Augsburg Fortress
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Q: Will AF have a traditional VBS curricula for 2012?

July 21st, 2011 by Beth A. Lewis

This is a question I receive from time to time.  So, I thought I would answer it here! 

We have made the decision for the foreseeable future to discontinue creating “traditional” VBS curricula with the dozens and dozens of different pieces, the little plastic toys imported from China, etc.  Frankly, we have been losing money on VBS for years and simply can’t afford to continue to do so.  Instead, we’d rather use our limited financial and human resources to create great faith formation and worship resources for the church that will have a positive return on investment so that we will have the financial resources to continue to create the next generation of great resources…and the generation after that and after that.  This was, as you might imagine, a very difficult decision to make. 

 But, that does NOT mean that we have abandoned VBS!  It means that we have discontinued the “traditional” big package VBS.  Instead, we have two resources that we think provide the sound theology you expect from Augsburg Fortress along with fun for kids and their teachers and as a bonus financial value for the congregations we serve!  On top of that, we don’t lose money at creating them!  That’s what I call win-win-win….for the kids, the congregations and Augsburg Fortress.

 One of those is ReNew:  The Green VBS.  It is largely downloadable and encourages conversation and teaching about care for creation.  We think that this is a much better message than the “carbon footprint” message of importing little plastic toys that most of our kids don’t need.  This resource is from sparkhouse, the ecumenical division we launched about 2 years ago.  It has been very well received among those congregations that are using it. 

 The other option is Spark.  While this was initially created as a Sunday School resource we have worked with congregational leaders to adapt it for use as VBS, too.  There are several ways to do this: 

  1. use Spark Rotation which lends itself to VBS programming
  2. use Spark On-line and have your choice of rotation or the other two formats, lectionary and classroom.  Some congregations use rotation for VBS and one or both of the other formats for Sunday School during the year.
  3. Use as an accompaniment to Spark or a stand-alone resource, Spark Family, our quarterly devotional that is based on a theme and filled with Bible-oriented activities.  For example, this summer’s issue is called “Splash in God’s Word” and is filled with “water-themed” Bible stories and activities…perfect for summer programming such as VBS. 

If you’d like to learn more about Spark, we have a number of free webinars scheduled.  Please feel free to have members of your staff and/or key volunteers register for one or more of them to learn more.  Or, contact your Augsburg Fortress and sparkhouse congregational resource representative,  They would be happy to assist you and your colleagues.

I hope this helps clarify your questions about Augsburg Fortress, sparkhouse and VBS! 

Blessings,
Beth

@bethalewis

ceo@augsburgfortress.org

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Beth A. Lewis, President & CEO Augsburg Fortress

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