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Standard Publishing's VBS Tackles Biblical Illiteracy

Contact: Joni Sullivan Baker, 513-319-3231

CINCINNATI, May 17, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Costumed characters, songs, stories and snacks -- it's easy to see how traditional Vacation Bible School may just look like lighthearted fun.

But an increasing body of data supports what those passionate about children's ministry have felt for a long time -- children who attend church and learn the Bible when they are young stand a much better chance of having a relationship with God as adults. And churches need to emphasize learning Biblical truths to help children transition into Biblically -- literate, believing adults.

For Standard Publishing, one of the nation's leading publishers of VBS, providing a VBS program with a strong Biblical content is an important tool in helping churches reach that goal.

"Standard Publishing is known for its solid Biblical content, and this year is no exception," said Standard Publishing's VBS Marketing Manager Bob Wallace. "Each year, Standard develops a totally unique VBS designed to teach children solid Bible truths, but in an action-packed, memorable way."

Though it looks just like fun, Standard Publishing carefully plans a kid-friendly, powerful lesson for each day. In Inside Out & Upside Down on Main Street, children will learn parables that teach important qualities of the Christian life. Jesus taught these parables -- some of the most important lessons of the Christian life -- in stories that are easy to remember. And on Main Street, children learn about parables in a whimsical town setting.

"In Inside Out & Upside Down on Main Street we want to help children connect to Jesus and his teachings. The stories of the parables teach lessons we all need to know, kids as well as adults," Wallace continued. "But we know about the issues of Biblical illiteracy in the church, and we participate with other ministries in doing our best to produce materials that help churches and families counter this unfortunate reality." He was among children's ministry leaders who attended a meeting earlier this year in Orlando to share ideas on how to strengthen ministry to children, and to improve the Bible content in children's ministry programs.

The VBS lessons reflect Standard Publishing's understanding of recent data. A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found American Christians knew woefully little about their own faith. And another study by the Barna Group reported that while a majority of church-attending adults were introduced to Christianity as a child, half of Americans who had some exposure to church as a child do not practice Christianity when they are adults.

Yet the stronger the early connection to a life of faith, the more likely it is that they will continue in their faith as an adult.

So the fun of VBS is serious stuff.

On Main Street, each day the children visit Parable Productions where they act out and experience the day's parable in a theatre setting, each focusing on one concept, called a "Word on the Street."

They are:

  • Gratitude -- Parable of the Whiny Workers (Workers in the Vineyard -- Matthew 20:1-16)
     
  • Compassion -- Parable of the Roadside Rescue (Good Samaritan -- Luke 10:25-37)
     
  • Forgiveness -- Parable of the Shocking Servant (Unmerciful Servant -- Matthew 18:21-35)
     
  • Grace -- Parable of the Warmest Welcome (Prodigal Son -- Luke 15:11-32)
     
  • Faithfulness -- Parable of the Master's Money (Ten Talents -- Luke 19:12-26)

That daily concept is also reinforced as children also sing songs at Sidewalk Celebration, make crafts and do projects at the Fun Factory, play games at Firehouse Fitness, and refresh with snacks at Brown Bag Bistro.

The challenges of raising Biblically literate children who continue in their faith make the Main Street memory verse even more significant: "Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (Psalm 25:4-5)

MORE ABOUT "INSIDE OUT & UPSIDE DOWN ON MAIN STREET:"
Standard Publishing's award-winning VBS programs consistently rank high with consumers for Biblical content, thorough lessons, and variety of extra materials available. Earlier this year, Standard's VBS added Top Pick VBS for 2011 from children's ministry blog, About the Children's Department, to its list of awards. Other recent awards include being named 2010's Best VBS by Christianity Today's Your Church magazine.

The field-tested lessons and activities work in classroom settings or with children grouped in small crews that move from site to site. The program is adaptable for preschoolers through teens. In addition, small group materials for adults are also available.

Extensive materials to help guarantee a church's success include downloadable resources and web-based tools in addition to CDs of everything from nametags to song sheets. These tools are in addition to other helps such as a Director's Guide, a Decorating Pak and a Planning DVD for promotion.

Standard Publishing also offers all participating churches the opportunity to create their own customized VBS web sites with unique URLs, even those churches that do not have a church web site. Using a web site builder, a church can upload photos, logos and forms to customize its site.

To learn more about Inside Out & Upside Down on Main Street and get free downloads of VBS music as well as other helps, visit
www.vacationbibleschool.com, or www.standardpub.com.

For more than 140 years, Standard Publishing has been raising the standard for true-to-the-Bible resources that educate, encourage and enrich. The company is based in Cincinnati, Ohio where it was founded in 1866. For more information, visit
www.StandardPub.com or call Standard Publishing at 1-800-543-1353.