NASHVILLE (BP) -- Packing for your next mission trip may have just gotten a whole lot easier.
LifeWay Christian Resources has produced a new Vacation Bible School program called "Go & Tell Kids" to serve as a gospel presentation tool that's easy to transport to the mission field and works anywhere.
"'Go & Tell Kids' is themeless, meaning people don't have to drag a bunch of stuff with them halfway around the world, and it's stripped of uniquely American cultural references," said Melita Thomas, VBS and kids ministry specialist at LifeWay. "It's relevant to kids in any culture and setting."
The idea came from churches who were already adapting LifeWay's VBS for the mission field.
"Churches who were taking VBS overseas were telling us they needed content that begins with the very basics of Christianity for kids with absolutely no Bible foundation," Thomas said. "These churches are serving kids who don't know who God is, much less that He has a Son -- and that through the Son, God has a relationship with people."
Ernestina Gonzalez, an editor for LifeWay Global, has been taking VBS resources outside the U.S. for the past four years. She remembers the impact of one early trip in particular.
"I traveled to Mexico with my two boys in 2014," she said. "We saved up money for a year to make our dream possible."
Gonzalez took the VBS theme "Saddle Ridge Ranch" to a rural community in Tamasopo, Mexico. The first day, only six children showed up.
"Without being discouraged, we ran it as if we had hundreds of students," she said. "The next day, 36 students came. The children from the first day enjoyed the stories, crafts, music, games and snacks so much, they invited everyone at their school."
Gonzalez was overjoyed when all 36 students made professions of faith in Christ at the end of the VBS experience.
"We couldn't have been happier," she recalled. "We reached our goal of taking the gospel to those who hadn't heard it. It was just us, God's love for those seeking Him, and a VBS kit."
LifeWay hopes "Go & Tell Kids" will capture more stories like Gozalez's by focusing on the basics of the Gospel narrative.
"Go & Tell Kids" begins with the story of creation and traces God's redemptive plan to Christ's resurrection and the Great Commission. The content is divided into five 30-minute Bible study sessions for children and five 30-minute sessions for preschoolers. The entire program can fit inside an airport carry-on bag.
The "Go & Tell Kids" kit comes with group visuals and teaching plans preloaded on a flash drive that also contains more than 100 game ideas, crafts, coloring pages, director's helps and large group presentation ideas and skits. It comes packaged in a backpack with extra room for transporting supplies to the mission field. "Go & Tell Kids" can also be purchased as a purely digital resource from LifeWay.com.
"We tried to create a resource to really fit the mission trip context," Thomas said. "You can take "Go & Tell Kids" to Africa and into the rainforest or to a Backyard Bible Club. It's the core of the Gospel that fits neatly into a suitcase. It doesn't get any more basic than this."