What a Girl Wants, What a Girl Needs (A VBS Story Pt. 3)

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Sorry about the title, but it’s what keeps dancing around in my head as I think about this post.

In planning a VBS, I always begin with this question, “God, what do HiSKidZ need to hear this year?”

And then I wait.

I try to do it patiently, but I wait the best I can until I hear God’s voice leading me to what He wants to teach HiSKidZ in our little corner of His world.

This year, once the idea came that we needed to build God’s Word into their lives like never before, I went to my leadership team and begin to lay out a plan for partnering with one of my sons to write a VBS based on building blocks–a brand name of which I won’t mention here. It would be a big task, and would take a lot of time, energy and money.

Then, I asked whether or not we should do VBS this year.  Like any church, finding enough help can be a challenge, and without enough help, frustration and burnout can occur even among the strongest of Kidmin leaders.

Before I could get out my reasons for asking whether or not to do VBS, my leaders went C.R.A.Z.Y. on me! (Yeah,our children’s leadership team is awesomely like yesterday’s blog post!). Of course, we were going to do VBS! Dawn, how could you even think about not doing VBS??  There are kids to be reached and families who need to know Jesus. And it’s a VBS with building blocks of a brand name we won’t mention here!!  And so. . .

The planning and praying began, and we discussed what we wanted and needed for the week.

One of those things included Jumpstart3. (Yes, the Jumpstart3 promo week continues–Jeff, I know you are smiling as you read this!)

However, we are a small church in a small town in a small state with a small budget. But hey, no worries, because we have A BIG GOD!!

This summer, we were going to be reminded of how big.

I made the call, or two or three, to Jeff, and plans began to take shape. The problem was Jeff’s fee. His regular fee for a week is like my children’s ministry budget for a year. Yet, I knew he was supposed to come, and thankfully, so did he. He agreed to come for much less than his usual fee, and I agreed to pay him much less than his usual fee.

And our team agreed to pray that God would agree to pay his actual fee.

After talking with our church leadership, we launched our first ever investment program for VBS using an envelope system of giving. Basically, we put 100 envelopes on a wall, numbered $1-$100. People could pick an envelope, put in the corresponding amount of money and we would fund our VBS through it.

We wanted to raise enough money to cover Jeff’s fees, and to provide one Jumpstart3 CD and a t-shirt for each child who attended VBS.

What a girl wants, what a girl needs! What a mighty God we serve!!

As my friend Kate would say, “Jehovah Jirah!” The Lord Provides!

Through our investment program, God’s people generously gave in large and small amounts every penny we needed. On the Sunday of VBS, we were just $200 short of receiving all the money we needed. Yeah, you know–on that day 3 people came to me with envelopes which totaled $200, exactly enough to fund building God’s Word in HiSKidZ lives, Brick by Brick!

Jehovah Jirah! What a girl wants, what a girl needs, her God provides!

But, that’s not all. . . .there’s more. . . so stay tuned for . . .

A VBS Story Pt 4

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The Wise Woman Built Her VBS With Insulation Board (A VBS Story Pt 2)

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Last week was VBS. When Jeff and Alan from Jumpstart3 arrived, I loved that they loved our decorations. I also loved that they reminded me that I am one lucky girl. I guess not every church gets to put their VBS decor up the week before VBS.

I remember the days when we put decorations up at the last-minute and am incredibly thankful that we can now showcase our week, build a little more excitement and pace ourselves a little better by having almost everything in place before our 1st service begins.

We are a small-medium sized church in a small town that was just given the distinction of being the poorest city in our state. So while finances may not always abound, God in His infinite creativity does.

IMG_3303 It’s time to build!

This is how we became such a big fan of insulation board. In our town, there is no Lowes, no Home Depot and no Menards. There are two small lumber yards, and we are thankful for them because not only do they carry insulation board, they deliver it for free, and we get to choose our delivery guy. (Yea, Taylor!!)

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Our 1st tie ever! Girls won, btw!

This year as we learned about building our lives and our spiritual homes on Christ, we built most of our VBS out of this wonderful pink and blue foam. I wouldn’t want to build my house on it, or with it, but since it’s not meant to frame a house, just insulate it, I think we are good.

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Another craft tie in to help kids remember how to build their lives on Jesus

It’s inexpensive, lightweight, easily manipulated, and paintable. And paint we did. Our teams cut and painted bricks, signs, Jeff McCullough, and barricades. We used it for our first aid and guests centers, a giant clock and left over pieces as tallies for our offering contest. We even used it to make a sign for outside the front of our church. When the rains came down and the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that sign (multiple times) it did not fall, fade or crash!

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Working on the yard sign. Sherwin Williams color to go quarts are also our VBS friend!

IMG_3761 Guest signage–oops forgot to paint that side!

Total cost for the week was about $80. Even better, each and every item we made can be used again making the deal even sweeter. We discovered this year that if we made paper lettering and attached it with spray adhesive, we could remove it without marring or marking.

IMG_4100 Insul-Board bricks frame the doorways

Whether you are from a small church or a large one, or you have a tight budget or financial freedom, it’s just good stewardship to find ways to put Kingdom money to Kingdom use the best ways possible, and insulation board is a wise way to do that.

IMG_3160 Group pics that doubled for a craft later.

I’m curious how you have use insulation board in your churches. If you have a creative idea, please share. If you have more questions about how to use this amazing stuff, just let me know.

Until then, be wise and keep building.

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Our insul-board prayer cross.

Why I’m Still Jumping for Jumpstart3! (A VBS Story)

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Last week we had the privilege to host Vacation Bible School at our church. Many of you reading this understand that VBS is a crazy, exhausting, wonderful, glorious week–most of the time.

There are, of course, the years when all goes right, and the years when all goes wrong. Then there are the years like this one, when God does the things you could “never ask for or imagine.”

We invited Jeff McCullough of Jumpstart3 Scripture Memory Ministry to our VBS this year because we believed with all our heart that we need to get kids and families excited about the Word of God. Although Jeff and I had talked about the structure of our VBS, I think he was still a little shocked at the intensity of what we do and how we do it.

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Each morning we host our preschoolers (3 yr-K) for a morning VBS. Jeff led the music sessions for 4 groups of preschoolers each day. Each group ranged in size from 6-14 children. Each evening we host our “Big Kids VBS,” where Jeff led 3 groups of children in grades 1-6.

In just 2 days our preschoolers were saying their verses. SAYING THEM–not just singing them. As the teacher for the week, I got to review with them as part of our lesson the words of Matthew 7:24. They would speak to me the words,

 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rains came down. The streams rose. The winds blew and beat against that house. Yet it did not fall.”

Not only could they sing the words, and say the words our littlest HiSKidZ were grasping the meaning as we taught that these words weren’t about houses or rains or rocks or sand, but about us, and Jesus.

And our big kids were crazy for Jumpstart. Jeff helped us to be able to give each child who attended a CD of the songs we would use at VBS. In fact, we gave them one and offered them one to use to invite a friend. So, the kids in our town were blasting Jumpstart from minivans and pickup trucks all around town! Our “bigs” learned at least 5 verses this week, and could also not just sing them, but say them!

Jumpstart3 literally gave our children the Jumpstart on putting more than God’s Words into their lives. Jumpstart helped give our kids a passion for God’s Word.

God was at work in so many amazing ways this past week, and I’m looking forward to sharing them in the days ahead. If you have any questions about how Jumpstart3 could benefit your ministry, feel free to message me, or get ahold of Jeff through Jumpstart3’s webpage.

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Kids and parents at our closing night family experience with Jumpstart3. Can you tell what song they are singing? (Hint–They are pointing to their ears, the next motions are to make a Bible with your hands and to cover your face.)

Why I’m So Excited About Jumpstart3

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So, why am I so excited about Jumpstart3??

Because they are coming to my town. In just 2 weeks. Wow! Just 2 more weeks!

That fact, in and of itself, is more than enough reason to be excited, and we are excited to be hosting Jeff McCullough of Jumpstart3 for our upcoming week of VBS. But, there’s more!

This past February, I met Jeff at the Children’s Pastors Conference in California. We actually just “passed” each other and that was about it. I was walking into the vendor room to meet up with the crew from Kidology while Jeff was setting up his booth for Jumpstart. We shook hands, I asked him if he had seen Karl Bastian, and then I didn’t really see him again to talk. Although, I did get to watch him lead some super fun worship at CPC one night!

Jeff seemed to be everywhere and wherever that everywhere was there were people around getting excited about Jumpstart3’s Scripture memory songs. I have to admit I never really made it to his booth, but I’d already downloaded some of the songs on iTunes before and liked them. However, it is just recently that I’ve really began to love them.

This spring, God put it on my heart while planning VBS to invite Jeff to come to Iowa to share with HiSKidZ here. We have had some fun conversations and quite a bit of phone tag as we have planned and prayed about the week. He has gone out of his way to make sure that this week will be one our families will never forget.

Last Friday and Saturday, we used the “Matthew 7:24” song with a group of 3rd graders at our church camp’s Overnighter Camp and, well, words just can’t express what we experienced. Not only did our 65+ 3rd graders learn the verse by song, they learned to say it, and they loved it.

Requests to play it again and sing it again and again and again resonated through the camp. When parents came to pick up their kids and saw them singing Scripture with all their hearts–it was a beautiful thing! Volunteers are still texting me lyrics and breaking into song when they see me! (Ok, that’s not super unusual for me, but I LOVE IT!!!!)

Kids were singing with reckless abandon, eyes closed, motions movin’ and groovin’ as we sang together, “Therefore anyone who hears these words of Mine is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

It didn’t hurt that it rained like a big dog most of the session!! So that when we sang, “The rains came down; the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, yet it did not fall, yet it did not fall. –Because it had it’s foundation on the ROCK!” with the rains coming down in full force on a metal roof with the winds blowin’ and beating against our building, we all knew we wanted to be like wise men who built our houses on the rock!

If you haven’t discovered Jumpstart3 yet, I can’t encourage you enough to check them out and begin to let the Word of God soak into the hearts and minds of your kids.

If you happen to be around my neck of the woods in Southeast, Iowa, we’re inviting area pastors, children’s pastors and volunteers to a meet and greet with Jeff on Tuesday, July 28 anytime between 1 and 3pm. We’d love to have you stop in for some encouragement, blessing and to learn a little more about what Jumpstart3 is all about!!  Got kids? Consider joining us for VBS at New Testament Christian Church.

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