Can VBS be used in other formats?

Dr. Georgia Purdom, a speaker and researcher with Answers in Genesis, answered this question on her blog. We've reprinted it here with her permission. Thanks, Georgia!

The simple answer is yes! And doing it is simple, too. I saw a similar question to this posted on Ken Ham’s Facebook the other day, and I answered that I had used it in a children’s church format and it worked very well. I thought some of you might be interested in how I did it, so here are the details.

At my church we rotate teachers for children’s church (held during the morning worship service) and so I would typically have a six-week time period when it was my turn to teach. I taught mixed ages from four years old to second grade, so I chose to use the pre-primary or primary level of the AiG VBS. I usually had 6–10 kids for an hour (and no helper—just to emphasize how easy it is to do this!). I would spread the five days of VBS into five different Sundays with the sixth Sunday being a review time.

I usually didn’t do a lot of decorating outside of the memory verse and topic posters that are provided for the VBS. Since this was
for a small group of children and we were very limited on space and money this was the best option for us. I had the kids use their imagination when we trekked through the desert in Egypt File or floated in space for Operation Space (kids have great imaginations!).

Since I was on a tight budget and not that crafty, I would choose one or two of the “centers” (pre-primary) suggested for the teaching time and use those as an activity/craft time. If time allowed, we would also do the take-home papers provided with the VBS. I purchased a nice puppet and did the puppet shows myself, which were a huge hit. I’m not much of a puppeteer, but that didn’t matter to them. I used the Song Motion DVD for singing time. The kids still sing, “I’ve Got DNA!”  Who knew that you could incorporate DNA into such a catchy tune!

I would always include a time of review that consisted of a series of questions about the topic for the day. We would use the game of “Mother May I?” and the children would work together as a team to answer the questions. If they answered it correctly, they got to move forward as a team, and if not then no moving. Learning and fun all packed into a simple game.

On the sixth Sunday (besides review) I typically showed a children’s AiG DVD like The Animal Kinds by Buddy Davis, and we would eat popcorn as we watched. Honestly, I’ve never seen children so excited about a curriculum. And I’ve never seen a curriculum so meaty in content, flexible in nature, and easy to do on a small budget.

This year my church decided to use the AiG VBS Gold Rush for the actual VBS program, so I get to see it done on a large scale. And while it is fun to put up all the decorations and do the crafts, snacks, and games as intended for the VBS, I will always hold dear in my heart those little gatherings on Sunday when we used our imaginations, worked simply, and learned about the truth and authority of God’s Word. I hope this helps any of you that are considering ways you can use our VBS programs in an atypical fashion.

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