In many teaching settings, the Bible teacher could potentially come to class, teach, and have minimal contact with students otherwise. Often, however, in Vacation Bible School, a teacher might be involved in other aspects of VBS than just teaching the Bible lesson. Consequently, the Bible teacher might be seen interacting with leaders or other team members. How the teacher reacts to glitches, schedule changes, and stressors that can come with VBS will show. The teacher may need to respond to behavioral problems not experienced in the classroom. How the teacher encourages and interacts with students during games and crafts will matter. — A VBS teacher’s life teaches beyond the classroom.
A VBS Teacher’s Life Teaches
What students observe inside and out of the classroom will either underscore or contradict what’s taught in class. It will communicate how real and relevant God’s Word truly is. If it doesn’t seem to affect their teacher’s words, attitudes, mannerisms, reactions, and actions, why should students accept the validity of God’s Word to their own lives?
What difference will it make if in seeking to reach the unsaved with the Good News that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16), that you fail to demonstrate God’s love by the way you treat them? Long after the details of the lesson are forgotten, the love of a caring teacher will be remembered. Resource: Does your heart beat with the love of God? Worksheet
Tips to Help Ensure Your Life Teaches
Spend time in prayer before each lesson. Ask God to search your heart to make sure you are right with God (Ps. 139:23-24; Rom. 12:1) so your life consistently represents Him.
Focus on more than creative teaching skills. Guard your heart, paying attention to who you are and not just what you do, “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matt. 12:34). “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov. 4:23) — Also Read: Teacher Acrostic – What’s in Your Heart?
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this to your VBS teachers as a reminder.
People generally attend Vacation Bible School with the expectation of a fun time. Don’t expect students to come to the Bible class segment from an activity like games or recreation and sit glued to their chairs with eyes fastened on the teacher. It too should be fun, exciting, and challenging. No dull lectures or boring stories should be allowed in Vacation Bible School. A VBS teacher’s methods and materials will tend to make the difference. Teaching comes to life through the use of engaging visuals and creative methodology.
Key Words for Teachers of Vacation Bible School Classes
Already short attention spans can become even more of an issue in a “what’s next” atmosphere. Whether in anticipation of games, snacks, crafts, etc., or just coming in from such activities, students need to be engaged to keep their attention. While the following words should be part of any Bible teaching, they become especially key words for teachers in VBS:
Tips to Guide a VBS Teacher’s Methods and Materials
At minimum, follow the suggestions in the teacher’s manual. Major curriculum publishers of VBS materials tend to design lessons conducive to a fun-filled atmosphere. This can be difficult for teachers who might be taken out of their comfort zones but is vital to keeping students’ attention. Be willing to try a new approach to teaching.
Don’t be afraid to get creative in coming up with some your own ideas if they enhance the lesson and don’t take away from the truths to be learned. Perhaps you may just need to tweak the curriculum a bit to adapt it better to your particular setting and students.
Use the visuals provided with the curriculum but also think through ways you can make the lesson even more visual. Perhaps your church can’t afford some of the supplemental teaching materials. Think through how you can replicate the ideas with your own resources. You may need to think outside of the box. And, don’t forget to use your own body and voice in animated ways. A dull teacher can turn an otherwise exciting lesson into a boring experience.
The following training resources aren’t specifically geared to the VBS setting but could prove useful for teachers who might seek to enhance the methods and materials they use.
Vacation Bible School offers some unique opportunities that should be taken into account in teachers training. For many churches it presents a good means of community outreach so the potential exists for a large number of unsaved people in attendance. But, many who already believe may come as well, including those from your own church. This leads to a VBS teacher’s goals.
Two Prominent Goals: Why Vacation Bible School
While VBS is a major outreach arm of the church, we shouldn’t ignore those who already believe. Consequently, two prominent goals exist for any Vacation Bible School. Teachers should not neglect one or the other but rather reach for both.
We want to see people move from spiritual “death to life” (Rom. 5:24), “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Pet. 2:9), from disbelief to belief (Jn. 3:16).
2) Spiritual Growth
We want those who are already Christians to know the Lord better, to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18), and do something with what they learn (James 1:22-25).
Whether new spiritual life or spiritual growth, the overriding goal comes down to — Changed Lives. We want to make learning in VBS fun and exciting but also life-changing.
Tips for Reaching a VBS Teacher’s Goals
VBS teachers must keep both of the above goals in the forefront as they plan, prepare and present lessons.
Incorporate opportunity for students to make decisions for Christ. In addition to a Gospel presentation during the lesson, plan to make yourself available before and after class as well. Also consider how you might follow up with those who give their lives to the Lord.
If not already part of the curriculum, make sure to add ways of helping those already saved to see how the lesson applies to their lives as believers.
VBS teachers must understand the processes for reaching these goals.
Take time to learn how to best share the Gospel to the age being taught. Remember that the younger the child, the more concrete that presentation must be. Abstract terminology will tend to be confusing.
Understand the spiritual growth learning process. Faith comes from hearing the Word (Rom. 10:17) but there also needs to be an understanding of its meaning and implications for life at their particular stage in life that leads to living in accordance with it (Col. 1:9-10). And, always remember that understanding spiritual truth requires the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life (1 Cor. 2:12-14) so rely on Him to work through you and in the lives of those you teach.
Vacation Bible School can be a major event for many churches that involves various components. The Bible lesson is just one part of the experience. Make sure VBS Teachers Training includes an understanding of the following:
VBS Requires Active Learning.
While active learning should be a part of all Bible teaching, Vacation Bible School particularly requires it. An excitement has already been building in the VBS environment and you don’t want to dampen that with “boring” teaching. Most VBS Curriculum should have active learning built into it, but you might want to emphasize this need with teachers.
VBS Teachers Need to Know How to Make Transitions.
Because students will often be active before beginning the lesson (i.e., games, crafts, singing, etc.), help teachers know how to make the transition from high energy to lower activity.
Vacation Bible School Curriculum Has Many Helps.
As with Sunday School, most churches will use a pre-fab Vacation Bible School Curriculum. Be sure teachers are well-acquainted with the curriculum so they can get the most out of it as most VBS Curriculum contains many teacher helps.
VBS Teachers are Part of a Team.
Possibly in more than any other teaching setting a Vacation Bible School teacher will work with a team. That takes coordinating their efforts and getting along with one another. Train them on being a good team player.
Vacation Bible School is a Great Outreach Tool.
Many Vacation Bible Schools will have people attending from the community who are not familiar with your church and who might not having a personal relationship with the Lord. Make sure your VBS Teachers Training includes:
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