"Using their high-tech operative skills, they will examine eyewitness reports, physical proof and biblical accounts to uncover and defend the truth about who Jesus really is," LifeWay Christian Resources stated in a June 2 news release. "By collecting all the evidence, they will Discover the truth of the Gospel; Decide to believe it; and then Defend that decision."
Jerry Wooley, LifeWay's VBS specialist, said VBS participants, as part of the investigative "Agency D3," will "discover if Jesus is really who He claims to be and if the Bible is true."
"We have put together one of the most fun, investigative and high-tech VBS themes ever," Wooley said.
"This is the first VBS we've had with an apologetics theme," he added. "Kids not only need to know the Bible is true and that Jesus is God's one and only Son, but they need to know how to defend what they believe when someone asks them why they believe it."
Beginning Oct. 1, LifeWay will offer a Jump-start Kit for pastors and VBS directors that will include materials to help with VBS planning, enlistment, publicity and decorations.
LifeWay will host seven preview events to get churches and VBS leaders ready for their events: Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center, Jan. 10-11; Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 17-18; LifeWay home office in Nashville (three events) Jan. 30-31, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 and Feb. 1; and Kissimmee, Fla., (two events), Feb. 7-8 and Feb. 8.
Conferences will be offered for Spanish VBS at the Fort Worth event.
New this year is the option to do a one-day VBS training experience, providing five full breakout options, labs and lunch.
"Some people like the two half-day option because they can travel in the morning, arrive at noon, then finish at noon the next day and get home that night," Wooley said. "But VBS leaders who live in the cities where the events take place have told us it would be helpful for them to come in on Saturday morning, stay all day, then go home at night. We think this new scheduling option will be well received."
Information about early bird and group registration discounts can be found at LifeWay.com/VBS.
The VBS 2014 theme verse is 1 Peter 3:15: "But honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you."
VBS participants will look at daily questions, investigating to discover, decide and defend Scripture:
-- Day 1 -- Is Jesus really God's Son?
-- Day 2 -- Was Jesus more than just a good man?
-- Day 3 -- Was Jesus' death real?
-- Day 4 -- Is Jesus alive?
-- Day 5 -- What do I do with the evidence about Jesus?
"This VBS has probably the most evangelistic theme we've ever had," Wooley said. "You add that to the apologetics, and it makes for the opportunity for deep discipleship."
Wooley said that for many churches, VBS is the most evangelistic event in their church year. Every year more than 25,000 churches host VBS, enrolling nearly 3 million children, youth and adults.
Polly House is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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