Redefining VBS as a Practical Missions Adventure
1) Select stories around a theme, need or purpose.
Story sets are best chosen based on what your target audience needs. Seek to discover what those needs are before you begin to select stories. If it a local mission field, talk to the ones who will be invited to participate. If it is a foreign field, do some research online, in the library or talk to a missionary.
2) Teach the stories you select to those who will lead the VBS.
Use the outline given for Bible Trekking™ to learn how to best teach the stories to those who will be your leaders and teachers. Remember that the teachers need not always be adults. Young people can accurately tell stories and lead in discussion as well.
Practice is what is most important in this step. Each teacher should practice telling each story often. The more they practice, while picturing the story in their mind, the more natural the story will come out when taught to others.
3) Give them ample time to create various expressions of the stories:
Using the story as the basis, spend time thinking of and practicing creative expressions of each story. Consider:
- drama / skits
- drawings / art
- doing activities
- singing songs
A tip to consider is that everything that is done in this step must be easily reproduced by those in your mission field. Otherwise, they will not think that they can do the same as you did and the mission ends with you. You can check out each step, each drama, drawing, activity and song by asking one simple question, “Can you do what I just did?!”
If the answers include any of the following, you need to reevaluate and make adjustments. Answers that would indicate this include:
- “I could if I had a music player.”
- “I can’t because we don’t have crayons, markers, etc.”
- “I don’t have puppets (etc.) like you used. Would you leave those for me?”
- “We don’t have money to buy the ______.”
This might be challenging to you or your group, but creativity is a natural part of our Creator. Ask Him to help you think about how you can make the stories really live without needing many or even any outside resources. You CAN do it! Keep asking yourselves, “What if…?”
4) They then teach the stories, with all the various expressions, to those on the “mission field.”
Whether you are going to the back yard or the Outback, over the fence or overseas, cross town or cross culturally, you will greatly increase the effectiveness of your VBS Mission by determining ahead of time that you are not just going to teach some Bible stories to one group of children, but are actually training Bible Trekkers™ who will tell their stories to others, who will tell their stories to others…
To help make this successful, take as much time as is needed to tell, retell, and use all the various expressions of each story that you have created. As people experience each creative way the story is presented, they will naturally get more excited about the ones that they can probably repeat the best. Encourage them that as each finds what they do best, they are creating a team to go and share the stories with their own mission field!
5) Have a Celebration at the end of VBS.
Be sure to have a celebration at the end of the VBS. Invite family and friends, relatives and neighbors to come ‘see and hear’ what the children have learned during VBS. Make sure that the children are the ones doing all or nearly all of the presenting. Showcase them doing the activities, telling the stories, singing the songs, sharing what they learned from the stories.
This will not only be good for everyone to hear but will also be a great practice for when they go to share the stories with another mission field!
6) Finally, challenge the ones who have just learned the stories, to go and teach them to someone else in their “mission field.”
Now that you have given the stories to your mission field audience, challenge them to consider who they can give the stories to! Challenge not only the children, but any older young people or adults who were helpers during the VBS.