Please refer to the illustration of the bulletin board idea. Make any changes to best suit your classroom or bulletin board size. You could give this board the title: All Aboard the Sunlight Express! This would also be a good title to place on the wall in another area of the room, especially in a place where daily attendance is posted.

Begin by placing blue paper at the top for a sky background. Next, overlay green paper that has been rounded at the top to make the horizon look like rolling hills. Take a black magic marker and add other lines in the green to create more hills in the background. Draw a simple highway that will cross the tracks at the crossing guard. A Fun Option: a border can be made by using inexpensive toy train track or make your own track from cut Popsicle sticks.

The Primary Visuals contain a train as shown in the illustration. Cut out the train engine. The Series Aim is preprinted for you on four railroad icons. These icons are to be cut out and placed along the tracks and hills. You will need to make poles for the crossing signs with brown paper. You could also make an intersection, add a depot or railroad cars behind the engine. Included in the Primary Visuals are railroad tracks and the Theme Verse and reference printed on a puff of smoke. Instead of one bulletin board, this idea could stretch across the length of the wall or around the room.

You could give the bulletin board a 3-D effect by placing items of thickness behind each shape for the train to slightly protrude from the flat surface. You could do the same with the other signs using different thicknesses to create dimension and depth.

(Found in the Primary Teacher Manual for VBS 2012, Sunlight Express)


Sunlight Express—


The theme assimilates the experience of taking a scenic ride on a train with students taking their own ride through the gospel story of Jesus Christ. There are five destinations where students will stop. The passenger car almost always operates at the end of a train. The walls of the car usually were curved together to form a large U shape, and larger windows were installed around the end of the car. Some passenger cars had a roofed porch area. At the end of the car there was almost always a comfortable place to sit where passengers could enjoy the view as they watched the track rapidly fade into the distance.
Primary passengers aboard the Sunlight Express will be making stops at Great Gorge, Mercy Meadows, Fearless Falls, Timeless Tunnel and Sonrise Summit.

Sunlight Express—


Check with your VBS director to see how he or she plans to implement the theme to best suit your church. Listed below are suggested ways to organize activities and make the theme work while teaching the gospel story of Jesus Christ.

Room Settings: Train cars on an old-fashioned train
Assembly: Sunlight Station
Lesson: Passenger Car
Music: Melody Coach
Crafts: Craft Caboose
Snacks: Snack Car
Games: Boxcar Games
Missions: Outreach Baggage Car
Characters: Passengers and attendants on the train
Director: Station Master
Teacher: Conductor
Leader-Guide-Helper: Engineer
Students: Passengers
Craft-Game-Music-Snack Leaders: Crew

A Word from the Primary Writer

Rhonda Blackerby | VBS WriterThe world is rushing by. Days turn to months and months to years. Somewhere in the distance you can hear the sound of a train whistle, long and low, almost like a sad song. The noise of everyday living makes it difficult to hear. A world of people who are overindulged in pleasure and entertainment can barely hear it at all. For those who are waiting on a train, the sound of the whistle brings hope and joy. As a train slowly approaches, small rumbles make one take notice for a moment, but other sounds distract. The increasing noise of the engine and the shaking of the ground are proof the locomotive is on its way. When the huge and powerful train arrives and the loud whistle blows, everyone knows it is time to yield to the force and speed passing by.

This VBS theme is events of Jesus and what He has done for all people. His great love for sinful mankind was demonstrated by His coming to earth and dying in our place, then, rising from the dead to live and intercede for all who will come to Him in repentance and faith. Like many who do not notice the train approaching in the distance, people today are too busy or too blinded by the deception of Satan and the entrapments of sin to hear the approaching warnings. This VBS will teach students that Jesus promised to come back again. We should be ready and watching for that great day! At His coming, all will yield to His power and greatness.

The history of the railroad is one of great hardship followed by great accomplishment and reward. The railroad advanced travel and communication in all parts of the globe. Modern science continued to expand the efficiency and capability of trains. As trains hit peak speeds of over two hundred miles per hour and the rail system became available in most areas of the world, other modes of travel became more popular. Air travel moved forward. Automobiles rolled off assembly lines by the thousands. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s miles of rail were abandoned or ripped up.

Pray this does not happen to the gospel train in your life. Many Christians are guilty of allowing other things to distract them from their first love (Revelation 2:4). Taking a fresh ride on the Sunlight Express will be a great course to remind us of the redeeming work Christ has done in the lives of His children. There are times we need to remember what great things He has done for us. These lessons will also be a valuable tool to teach children that Christ wants to save them and help them live an abundant life.

The Sunlight Express teaches that everything Jesus does for me is because He loves me. The aim of the series is to teach students how to receive Christ as Savior, follow His leadership, trust His care, and believe in His resurrection and return. The five lessons will teach Jesus saves, leads, cares, lives and will return someday. This VBS will be a call to salvation for Primary students who are not yet saved, and it will help those who have already been saved to trust Jesus in their everyday walk of life. John 10:10 plainly teaches that Jesus wants His children to live an abundant life confidently trusting in Him for all things.

(Rhonda Blackerby, writer of the Primary material for VBS 2012, Sunlight Express)