Using Eldrbarry's Vacation Bible Schools Curricula

There are commercial packages of published Vacation Bible School materials available. Perhaps your ministry is looking for something more on a "shoestring", or materials that could be "adapted" to your situation, or you would want to reap the added benefits of all the learning and experience that comes with "do it yourself" projects. Maybe you want something with more biblical "substance" in what it teaches. These curricula were developed with those needs in mind. While using them may take more work than a commercial package, they may be just the right starting place for you to develop a "unique" Bible School Program of your own. It is the author's purpose in making them available that they be used as widely as possible by churches and Christian organizations and there is no charge for their use, though donations to my mission fund will be gratefully accepted. Permission is granted for you to print them out and reproduce them for your teaching staff, or cut each document and paste into your Word Processor for reformating and reproduction, as long as you include the copyright notice somewhere in the documents. The manuals are somewhat lengthy.

If a church or Christian organization wants to develop these into a week long program, there are some things they will need to "do themselves". Here are some "suggestions" on how to use these materials for a Vacation Bible School. One of the advantages of "doing it yerselves" is that you can tailor this program to your own needs. It will also be a real opportunity for training people for the tasks of Christian education with "hands on" experiences.

It is important to know what your goals are for the Vacation Bible School and adapt the materials to them. Is it for the instruction of the children of church members, for outreach among unchurched children, to be aimed at the whole family, or to be used for training of Christian workers. These materials were developed to be used by teens in small churches after several weekend training sessions. It's goals were: "hands on" training of teens for ministry; a curriculum for children based on solid Biblical content; and adaptability to situations with limited resources and staff.

While these Curricula are orientated towards Children's Bible School programs; other approaches are possible. Perhaps an evening VBS with Adult study groups (using the Study guide lessons) while the children are having their own stories, thus involving the whole family. Perhaps the material could be used on a "one session a week" basis, on a week night or a Saturday - stretching over five weeks. Those who teach may also find this material helpful as examples for their developing other stories and lessons from the Bible. The ways and degree you use these materials is up to you as you access your group's needs and as you tap your own "creative resources" to accomplish your goals. Whatever you do, make it colorful, exciting and fun! The more you put into the preparation of your teachers and your program, the greater will be your blessings.

This curriculum includes

All six different Curricula can be viewed at Two are theme programs: Wanted! uses a Western Theme and A Pilgrim at the Fair uses a Medieval theme.

There are also pages on Using Storytelling in Church Programs and on Leading Group Games in Eldrbarry's materials.

Once you have decided to "do it yerself", and have clearly set forth your goals, you will need someone to take charge - A Director.
He will be in charge of

Committees can be set up to do much of the actual work.

A plan for mastering the Study and Teaching Materials should be prepared. Once the teachers have been recruited, they need to commit themselves to study and learn their lessons - as one of the hallmarks of this material is its intention to teach on two levels - first the teachers, and then the children. It is recommended that the teaching staff of the VBS meet several times as a group to discuss together the Lessons, and to pray together, and then to work together on the individual Stories, each taking turns practicing before the group.

Materials will need to be prepared. Reproduce and distribute the Study and Story materials. Some stories use graphic aids such as "pictures in sequence" or "Flannelgraph" stories. Puppets may be needed. A large "flannelgraph" board and Memory icons will be needed. Other props will be needed as well. You may want to change the method of presenting a particular story, please feel free to adapt any presentation to your group.

While materials are not provided for written children's lessons following the story, Daily Worksheets with a variety of puzzles, crosswords, fill in the blanks, coloring pictures, etc, appropriate to the age level of the classes ought to be prepared by the teachers or staff and used during class times. These could even be put together in booklet form. A craft project or projects will also be enjoyed - try to come up with ideas related to the Theme and Lessons. Danielle's Place of Crafts and Activities has some crafty VBS ideas.

Play times should be 20 minutes to half an hour, and may include several classes together. By having someone other than the teachers take charge of the play times, the teachers would have opportunity for a break.

Some stories can be told to the children as a whole group (perhaps with the exception of the younger children), but some teaching methods work better with smaller groups. The age of the children must be taken into consideration in planning out the class groups.

Publicity is essential to get the children there - Posters, Handouts, "Bring a friend" incentives, Parades, there are all sorts of creative ways to invite and draw children to the program.

An important part of the overall curriculum are the Object Lessons - It is recommended that these be done in one of the general assemblies by the Pastor of the church, or the Director or Assembly leader. These will add content to the daily themes and understanding to the Memory passage - and should be made as interesting and fun as possible. Be very Creative.

Other suggestions for enhancing the presentation of the Theme, Memory work, etc. are made in the materials.

A Daily Schedule must be prepared. It should include

All of this should fit into a morning or afternoon session of two and a half to three hours, or an evening program of two hours.

A key to any successful Vacation Bible School Program is that it should be lots and lots of fun. Brainstorm and be creative. Try to think of as many ways to make it colorful, fun and interesting, while highlighting the themes through the week and each day. Engage all the senses - sight and sound and taste. Decorate your meeting place using your theme(s) for inspiration. Welcome laughter and joy throughout the program, while always keeping your goals in mind.


A good Online source of information on planning and running VBS ministries is Nancy Anderman Guenther's Planning a successful Vacation Bible School.

© 1991 Barry McWilliams and Mission Church Fellowship, Hypertext Version © 1996 Barry McWilliams
This Curriculum may be downloaded, copied and used with permission of the author
by any Church or Christian Organization - So many in past years have used my material with only a word of thanks, or less. But even small donations to our mission fund would much appreciated. I ministered in Uganda for three weeks in March 2003, and am looking forwards to going back in either 2004 or 2005; and Marianne is going on in March 2004. Donations can be sent payable to Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, C/O Tom Graham, 1612 -- 4th. Suite #200, Marysville, Wa., 98270 designated for the McWilliams' Mission Fund.

Follow These Links to:
Eldrbarry's HOME Page . . . The Old Old Story . . . MORE About Eldrbarry