Often you will find helps on which VBS curriculum to choose but not much seems to be written about when to choose it so I want to begin with that.
— WHEN TO CHOOSE VBS CURRICULUM —
Normally by the end of summer or beginning of autumn, most of the major curriculum companies announce the next year’s theme. While you usually cannot order the material at that time, you can start comparing what is going to be available.
It used to be I would go to the local Christian bookstore when the curriculum was in stock and spend a number of hours checking out the various programs. Now, with the Internet, you can do much of the research online and much earlier.
The earlier you begin the process, the more potential for your “creative juices” to start flowing to imagine the possibilities of what you could do with the various themes.
The earlier you decide, the sooner you can start praying more specifically and even dropping hints to build excitement.
— WHICH CURRICULUM TO CHOOSE —
In choosing VBS curriculum, pray for God’s guidance as you ask the following questions:
How does it meet the basics? Take into consideration factors vital to choosing any kind of curriculum.
You need to look at it doctrinally. Don’t let a theme sway you into compromising.
You need to make sure it follows a sound teaching-learning process. VBS is more than fun and games. Bible lessons need to promote changed lives, moving from head knowledge to seeing the implications of truth to their lives, culminating in application.
You need to check age level development issues. It’s easy when trying to develop a spectacular theme with all the bells and whistles to move too far into the abstract, making it fun but not right where students are at in the various age levels.
How does it fit our setting? Take into consideration the following elements as you check out the various curriculum possibilities.
– Culture of the Community (how a theme might be perceived)
– Primary Target (i.e., saved vs. unsaved; urban vs. rural)
– Facilities & Property (the potential to do what is required)
– Budget (cost of workbooks, extra teacher’s manuals, craft kits, decorations, publicity, etc.)
– Number of workers or teachers available to implement it
– Level of skill, knowledge, and time required by leaders, teachers, & workers to successfully implement it in comparison to what our people can offer
How will it interest our people? Take into consideration the level of appeal not just of the theme but of the materials.
Will people find the theme exciting?
Will people find the music, games, & crafts engaging?
Will leaders & teachers find the material easy to use?
Will the unchurched attendees be able to connect and will the churched be challenged?
How will it provide support for successful implementation of the program? Putting together an effective Vacation Bible School is a lot of work. What does the curriculum provide for you?
– publicity materials (Is the logo and other clip art available to you if you cannot afford their printed materials?)
– online forums, blogs, faq sections, etc.
– training tools (What comes with the kit? What is online?)
– music tracks (Does it provide you with good quality music?)
– decorating ideas (Does it suggest ideas for decorating, some of which will be low cost alternatives if needed?)
– supplemental or alternative ideas (Does it provide possible suggestions for what to do if the ideal doesn’t work in your setting? Does it give ways to shorten or lengthen the agenda to accommodate your time table?)
You might not find a Vacation Bible School curriculum that aligns perfectly as a good fit for you in all these areas. Make sure, however, that it at least measures up in the basics and then do your best to make it work in your setting, trusting God to use it to His glory. Remember, the earlier you choose your curriculum the more time you will have to pray about it and tweak it to make it a better fit.
For VBS Curriculum Currently Available: Vacation Bible School Curriculum & Theme Supplies