Why I Created Our Own VBS Program (And Why YOU Can Get Creative Too!)

VBS program

Kids Xperience, our church’s version of VBS, is starting in just 12 short days.
With the countdown ticking down to just a few days, I’m equal parts terrified and excited.

A lot of my nerves—beyond the usual “will we have enough supplies?” and “how many kids will actually show up?”—are coming from the fact that this year I’m doing something I’ve never done before—creating our own VBS program.

For the past three years in Children’s Ministry, I have eagerly awaited the release of VBS themes from Group, Lifeway and other publishers. I’ve scoured their catalogs, scopes and decorations—all in anticipation of making that decision—“Which program will we choose this year?”

This year though, as I browsed through the themes, nothing felt quite right. As much as I loved the decorations and music that accompanied some of the themes, I just didn’t feel settled about them. One day, while chatting with Andrew about it, he suggested creating our own VBS program. My initial reaction (whether it was visible or not…it probably was!) was “That is a crazy idea.”

With so much great programming right at my fingertips, why would I go through the work of creating our own?

The more I thought about it, though, the more I couldn’t get away from the idea.

What if we, little Calvary Kids in Clarenville, Newfoundland, created our own VBS program?

So, one day, I started to use my two best friends—Google and Pinterest—to see what I could discover. Amidst my searches (don’t ask me what I was searching for at this point!), I came across a free eight-week curriculum from the amazing people at Newspring Church titled “Star Voyager.”

As I read through the material and previewed some of the media, something about the theme started to click.

However, this wasn’t a VBS curriculum by any means. There were great media elements, but minimal activities—not enough to fill up our two-hour nightly slot. Not to mention, there were some things I loved about the curriculum, but some still didn’t click.

I couldn’t get away from that space theme though. It seemed like it just kept coming up for me, so one day I sat down to my computer and started to unpack what it would look like for us to do this theme. More Google searches, additional free resources and lots of amazing Pinterest ideas started to come together to create what would become our Kids Xperience program for this year.

I have to be honest, the closer we get, the more apprehensive I feel. How is this going to work? Did I miss something in compiling and creating this VBS?

While at times I do feel that level of apprehension, I (mostly) feel confident in my decision to create our own program. Here are a few reasons why:

This program is customized to our kids and context.
Through conversations with parents, volunteers and my planning team, we were able to take some of the elements we love MOST about the VBS programs we’ve done in the past along with some new ones and customize this program to our needs. We were able to incorporate some of the things that work well with our kids in our weekly context, and expand on them to make them bigger and better for Kids Xperience!

We were also able to customize it to our context. Sometimes, the weather doesn’t cooperate for outdoor games—so I was able to choose games that would work indoors or outdoors. In the past, science has been a huge hit with our kids—so we were able to create our very own science station for each night.

The message we’ll be communicating is what we are passionate about right now!
The message we’ve chosen to communicate to kids—that God’s promises are true and reliable—was one we felt was especially relevant to where we are right now, and what we want kids to know. The Bible stories we’ve chosen and points we’re communicating will provide a foundation for us to build on in our children’s ministry for the rest of the year.

I was able to let my creativity flow!
Sometimes, kids’ ministry can get pretty routine. Rushing from week to week, program to program, it’s easy to get caught up in just getting things done. Building on elements from NewSpring to create our own curriculum allowed me to let my creativity flow. I was able to dream big, partner with God, and use some of the unique giftings I have to create something I’m really proud of!

This journey of creating our own “Kids Xperience” has been an incredible one for me. I’m looking forward to continuing to use the God-given gift of creativity in our kids ministry this year.

If you’re a children’s ministry leader, let me challenge you:
How can YOU use creativity in your context?
How can YOU start thinking outside of the box for ministry?

This isn’t just connected to your summer programming, but to everyday life. I’m convinced children’s ministry is more enjoyable – at least it has been for me – when I’m using creativity to accomplish the task of discipling kids and drawing them deeper into their relationship with God. Whether that’s in the way you implement the amazing curriculum your church uses, creating your own events, or even in the way you connect with kids, get creative!

The sky’s the limit!

Looking for more creative ideas for kids ministry? Check out this book review on “Inspired” from Kidmin Nation where I got to write a chapter on being creative!

For some simple resources for kids’ ministry, check me out over at the Deeper Kidmin Marketplace!

This article originally appeared here.

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Julia Ball
Julia Ball is the Provincial Kids' Director for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland. She also serves at her local church as the pastor to Calvary Kids in Clarenville, NL. Julia loves connecting with kids and seeing them grow deeper in their knowledge of God and relationship with Jesus. She is mom to a handsome, hilarious toddler named Levi and married to Andrew. When she's not pastoring, you can find Julia writing on her blog at www.ministrymom.ca, drinking the biggest cup of coffee she can find, or going on adventures with her family.