What Is This?
We're working on a six-year set of freely-redistributable Vacation Bible School materials. Recent updates are shown on the main page. To see all of the materials we have online so far, use the links in the sidebar under Complete Themes and Bits & Pieces.
Why Are We Doing This?
Several years ago, I got roped into helping with Vacation Bible School at my church. The person who was organizing VBS that year had purchased a fancy Bible School
kitthat cost the church a significant chunk of change, but it came, supposedly, with everything ready to go. The presentation of the materials was great: shiny visuals, nice-looking handouts and decorations, video segments, crafts and snacks coordinated with the lessons, and so on and so forth. There was even a video to show to potential helpers, to convince them to get involved. The problem, we discovered, was that the lessons themselves were apparently written by one of those people who doesn't actually believe in teaching children anything. Each day's
Bible Lesson, and I use the term loosely, contained only a single point from the Bible, along the lines of
God Helps Us,
God Loves Us, and so on. These things are true as far as they go, but they do not, to our way of thinking, constitute a Bible lesson. Not even the basic truth of the gospel was included, much less anything beyond that to hold the interest and help the growth of children who are already believers. The person who was presenting the lessons ended up rewriting them entirely, so as to include actual Biblical content. I was presenting the similarly deficient video segments, and I ended up rewriting the commentary that went along with them, again so as to include actual Biblical content. I am given to understand that the person presenting the missions lessons did significant rewriting as well.
The end result was that nothing coordinated. With the Bible lessons rewritten, all those fancy visuals and crafts and games and snacks and video segments no longer really went with them in any meaningful way. There was nothing to reinforce the Bible lessons. It was not the experience we really had in mind when we set out to have a Bible School.
The next year we were more careful in selecting materials, and we purchased ones that were produced by CEF in conjunction with FotF. These were rather a lot better than the others, but we found ourselves still disappointed with the quality of the Bible lessons. Yes, the gospel was present, but we still wanted more. We wanted more Bible in our Bible School. It is Bible School, after all.
So we decided to write our own. It's not that much more work than rewriting existing materials to bring them up to our standards. And since we are writing them, we figured we may as well share them as well. At first it was pretty overwhelming, and not everything got done as well as it should have done, but we're getting better at it as we go. Our plan is to create a six-year set initially and then after six years to rotate back through the same ones and improve them.
You can use the links in the sidebar to see what we've got so far.