. This year, Standard has redesigned the way both programs are put together to make them even simpler for leaders to lead.
The launch of the all-new SuperSimple™ VBS format is a gift to every time-stressed VBS director. Packed with everything you need to lead and plan your VBS, each kit includes a simple-to-use content map, the Director’s Guide, PreSchool Director’s Guide, a six-disc Planning & Music set, and user-friendly leader’s guides and activity cards that tuck inside your Bible or fold into your pocket for crafts, snacks, games, and service projects. All the resources for three age groups—PreSchool, Elementary/PreTeen, and Teen—are bundled together and available on disc for easy distribution to your VBS team. Additionally, student books are included for four age levels, as well as the Decorating Pack & Guide, three more poster packs, and lots of awesome samples! It is all in one box, available at one price ($199.99), in the SuperSimple™ VBS Kit.
New this year, Backyard Bible Pals™ are designed exclusively for Standard Publishing by Floppets™. Kids will love ’em! These fun reminders of each lesson are already popular with kids and include a service focus and Scripture reference. They attach easily to the new 3-in-1 Lanyard and just about anything else. Your leaders and volunteers will love the lanyard. It holds the child’s nametag, student page service challenges, and each session’s Backyard Bible Pal—and they all fit into the pouch for the whole day! It also keeps pens, reminders, and schedules close at hand. With these super simple tools, your kids and leaders have handy reminders of how they are serving throughout VBS. Additional VBS backyard essentials are also available for
Simple and Easy
Promoting, recruiting, planning, engaging parents, and everything else that goes into a successful VBS have never been easier. Leaders will love the FREE web tools at www.vacationbibleschool.com where, in minutes, you can launch a custom VBS website (no web skills required). Using web tools will help you register kids, recruit volunteers, post pictures to your own photo gallery, and give everyone a sneak peek of your VBS.
Summer learning isn’t just for kids. Get the adults in your church involved by expanding their Bible study experiences to include a service focus as well. In Beyond Your Backyard (Standard Publishing item 24327), use the book and discussion guide (sold separately) to encourage adults to reach beyond their backyards and serve others. Like the kids in VBS, adults can also dig into God’s Word with a new resource, I AM: Revealed, that helps you get to know God on a first-name basis.
Whether you choose God’s Backyard Bible Camp—Under the Stars or Under the Sun, your church will be sharing God’s love and teaching kids and adults all about serving others at home, in their community, and around the world!
Join us this summer at God’s Backyard Bible Camp and help the kids and adults at your church discover how much fun it is to live out Mark 12:29-31. Remind them of Jesus’ simple message to love God and love neighbors. Tag! You’re it.
Robb Faust is Assistant Brand Manager for Standard Publishing in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Reaching Kids Through Music
Whether you’re 8 or 80, worship is a vital part of connecting with God. Here are a few things worship leaders and teachers can do to help the music and worship times at your VBS come alive after you press play. But remember that worship isn’t about us; it’s about God. When you give him your best, he will bless the effort.
Be Prepared. Spend time learning and studying the songs. You want to know them so well, they become part of your faith DNA. Think about what you want to say when you lead these songs. What will you say before the song starts? How will you transition from one song to another? What can you say about the songs as you’re walking back to class with kids?
Be Bold. Remember, you are the leader. Sing and lead these songs knowing you’ve been entrusted to do this. Don’t be intimidated. Sing and speak boldly!
Make Eye Contact. Look at the kids. Open your eyes. Connect with them. Sometimes eye contact is the very thing that will encourage them to sing out or clap their hands.
Give Vocal Instruction. One of the best ways to get kids to sing, dance, and participate is to be clear and tell them what you want them to do. Ask questions of the audience that demand a verbal response.
Yancy is a worship leader and songwriter for kids who travels the globe doing family concerts and training worship leaders. She’s the artist and writer of “God’s Backyard Bible Camp” VBS music. For more information, visit