Kids to Kids
Journey to Congo VBS available here
Journey to Colombia VBS available here
Journey to India VBS available here
Global Ministries (United Church of Christ and the Christian Church – Disciples of Christ)
Cost: Free download
We discovered the three Global Ministries curricula – Journey to Congo, Journey to Colombia, and Journey to India – almost by accident. After looking closely at the three programs, we realized that they provide new options for congregations looking for creative resources centered on other cultures in the world.
Each of the three programs emphasize that we are all God’s people and interrelated despite differences in faith traditions, cultures, skin colors, and geography. Each Vacation bible School (VBS) program uses a learning center or rotation model that includes worship, small group scripture study, crafts, games, and snacks.
The United Church of Christ and the Christian Church have mission centers in each of the countries featured in the VBS programs. Scripture, both Old Testament and New, will help North American children understand the importance of being open to other cultures. The three “journeys” are designed to help children explore both cultural differences and similarities.
Every service activity has two components, one in a church’s local community and one in the country of study. Leaders are encouraged to use the programs’ biblical themes in selecting local ministries. They may also want to adapt denominational mission programs for those outlined in the VBS curriculum.
These resources will work best with children Kindergarten through fifth grade; preschool adaptations are included. Included in the free downloads are a scope and sequence for each program, timeline and schedule suggestions, and detailed resources for creating an immersion experience in each of the three countries.
The flow of daily activities in the three resources is well-thought out and flexible. Volunteers with little or no teaching experience will find lessons easy to use. Each program was designed by different people, which is reflected in the strengths of each. Colombia, for example, has very strong scripture component and is mission-oriented; Congo has many details about daily life and very clear lesson plans; and India makes strong connections between Christian and non-Christian faith communities.
At the same time, these are not “open the box, and use” programs. Congregations with experience running a VBS are more likely to be successful in implementing the programs. A rich variety of resources are listed for each program, but leaders will need to select the best for their context and participants.
Although there are no pre-recorded music CDs, guidelines for music selections are provided. This may be difficult for some VBS leaders. Group worship details are also largely left to the director.
Take a look at these unique offerings. You may find one that fits the gifts of your volunteers, interests of the community, and the curiosity of your children.
Charlotte Greeson, a member of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching staff, is a curator for Building Faith, a web-based resource for Christian educators.