Nothing gets me more excited than preparing for the current year's Vacation Bible School. The anticipation of learning Bible lessons, seeing how each classroom would work with their particular age group, singing the song available for each day, memorizing memory verses and figuring out how to make decorations for my church is just a part of the excitement that goes with VBS. 

For a small church in New England, however, this can not only get very costly, but it can also present a whole new set of challenges specific to a small church. Years ago, Lifeway came out with Agency D3 in a backyard format. Since Newbury Bible is a small body of believers, I looked this format over carefully and came to the conclusion that this might work for our Vacation Bible School that summer. I was not disappointed. Using Backyard Kids Club (BKC) has been wonderful. So wonderful that I've come up with ten reasons that you should seriously consider using it for your small church, church plant or neighborhood outreach.

  1. COST - For my church of around 33 people, cost is a major factor. When our only option was the main or the secondary VBS, it was very difficult because all the necessary items needed way exceeded our budget. Priced at less than $40, the Backyard Kids Club was much more manageable for our church.
  2. BIBLICALLY SOUND - In order to obey the command of "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15), I scour VBS curriculum from beginning to end for accuracy. Happily, the BKC material gets an A+ in this area.
  3. STUDENTS GET TO OPEN THE WORD OF GOD - There's nothing more important than showing reverence for the Word of God and giving students the opportunity to discover the nuggets of truth for themselves.
  4. STAFF REQUIREMENTS - With a church membership of less than 35, it is imperative that the curriculum only requires a few volunteers. Lifeway's BKC meets this need. This curriculum was designed for use as a backyard club, so the only staff requirements are a host (not necessary in a church setting), an elementary teacher, preschool teacher, worship music leader and craft teacher. These positions can be utilized as needed for your ministry context.
  5. ALL-IN-ONE CURRICULUM - For the price of one kit, you receive both the elementary and preschool curriculums, the craft directions for all the crafts, directions for the opening and closing worship rallies, skit scripts to go along with the daily lesson goals and music CDs for both the elementary and preschool.
  6. SIMPLE DIRECTIONS FOR ALL STAFF LEADERS - Each kit contains five folders: Host/Hostess, Music, Craft, Preschool and Elementary. The folders are packed with day-to-day directions, activities, safety features, Bible lesson, skits and reproducible handouts for each student.
  7. SIMPLE TO CUSTOMIZE - If you are doing an abbreviated-day VBS schedule, it is easy to remove the material you are not using from the folder and just leave the material in for the days you need.
  8. NO-HASSLE DECORATIONS - Each BKC kit comes with ideas to make your space visually attractive as well as invitation flyers to promote your event.
  9. MOBILE - Can't have VBS at your church? No problem! Lifeway's BKC goes anywhere - apartment complexes, parks, school rooms, backyards, homes, etc. The possibilities are endless!
  10. CAN AUGMENT IF NECESSARY - The theme for the current year BKC is the same as Lifeway's main VBS material, so you can purchase other products if you so desire.

A director's guide is also available for an additional price, but it pays for itself in that you can use it year after year. The clip art changes, but the planning, forms, and helps stay the same from year to year. 

Let me encourage you and your church to seriously consider using the Backyard Kids Club to reach the unchurched in your community. This product has been extremely helpful in my church and I know it will help you fulfill Christ's commission where you are. 

Melva Davidson is a member of Newbury Bible Church in Newbury, Vt.