Adult VBS: A Word from the Adult Writer

Gene Smith

ADULT VBS

Challenging changes await the adult students who will explore the biblical truths set forth in these five lessons. This year’s study will be an exploration of the unchangeable truths of God’s Word. Those who choose to study these truths will enjoy a life-changing experience that will enhance their daily walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Some simple, yet profound truths are set forth in this year’s Vacation Bible School.

Theme for VBS 2012: The theme for this year’s VBS is entitled “Sunlight Express . . . Jesus and Me.” The students will learn of the things Jesus does for them because He loves them. This particular study of the Bible will lead the students to experience the life-changing presence of Jesus Christ as they walk daily with the Lord.

AN OVERVIEW

Lesson 1: Jesus Saves.The story in the Bible is taken from John 3:1- 7. It relates the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night. His discussion with Jesus resulted in his being born again. This resulted in a total change in his nature and life. Compare this life-changing experience with your experience of salvation.

Lesson 2: Jesus Leads.
The story in the Bible is taken from John 10:1- 9, 27. It relates how Jesus leads His people and how they follow Him. Compare this with your salvation experience and Christ’s guidance in your life.

Lesson 3: Jesus Cares.
This lesson is taken from Mark 4:35-41. The writer of the second gospel was Mark. He is also known as John Mark. Mark was the son of one of the New Testament Marys, and a nephew of Barnabas. He was an associate of the apostles. He is mentioned in the writings of Paul and Luke. (See Acts 12:12; 15:37, 39; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 24, 25.) The words straightway, forthwith, immediately and anon are words which are characteristic of Mark’s writings. In his writings, he presents Jesus Christ as the Servant of God. Tradition reveals that Mark wrote this book from the city of Rome, and this cannot be disproven. There seems to be some validity to the idea that he wrote for the Roman reader. There has never been any reason- able doubt about this book having been written in the Greek language.

Lesson 4: Jesus Lives.
The biblical basis for this lesson is taken from Luke 24:1-9. This Scripture reveals Jesus Christ arose from the dead on the first day of the week. On the present-day calendar that would be what we know as Sunday. This is why we meet to worship God each Sunday.

Lesson 5: Jesus Returns.
The scriptural basis for this lesson is Acts 1:9-12. Jesus Himself made an unchangeable declaration that He will return to gather all of His people unto Himself. This event is commonly called the second coming of Christ.

 

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Lesson Overviews for the Five Days of VBS

Track 1—Jesus Saves
Can you think of anything in life more important than Jesus saves? As a matter of fact, until a person is saved, there really is nothing important at all. Every other issue in life is moot until a person is saved. A preacher said one time, “If Jesus Christ does not save, then nothing in life matters; if Jesus Christ does save, then nothing else in life matters.” It is our desire to instill in the hearts of these teens the eternal perspective and factual perception concerning the issue of their souls. If they are lost, they are on the top looking down; this life will be as good as it gets for them. However, if they are saved, they are on the bottom looking up; it will only get better from here. I hope and pray that by the end of this lesson each student will understand that absolutely nothing matters in life until he has been saved by the only One who can save him, Jesus Christ.

Track 2—Jesus Leads
Once the salvation of an individual occurs, real things can start happening in his life. The first thing after being saved by the Lord is being led by the Lord. In Psalm 40:2, the psalmist describes his salvation experience, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” Of course, the first example of one following His leadership is the willingness for the newly saved person to obey His instructions to go into the waters of baptism. I have told my children that I will not always be there to help them through life, but Jesus will. There is no greater lesson that a new Christian can learn than the lesson of learning to follow the leadership of our Lord. If he can learn to follow Jesus, by default there are many lessons that he won’t have to learn. When a young person learns to follow Jesus, he will never have to find his way in life because Jesus will take care of that. The reality is that the entire dynamic changes once one is saved. One no longer has to decide what to do; he now discerns what to do. Jesus gives us the leadership we need and bares the responsibility of that leadership. There is nothing more practical in the life of the believer than the willingness to follow the leadership of the Lord.

Track 3—Jesus Cares
One of the most wonderful truths that we can enjoy in this life is the reality that our Lord is a caring Lord. He cares for the lost; He wants them to be saved. He also cares for the saved and wants them to know it. The fact that Jesus saves deals with our ultimate need, the fact that Jesus leads deals with our practical needs and the fact that Jesus cares deals with our emotional needs. Jesus supplies all of our needs, and
no one needs that fact welded to his heart like a teen. I believe when a person knows that Jesus cares, he is on his way to living a spiritually, emotionally healthy life.

Track 4—Jesus Lives
The full reality of this lesson is often unexplored and unexplained. While we as Christians readily proclaim Christ as the risen Lord with our lips, in our lives He seems to be relegated to the pages of history. We often speak of Him in the past tense. Sometimes we speak of Him as though He is long gone. The fact is that nothing could be further from the truth. I heard once about a little boy who was given the writing assignment of presenting an essay on the greatest man alive. When he got up to read his essay, he announced that he was speaking about Jesus Christ. The world may relegate Him to history, but the Bible teaches us He is a person of the present. He is as alive today as any student sitting in the room. By the end of this lesson, each student will be able to know that Christ is not a person of the past but is real and relevant right now. It is true that He is the Rock of Ages, but it is also true that He could be and should be the “Man of the year” every year.

Track 5—Jesus Returns
My heart jumps every time I think about the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Too often we end the story of Jesus with the resurrection, when in fact that’s when it really begins. Because the Bible is complete doesn’t mean God’s work is. As Noah, Abraham and the prophets of old, we, too, are in eager anticipation of something magnificent and marvelous. In the Old Testament, we look back into history to a time when men were anxiously awaiting the birth of Jesus, and somehow we imagine that to be a time of excitement and joy. The reality is that we are in the same scenario. But this time we are not waiting for Jesus to come. We are waiting for Him to come again. As surely as yesterday’s news, Jesus is going to return for us. We have something to look forward to, and we all know life is much more enjoyable when lived in anticipation of something grand. To what are we looking forward? We are looking forward to seeing Jesus in His glorified flesh. If that isn’t something to look forward to, nothing is.

(Taken from the Teen Teacher’s Manual)

VBS Crafts

The Craft Caboose
Welcome to the Craft Caboose, an important car on the Sunlight Express. You see, the caboose is much more than a cute little red car at the end of a train. The caboose is a car that provides a place to inspect the cargo. It had a desk or table for handling business and was often decorated and made personal on the inside with pictures and posters. What better setting could there be for our craft adventure! Craft time will be an opportunity to reinforce each lesson and create a visual or witnessing tool as a reminder that will go home with the students each day. The students look forward to craft time much like children at one time looked forward to seeing the brakeman waving from the caboose of a train. You will be much like the brakeman with the opportunity to help these students get on the right track—the one that leads to the Lord. Craft time will be fun and exciting for the students, but it will also be a witnessing tool used by God to reach people for His glory.

Living Up to the Name
If you were to research the history of the caboose, you would find that this fascinating little train car was known by many different nicknames. It is quite interesting and appropriate for the Sunlight Express that one of the nicknames for a caboose is “glory wagon.” Everything we do is to be for God’s honor and glory, and the Craft Caboose provides an opportunity to do that. Crafts are not intended to be a project that will keep children busy until the next class. These are teaching tools and an outreach. Craft time provides an occasion to review the day’s lesson. It also allows a chance to dig in a little deeper. Not only are you discussing what the children have learned, you are working on a hands-on reminder of the lesson that they will be able to take home and possibly share with someone else. May we all be ready to reach children for Christ in our words, actions and craft time. May our Craft Caboose be a glory wagon for the Lord!

“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen,” Romans 11:36.

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A Word from the VBS Craft Book Writer

Climb aboard the Sunlight Express! Our journey is about to begin, and what a journey it will be! There is no greater adventure than the voyage that is taking place between Jesus and me. The same personal adventure is awaiting you, as well. Your ticket has been purchased and excitement awaits around each bend.
We will examine five wonderful promises this week beginning with an observation at the Great Gorge. It is deep and wide, but there is a strong unfailing bridge that is able to deliver us safely to the other side. Here, we will focus on the promise of salvation through our Savior, Jesus Christ. From the gorge, we will move to the tranquility of Mercy Meadows. It is a peaceful place where sheep are lead by their loving shepherd, much like Jesus lovingly leads us. The third setting is full of adventure. We will experience the rushing and crashing Fearless Falls where we will be reminded of the promise that Jesus cares. Beyond the falls, the Timeless Tunnel awaits. This will be a great time for us to remember that Jesus is as much alive today as He was before His crucifixion, and He will be alive forevermore. We will end our adventure on the beautiful mountaintop of Sonrise Summit where we will look forward to the promise that Jesus will come again.

The Sunlight Express promises to be an unforgettable, hope-filled adventure made possible by the love of Christ. Jesus’ love for us makes it all possible, from the provision of salvation to the promise of His return. We will never know a greater love than the love of Jesus or experience a greater adventure than our own personal journey with Him.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13

(Angela Crymes, writer of the VBS Craft Book for VBS 2012, Sunlight Express)

A Word from the Junior Writer

All aboard for a week of exciting adventures as we climb aboard The Sunlight Express. This week we will take a journey that will lead us over Great Gorge, beside Mercy Meadows, around Fearless Falls, through Timeless Tunnel, and, finally, up Sonrise Summit. We will learn important truths about God’s Word as we travel to these different destinations.

While aboard the Sunlight Express, we will be looking at the theme Jesus and Me. Everything Jesus does is because of His love for us. The greatest demonstration of His love was at Calvary. The sinless Lamb of God willingly took our place and died in our stead because of His love. No greater love has ever been shown. Our Theme Verse is “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13. Jesus willingly laid down His life to purchase salvation for all mankind.

Vacation Bible School is a blessing. As you prepare for the week, one important thing is essential. Prayer! Pray that God will use you to be a blessing to others. Pray for the souls of the children who will be under your influence this week. Pray for the leadership of the Holy Spirit in your life. Pray that God will work in your life through VBS.
As you prepare for your lessons, I want to encourage you to dig into God’s Word. You may know the Bible story and feel comfortable teaching it, but I want to encourage you to study a little more. If you would take the time to search into the Word of God, you would find it full of helpful information. You want to be prepared for any questions that may arise.

You have a great opportunity this week. It is important for you to stress salvation in every lesson. Sadly, statistics show the number of people who accept the Lord decreases as they grow older, so we need to take every opportunity to share Christ this week. Always look for a teachable moment where you can reiterate salvation. Be prepared to share the plan of salvation.

(Darlene Walls, writer of the Junior material for VBS 2012, Sunlight Express)

Preparing to Teach Young Teens

Whether you are a novice or an experienced teacher, putting the following three teaching tips into practice will help you avoid having students leave the class with glazed eyes, bored and vowing never to come back.

The first tip involves decision-making. Make an effort to decide what and how much to teach. Avoid the WTMI syndrome—Way Too Much Information. Material for Vacation Bible School provides Bible-centered, age-appropriate lessons that contain lesson background material as well as teaching aids, games and craft ideas along with take home material for the students. A problem many teachers have is that they feel obligated to use every bit of information in the teacher’s guide and deliver it in the small amount of time allotted for a lesson. Teachers should keep in mind that the primary goal of their teaching is not to merely transfer information but to transform lives. Usually, there is more material provided in the teacher’s guide for a lesson than any teacher can use. This allows an astute teacher to choose how much of the material available is needed to effectively present the lesson.

The second tip deals with preparing each lesson. Use the Lesson Aim to decide what one fact or concept of that aim your students need most to understand. Then answer the following questions:
• How does the fact relate to students’ needs?
• What kind of help can be given for students to grasp the biblical or theological concept of the lesson?
• 
Can the specific concept be taught in the time allotted for the lesson?
• How many elements provided in the material can be used effectively 
in the allotted time?
• Will it be possible to measure the students’ understanding and 
application of the concept?

The third tip is to decide which learning method can best motivate students to learn. Learning methods refer to the most effective ways to convey lessons so students can and will apply them. The two most common methods are active learning and passive listening. Any learning method consists of verbal presentation, exercises, assignments and activities that lead students to examine the Bible in more detail. For young teens, active learning is better than passive listening. This method allows students to answer questions, offer opinions, search for appropriate Scriptures and share thoughts by taking part in discussions.

These tips are by no means the only ways teachers can better prepare and present a lesson to a group of young teens. However, they are procedures that should make for better lesson preparation. Anyone who wants to be a truly effective teacher needs one additional thing.
It is more than charisma. It is more than a dynamic voice and perfect inflection. It is more than amazing materials. That marvelous thing needed is LOVE! A teacher will find his effectiveness as a teacher increases exponentially when he truly loves every student in his class. Take a tip from a sports equipment company and “Just Do It!”

(Weeks Dubose, writer of the Young Teen material for VBS 2012, Sunlight Express)

Teen VBS: A Word from the Teen Writer

 

 

Welcome to Vacation Bible School 2012, and congratulations on having the opportunity to teach teens. It is a sacred privilege and serious honor to be placed in the position of teaching people. This year’s Vacation Bible School stands in my estimation as one of the most profound themes of study that we could present to this generation of young people. If I could only instill in an individual five important truths, I would have to choose these five.

Jesus Saves, Jesus Leads, Jesus Cares, Jesus Leads, Jesus Returns.

I find nothing in life of greater importance, higher value or eminent usefulness than the subjects covered in the week’s lessons. Each lesson is a truth one cannot live without. These are not merely ornaments of truth that we decorate our spiritual minds with, these are the lessons that constitute the necessities not only of a life well-lived, but of a life lived, period. Teens are certainly at the age in which they are more than able to comprehend what each of these lessons will mean.  
It is my prayer that these lessons will enrich your life as teacher, Christian and fellow servant of the Lord Jesus. Vacation Bible School may be the only opportunity that you have to touch the lives of some of these students. Do it well. Give yourself to the Lord first, the task second and, no doubt, God will do the things only God can do.

 

(Jeff Haney, writer of the Teen VBS material for VBS 2012, Sunlight Express)

 

VBS BULLETIN BOARD IDEA

 VBS BULLETIN BOARD IDEA

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)

THE SUNLIGHT EXPRESS – VBS TRAIN THEME

Sunlight Express—

JESUS AND ME –
PASSENGER CAR

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—

THEME SETTINGS AND CHARACTERS

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